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Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:59 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
A Letter in the 2/6/07 Tomahawk Leader

To the Editor:

An open letter regarding the proposed, statewide smoking ban:
I am encouraging legislators to quickly approve the smoking ban for indoor public places, such as restaurants and bars. For me, this is not just a public health issue, but an occupational health concern.

As an environmental health inspector and non-smoker, I am forced to breathe copious amounts of second-hand smoke in establishments I visit on a daily basis. One unsympathetic restaurant operator recently suggested that if I didn’t like the smoke, I should get another job.

Those that share the restaurant operator’s view that the choice to allow smoking should remain with the establishment owner either fail to recognize or disregard the public health and occupational health aspects of a proposed ban.

For example, for obvious public health reasons, the state already prohibits smoking by workers in areas where food is stored or prepared. Restaurant owners do not have a choice of whether their employees can smoke while preparing food, because the risk is high that engaging in that activity while preparing food will likely transmit harmful biological agents that can cause illness and suffering to the public.

The same argument may be applied to implement a statewide smoking ban. Only in this case, the health effects take longer to appear, and have a much greater potential to be seriously adverse and permanent. And instead of taking the form of a biological agent, the diseases are dispensed through the dozens of chemical agents in the smoke that wafts in the air.
Not unlike uncontrolled leaf burning, smoking is different from other owner-rights issues because hazardous solids and liquids released into the environment are more easily controlled than ionizing radiation, toxic gases or smoke. As our understanding of the public health threat from second-hand smoke evolves, so too should our restriction on that activity in public places.
Less than 100 years ago, there was no ban or law against consumer products containing ionizing radiation like glow-in-the-dark watch hands. But we know have such laws because we understand the public health threat ionizing radiation poses to people.

My hope is the state’s view on this matter also evolves to protect the public, and workers like me.

Jeff Havens
Registered Sanitarian
Oneida County Health Department

Re: Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:40 am
by abnerman
Honestly, if you feel that being exposed to the tobacco smoke (for work purposes) is actually physically (and obviously mentally) detrimental to you, you should do something about it.
I apologize as a smoker for your inconvenience while doing the job you choose to do, and I would like to offer you some options:

A: Demand that your employer address your concerns.
B: Wear a "breather" when you go into work while in bars like someone who works with asbestos..
C: Quit your job and do something you can really physically and emotionally deal with doing until the laws are changed.

Re: Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:09 am
by aphephilia
Life is all about choices. When we apply for a job and accept the position, then we either need to deal with what we "signed up" for or put in our resignation and find something more suitable for us (kind of like marraige :D ). We can't expect the world to revolve around us.

Re: Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:37 am
by Deb Richardson
Hmm, we can't expect the world to revolve around us, let's see as a smoker aph you expect that to be the case. Bottom line is you are fighting for your rights as a smoker. It's all about the addiction and how we choose to handle it. I over came mine not to say I don't have others, I think like it or not we all have addictions.

<small>[ February 11, 2007, 08:42 AM: Message edited by: Deb Richardson ]</small>

Re: Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:37 pm
by NurseNell
Sorry, I posted a reply here that better belongs in the other smoking thread so I moved it there.

<small>[ February 11, 2007, 12:02 PM: Message edited by: NurseNell ]</small>

Re: Protect inspector’s health …

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:36 pm
by aphephilia
Nope, I absolutely do not expect the world to revolve around me. If I did, I would demand all people to smoke and pay lobbyists to fight for a LAW that forces everyone to smoke.