Thursday, May 28, 2020
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We must ban smoking in public places

Dear Editor,

It is so unfortunate that I have to write this letter. In the developed world smoking in public places was banned so long ago that young people don’t even remember the days when it was allowed.

Yet here in The Bahamas we persist allowing cancer-causing fumes to be blown into public spaces where non-smokers, children and employees have to inhale.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills seven million people per year. More than six million of those deaths are from direct use; while 890,000 die from inhaling second-hand smoke.

The WHO says there are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 250 are known to be harmful, and 50 are known to cause cancer. These are the scientific facts.

I believe in freedom of choice. If as an adult you choose to smoke, that’s on you. The risks are well known. If you choose to smoke, however, you should do so far away from non-smokers. And the government by law should ensure we are not subjected to the consequences of the bad smoking decisions of others. We do not want to fill our lungs with cancer-causing chemicals.

I take serious issue with the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas not banning smoking in public places when the science is so overwhelming that tobacco smoke causes cancer.

Second-hand smoke is especially dangerous to employees in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos. They go to work every day, eight hours per day, and breath in large amounts of second-hand smoke. Without doubt some of them get lung cancer after years and years of exposure without ever voluntarily lighting up a cigarette or cigar. This is not right.

It would only take a simple act of Parliament to ban smoking in public places. We know it would save lives and improve public health. It costs nothing to make this move.

The government should act immediately. No one would complain. Even smokers know that smoking is bad for human health.

Let’s act now and preserve the health and save the lives of the many Bahamians who are exposed to toxins unnecessarily.

– Martha S. Greene

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