1.26.2006 | About time

California has decided that secondhand smoke is a pollutant, no different from diesel exhaust or Benzene, for example. I say it's about time. While the panel that made the unanimous decision cited a "seminal" study linking secondhand smoke to breast cancer, this New Scientist article from 2004 reported that cigarettes are more polluting than diesel exhaust. Considering, too, all the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke, as well as studies linking secondhand smoke to all sorts of other health problems, it should have taken more than just a breast cancer study for a decision like this to be made. Next will have to come all the public smoking bans that people will no doubt gripe about, saying it's their own right to kill themselves (euthanasia aside, of course). But what people don't think about it the smoke that isn't filtered that people around them have to breathe. Smoking isn't just unhealthy, it's downright dangerous – to yourself and to others.

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