Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A More Informed Decision

Back in May we talked about the fact that the Louisiana legislature was trying to pass a ban on smoking in restaurants. This week brings new developments to that discussion, so I thought I'd post everything here to keep everyone up to date.

It turns out that the bill was passed and is now waiting to be signed into law by Governor Kathleen Blanco. Not only was that bill passed, but another bill, "House Bill 1010" (link is to PDF) which makes it illegal to smoke in your car if there is a child present was also passed and is expected to be signed into law this week.

The big news this week is the new Surgeon General's report which gives new weight to the argument that secondhand smoke is dangerous to the health of non-smokers. The report comes exactly 20 years after the issue of the last Surgeon General's report on secondhand smoke issued in 1986.

"The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke"

Executive Summary - this is a PDF file released by the Surgeon General's office which summarizes the findings of the new report.

The Report - link to the actual Surgeon General's report. The Linked page is an index of the report by section. Each section is linked in a separate PDF file.

Report Resources - this is a link to the Surgeon General's website. The linked page contains the report itself and numerous other links to resources for further research on the effects of secondhand smoke. From this page you can also download the report in PDF format.

I must admit that the smoking ban in restaurants comes as no surprise to me. Many cities across the nation have taken similar action, and from what I hear their efforts have gone over well and been very successful. I am a little shocked by the ban on smoking in cars. I agree that many smokers who light up in the car with the windows up and an infant in the back seat should really rethink what they are doing, but as the automobile is often seen as an extension of the home I find it a little on the surprising side. Certainly an interesting development.