I would like to take issue with the last line of the Dec. 29, AWN article “City Smokers kicked in the butts.” Specifically, part of the quote by Alderman Ed Smith: “…This is about saving lives. Second-hand smoke is a killer. That’s a fact.”

While anti tobacco lobbyists can theorize that second hand smoke is a killer, it is hardly a proven theory and never seems to materialize in the real world.

New York State has had a smoking ban in effect for over 2 years. Despite various reports that address the impact on businesses affected by the ban, there have been no reports to indicate an improvement in public health.

According to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, there has been no decrease in the adult asthma hospitalization rate. The childhood asthma hospitalization rate has actually risen. Similarly there has been no decrease in emergency room heart attack admissions, a reduction in the states mortality rate or any improvement in public health or the health of non-smokers, which was and still is the stated reason for enacting a smoking ban.

I am surprised that the press has given a free ride to anti smoking lobbyists, who are still unable to show an improvement in health as a result of a statewide smoking ban and I am amazed that anything negative said about tobacco, its users or second hand smoke, can be published regardless of its merit or accuracy.

Thank you,

Jonathan Pinard

Executive director

New York Coalition of Social Smokers