Saturday, November 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Go blow smoke - away from the rest of us

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Go blow smoke - away from the rest of us

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Pennsylvania's no-smoking ban is such a wuss of a law. It's supposed to prohibit people from lighting up in most public buildings and businesses. But loopholes to the five-month-old law abound.

Now, reports the Allentown Morning Call, the state Health Department's Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control is doing a legal review of the ban, after attorneys for about a dozen Pennsylvania hotels called to challenge it.

The department ought to tell those lawyers to go blow smoke.

Second-hand smoke  poisons anyone unlucky enough to inhale it. A smoker's legal right to puff doesn't trump the basic right the rest of us have to breathe smoke-free air without increasing our risk for cancer, heart disease and respiratory miseries.  

According to a new poll by the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Institute for Good Medicine, it looks like most Pennsylvanian's agree with that assessment - at least when it comes to dining out.

Nearly 89 percent of participants in the society's annual Patient Poll "indicated a more favorable or the same level of enjoyability while dining out now that the smoking ban is in place," according to the institute's announcement of the poll results.

"Interestingly," it continues, "a January 2007 Patient Poll by the Institute for Good Medicine suggested that 70 percent of Pennsylvania adults prefer smoke-free environments when dining out.

" 'Seeing is believing … or in this case, breathing is believing,' said Peter S. Lund, MD, founder of the Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society. 'Dining out in a smoke-free environment has earned its place with many more Pennsylvania adults in a relatively short period of time.'"

Meantime, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control credits a smoking ban in Pueblo, Colorado for a startling reduction in heart attacks among residents of that city.

Pueblo's ban was initiated in 2003, so enough time has passed to collect stats and analyze data. The numbers show that Pueblo's tickers are doing much better, now that second-hand smoke isn't a first-hand problem.

So, again, here's hoping the state health department sends up this smoke signal to those meddlesome lawyers and the greedy hoteliers they represent: Keep the ban.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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