Smoke Free Gaming and Living; The Time Has Come
by Roy Winston | Published: Oct 05, '09
I was invited to a poker game last week and I asked, as I usually do, who is playing, what are the stakes, what games are being played, and is it a non-smoking game? Now I am going to do my next blog on what to think about in house games, but for the moment I’m going off on a bit of a tirade on a topic I feel very strongly about. So if it’s poker you want, tune in next time.
I have recently returned to living in New York City full time having moved away in 1988 after finishing my internship in Surgery. Although I have spent a lot of time here over the past 20 years, visiting and living somewhere are different. As a resident, I have an issue, which, I believe bears action. Walking around Manhattan is one of the truly great things about this city. It is one of the few cities in the world that you can actually walk most places you go with ease. What has now made that walk somewhat less inviting, is the number of people outside almost every large commercial building and storefront, on a smoke break. The dangers of second hand smoke are no longer a debatable issue. In a recent study by James Lightwood of the University of California-San Francisco in the Journal of Circulation, heart attack rates dropped 17% in the first year and as much as 36% after 3 years when smoking bans are put in place. Even many of the outdoor public walkways in Hong Kong are now smoke free. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can raise heart disease rates in adult nonsmokers by 25 percent to 30 percent. Second hand smoke kills an estimated 46,000 Americans according to the CDC every year from heart disease alone. This is without the pulmonary disease also caused my second hand smoke.
It wasn’t long ago that smoking was permitted on commercial airlines, and in bars and restaurants. The rights of smokers where always touted as the reason for allowing it to continue. Owners of bars and restaurants were under the impression that their business would suffer. Somehow we moved forward and now smoke-free flying and dining is the norm.
Enough is enough, if people want to pollute their own space at home without impacting anyone else, that’s one thing, but for the rest of us non-smokers to have to walk through clouds of smoke along the New York City streets has to stop. The cigarette manufacturers have run a campaign to addict as many people as possible in what is the single most preventable health risk, not to mention costing approximately 100 billion dollars per year. They target children and have perpetrated what must be the most heinous corporate conspiracy ever. More Americans have died as a direct result of cigarettes than all the wars and terrorist attacks combined, truly astonishing. Here is a tangible healthcare issue, with little or no cost that will improve quality of life, save lives and money. I hope the time has come for what should be a simple step forward.
Don’t even get me started on smoke free gaming, that’s a no brainer. Nevada is the only state in the nation, and perhaps only place in the world that has recently relaxed anti-smoking laws. The time for a smoke free world is now; smoking should only be permitted in designated areas that are isolated from the rest of us.