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Evidence mounts against secondhand smoke

There have been a number of studies done in recent years on secondhand smoke, and all point to its danger. A new study from the National Institutes of Health, "Report on Carcinogens," would seem to bolster claims that clean indoor air policies work.

The study found that a chemical, found in the blood of nonsmokers who have been exposed to smoke, had dropped by 75 percent in the last decade.

"The big message of this report," said Keith Dalton of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, "is that clean indoor air policies do work. This is expecially good news for restaurant workers who are the most heavily exposed to secondhand smoke."

We think the Harrison-Clarksburg Board of Health, which is considering modifying the county's indoor smoking ban, has some new ammunition in its deliberations.

The board met on Tuesday and, although it didn't make a final decision, it would appear to be more and more a no-brainer.

The board also heard from the coordinator of the clean indoor air project in Monongalia County. Christina Mickey said in the nine years since her county instituted a smoking ban in public places, nobody has yet to take the issue to court.

"This is bascially a self-enforcing policy," Mickey said. "Once ... people understand what is required, there are very few problems with compliance."

The board is fine-tuning the smoking ordinance and could have a vote in another month or so. With the evidence available to the board, we think there can only be but one decision to make.

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