Secondhand smoke a matter of health, not economics

Opinion

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Secondhand smoke can be deadly. But too many communities, including Oak Park, still allow smoking in public places. That's because some community leaders worry that curbs on public smoking might hinder local businesses.

As a doctor and professor of medicine, I don't think you can put a price tag on clean healthy air, and I have seen firsthand the damage to hearts and lungs caused by inhaling secondhand smoke. But as an Oak Parker, I want to do everything I can to support our local merchants.

That's why I'm delighted by a new poll released by the Campaign for a Smoke-Free Oak Park. The poll, of 300 Oak Park residents and 300 people in surrounding communities, showed overwhelming support for passage of a complete Clean Indoor Air Ordinance here in Oak Park.

But even better, the poll found that many people in the Oak Park area said they would be more likely to dine in Oak Park if all of our restaurants were completely smoke-free. Frequent diners?#34;people who eat in restaurants at least once a week?#34;said they were particularly interested in making Oak Park's restaurants smoke-free.

To me, secondhand smoke is a life-and-death issue. But I'm relieved to find that making Oak Park smoke free will actually help our local businesses bring in customers. I strongly urge the village board to make our hearts, lungs?#34;and local economy?#34;healthier by passing the Clean Indoor Air ordinance as soon as possible.
Lloyd W. Klein
Oak Park

 

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