While Susan Hughes’ intentions are no doubt noble (“Ban smoking in parks,” Jan. 15), I take issue with her dire warnings of so-called “third-hand” smoke. We live in a world suffused with industrial tailings, solvents, nitrates, and other wastes and byproducts. Carrying on about the supposed residue of cigarette smoke—which smacks of this year’s health panic, like red dye #5 or so many others—is like complaining about the weather on the Titanic.
We live in an environment saturated with solvents, industrial tailings, automobile exhaust, and fertilizers. The parks and outdoor areas she refers to are, themselves, regularly sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, and water that contains fluorine and chlorine. And what of the barbecues held in those parks? Coming off those grills are wildly carcinogenic compounds, carbon monoxide, and nitrates.
The world isn’t a safe place, and it never will be. Buying into the national hysteria about cigarette smoke residue when there are very real toxic compounds in our air and water is a waste of time and energy and ultimately is damaging to our environment.