I know I’m not alone in applauding the SLO City Council’s decision to remove cigarette smoke (and butts) from downtown (“SLO town hits smokers where it hurts,” April 8). Giving smokers several designated areas, and granting the rest of us our rightful fresh air is a pretty fair arrangement, and may indirectly help deter panhandling. I hope this move is a stepping stone toward the forefront of civic improvement, and a pollution-free community.
In the way of airborne toxins, we should urge our council members to next set their sights on diesel exhaust, which has troubling levels of diesel particulate matter (DPM), and noxious paint fumes (auto body shops are the worst offenders) that contain xylene, toluene, and methyl ethyl ketone. Let’s not forget the dangers of open-pit barbecues, which not only spout hydrocarbons and soot, but when used to cook meat also produce polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocylic amines (HCAs), both known carcinogens. Banning smoking is the first step toward a breath of fresh air. Let’s do more.