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Ontarians should have choice on smoking

Letter to the Editor,
In my opinion Ontario should make a fair decision concerning second hand smoke. Business owners should be allowed to choose to be smoke free or not. Smoking and non-smoking areas can be completely separated and well ventilated within business premises as well. The choice in Ontario should belong to business owners.
A new long term study published in the May 2003 issue of the prestigious British Medical Journal has confirmed there is no significant evidence that second hand smoke causes lung cancer or heart disease.
This study was done by researchers at the University of California and the University of New York. Participants were 118,094 adults who were enrolled in the American Cancer Society prevention study (CPS I). Their health was monitored for a period of 39 years.
This study began in late 1959. Lung cancer and heart disease rates in non-smokers married to smokers was compared with non-smoking couples. They found no difference. This study can be found at under archives volume 326 dated May 17, 2003 and is entitled “Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Tobacco Related Mortality in a Prospective Study of Californians, 1960-98.”
The “New York Post” reported in May 2003 that this new study has been backed by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan an epidemiologist and president of the American Council on Science and Health. Dr. Whelan is an anti-smoking crusader.
After reading the findings she stated, “There is simply no convincing evidence linking secondhand smoke to lung cancer and heart disease.”
She said that research done by her own group has come to the same conclusion as the new study. The New York Post article is at under archives and is dated May 16, 2003. This article is entitled “Secondhand Theory Blows Smoke: Study.”
It is also enlightening to learn what “The Times” of London reported about moves to ban public smoking. “The Times” writes that when many studies are pooled to increase their statistical power, only the positive studies go into the pool. This creates a false impression. This article can be found at under archives and is dated May 16, 2003. This article is entitled “Passive Smoking Risks in Doubt, Study Says.”
Are your elected representatives aware of this recently published important study and have the public been informed about it? The media’s job is to report both sides of an issue.
In light of this information, by-laws should be reconsidered and adjusted accordingly. Tobacco is a legal product and smokers should have the right to choose to smoke with respect for others. As I see it, at least suitable indoor smoking areas should be allowed.
It is clear to me that governments actions along with excessive tobacco taxation are destroying the Canadian tobacco industry. All tobacco farmers are directly effected and therefore deserve fair compensation. As a result of this, other businesses and communities will encounter difficulties.
Diane Murzin
LaSalett, ON