Effects of 2nd-Hand Smoke

In her letter on the anti-smoking issue (Aug. 11), Pearl Jemison-Smith, president of the American Lung Assn. of California, seemed to be addressing me, personally.

She presented an impressive series of statistics on the ill-effects and evils of smoking, but only two of the 10 items related to the main point of my letter (July 28), namely the emotionalism and panic that have gripped the public about second-hand smoke, without justification, in my opinion.

Two studies made in recent years support my contention that the health of non-smokers in everyday situations is not threatened by second-hand smoke. One was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and demonstrated that 1/1000th to 1/100th of one filter cigarette per hour might be inhaled by non-smokers in the presence of a smoker. At that rate it would take a person four days to inhale the equivalent of a single cigarette. If that is frightening, there is little more to be said.

The second study was by the statistician of the American Cancer Society and published in 1981. It covered 175,000 people. His conclusion was that “passive smoking” had “little effect, if any” on lung cancer rates among non-smokers.


I am profoundly interested in scientific research showing solid, proven results. I do not have a closed mind on the smoking issue, but I do wonder why non-smokers also succumb to lung cancer and heart attack.


Laguna Niguel