The health industry has seen a marked rise in patients suffering from cardiovascular disease and other smoking-related illnesses.
There are 4.2 million Californians with lung disease, according to the American Lung Assn. of California. One in nine have been diagnosed with asthma. One in five suffer from some sort of cardiovascular disease.
The California Air Resources Board in January 2006 identified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant that may cause and/or contribute to death or serious illness. The board said there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
We are especially pleased with the guidelines in the ordinance that place smoking bans on restaurant patios. This will enable people with heart disease — one in four in the population — and the many children and adults, who have asthma, to sit outside and enjoy the food and the air.
Despite business owners’ fears, restaurants actually improved their profits in 1995 and bars in 1998, when state laws required them to become nonsmoking inside. Most people do not smoke. More people will patronize these businesses, when they are totally nonsmoking.
At the end of the day, we must remember that this is a health issue.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dean is the president and chief executive officer of Glendale Adventist Medical Center.