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To the editors:
I would like to thank the Crimson Staff for their editorial regarding the Boston Public Health Commission’s decision to ban smoking in workplaces (Editorial, “A Breath of Fresh Air,” Dec. 16).
The enthusiasm for smoke-free work environments is not surprising, given the indisputable evidence on the dangers of secondhand smoke. This becomes more alarming when one realizes that an estimated 53,000 workers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. The Boston Public Health Commission should indeed be commended for its efforts in protecting workers and patrons in Boston from this deadly carcinogen.
The Commission however, is not alone in its battle for clean air. The adoption of smoke-free workplace policies similar to the one enacted in Boston is already in motion in several area communities, with the Cambridge City Council set to discuss the matter Jan. 15.
City officials must understand the vital role they play in securing the health and safety of workers. I urge Cambridge and other communities to follow Boston’s lead and make workplaces smoke-free for everyone.
David S. Rosenthal, M.D.
Jan. 3, 2003
The writer is director of Harvard University Health Services and Oliver Professor of Hygiene. He is former chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future.
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