Newcomers to Reno likely won’t appreciate how truly great it is to walk into a grocery store and not be hit by a huge waft of tobacco smoke, but those who’ve lived here a decade or more will. Our family moved from Reno to Southern California in summer 2005, when smoking was still permitted in many places and returned last June. What a fabulous difference to come home to such a positive change! Since the Nevada Clean Indoor Air passed in 2006 most Nevadans now breathe clean, healthy air inside their places of work and leisure (including the gaming area at the front of the supermarket!).
It’s another story when it comes to outdoor venues where it can still be hard to escape secondhand smoke. Too many times – before we moved and since we’ve been back – our family has been at Wingfield Park for an Artown event or walking along the Riverwalk path on a weekend afternoon and been caught in a smoker’s exhaled plume. Now that vaping has become such a popular habit it has made it even harder to escape the who-knows-what inside that giant cloud of smoke.
Studies show that irritation from secondhand smoke begins 13 feet from the source and odor can be detected 23 feet away. Secondhand smoke is a human carcinogen with no safe level of exposure, and poses immediate health consequences on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. As for the vapor from e-cigarettes, results of an e-cigarette study by the Desert Research Institute published online in October 2016 in the Environmental Science & Technology journal show that there’s nothing good coming out. The researchers measured several toxic aldehydes produced by three popular brands of e-cigarettes with flavored and unflavored e-liquids. Each one produced toxin levels that exceed occupational safety standards.
Our region has so many amazing parks and outdoor venues. Wouldn’t it be great if we were spared from breathing secondhand smoke and vapor while enjoying these public outdoor spaces too? As a mom and a proud grandma, I think it’s only right that we are protected against secondhand smoke in indoor and outdoor venues. After all, the vast majority of Nevadans – 85 percent of us! – are non-smokers.
Will you join me in supporting smoke-free and vape free ordinances throughout the Washoe County, City of Reno, and City of Sparks parks and recreation areas? Sign on here to support Smoke Free Outdoors in our community.