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Smoking bans have been brilliant. Even some smokers say they like them.

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As an erstwhile smoker (who packed it in 30 years ago), I hate having to put up with smoke. However, because of all the restrictions and the mistaken belief that vaping is completely safe, we now have to put up with people vaping all over the place. It's pretty unpleasant. But I remember the tube in London when smoking was allowed in two of the carriages. Even as a smoker I hated ending up in one of them, because it was like sitting in an ashtray. Not that I've ever sat in an ashtray, but you know what I mean.

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author

::pictures Terry sitting in an ashtray::

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Living in the US did the same for me. While people smoked in public places in India, Russian airlines allowed smoking within airplanes, US was smoke free. Any proximity to cigarette smoke brings on a headache. And its a good thing!

Clean air, for those who get it, take it for granted.

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A great read, thanks. My dad smoked but gave it up when I was 14 and he had his first heart attack.

I don't mind the smell of woodsmoke, but for some reason the wildfire smoke smells like something worse when it reaches NY. It is more like a burning plastic smell, or in a very triggering way, it smells like the plume of smoke that reached my home on Long Island a few days after the Twin Towers fell. I readone explanation that said the fumes are breaking down under high heat into many different organic compounds.

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I had heard something similar, Jo - benzenes, etc., which might parlay into indirect exposures to carcinogens if the fires continue.

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What worries me is,that good hepa filters and kn95 masks filter out particulates but not voc fumes, right?

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Great post, Mark!

Remember when smoking was allowed in aircraft? I remember flying standby to mainland Europe and finding myself wedged in an aisle seat in the smoking section more than once. Literally UGH. Glad it wasn't longhaul... 🤣

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author

Ugh indeed!

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Jul 5, 2023Liked by Mark Dykeman

Really liked this, especially since I was in grad school in Atlanta in the eighties and EVERYONE smoked (very cheap cigarette prices in tobacco country). But I bet that was a "rite" of passage in the bingo hall . . .

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I think one of the hardest things parents will have to explain to kids is smoking inside restaurants. Like, while people were eating.

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This is a great article Mark, thanks. Living in British Columbia, big forest country, I have been relishing every day we have with fresh, glorious smelling air knowing it could change rapidly. Sending good (wet) vibes to our eastern countrymen.

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My father was a heavy smoker, almost but not quite to the point of chain smoking. I used to hold my shirt over my nose around him while he smoked or rolled down the windows in the car etc. He would roll his eyes at it but knew he had no rational grounds to get irritated with me so he dealt with it considerately.

Anyway he died of lung cancer.

With these recent wildfire smoke pollution incidents in NYC, one of the things I've been wondering about is what my personal level of risk is vis-a-vis the secondhand smoke I grew up with and continued smoke exposure into my adulthood. I'm not the type of person who believes that walking outside one hour under AQI 300+ conditions is going to give me instant cancer, but I AM the type of person who sees a future of multiple AQI 300+ conditions as a matter that should be derisked in whatever ways available and additive to lifestyle and agency.

So for instance, the air quality alert days have been few but have already caused friction with my wife perhaps incautious desire to be outdoors and soak up the sun for all its worth, and my perhaps over-cautious desire to stay indoor when the air gets bad. We're gonna have to find a balance somewhere, as well as be clearer about what levels are really bad. For me I get cautious above AQI 100 -- that might be too low. For all I know NYC regularly has AQI 100+ days but are considered 'normal' simply because they average out to below 100 over the course of the year, and this was just not information I knew before.

Anyway one thing we did do is buy HEPA filters for our apartment, which I turn run on lowest level on AQI 100+ days and run on highest level on AQI 300+ days. Again I'm not really sure how much the filters can do. Our windows are fairly, but not completely, sealed from the outdoors. The building has an efficiency rating of 58 (out of 100) and a lot of that is likely window leaks.

This is a lot of me thinking out loud. But to understate the matter, I'm annoyed by yet another new environmental thing I need to be wary of even as I know more issues are coming.

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Very interesting perspective DB and sorry if this reopened any old wounds.

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No problem, I have a very open and frank relationship to death, incl. of loved ones.

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You know I also should mention that I grew up in a house heated in the winter by woodfire stove, and lived the greater part of my adulthood in a basement apartment with very little airflow that I would fry food using natural gas in.

So... in all likelihood despite my interest in lung health being recent, it's long overdue and I shouldn't fuck around anymore.

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Jul 5, 2023·edited Jul 5, 2023Liked by Mark Dykeman

I was raised by chainsmokers, pretty sure I was born addicted (likely since my mom smoked during pregnancy and even while nursing me haha, thanks mom.) As a teenager I never thought I'd smoke until I moved out and realized I actually liked the smell and would "crave" something. Turns out I'm one of those freaks who actually like the smell of cigarettes... so I started smoking. C'est la vie. Then I didn't all through my kids growing up, thirteen years I didn't smoke but here I am again, though I only smoke outside and try to keep it under 6 a day. I was smoking as I read this haha.

I'm in an area with great air quality. My kids don't know what smog is. We visit Toronto and we all develop coughs until we leave, and then when we're home we're coughing up Toronto for a few days, black phlegm. I feel way more damaged from city pollution than I do from smoking tbh. I feel extremely lucky to live where I do. Clean air, clean water, trees as far as the eye can see. You fly over my town and it's a grey blip in the boreal forest. We have forest fires this year too but not as bad as Quebec. I try to explain how much nature we have to my friends in Toronto who can barely see the stars and I don't think they get it, and that blows my mind. They have to drive hours to feel lost in the woods and I can drive 20 minutes.

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As a kid in the 90s, it was such a startling jump in my short little life at the time. People smoked everywhere! Then they had smoking sections. And then they were banished. My parents, children of smokers, have always been violently anti-smoking - like I had very few limits as a teenager, not even a curfew (I was a naturally good kid so they let it happen), but my dad told me he’d kill me himself if I ever started smoking. I have never doubted him, and he would do it to this day. My uncle died at 41, of lung cancer and left behind four kids and a devastated set of parents and siblings.

I hate cigarette smoke, probably because I haven’t been around it since smoking bans started and also because it’s terrible. I do love woodsmoke, though not major fire woodsmoke!

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Who still thinks Tim Hortons coffee smells like cigarettes? 🙋‍♀️ I remember one particular location that had smoking and non-smoking partitions that never reached the ceiling. (Although the baked goods tasted better then...mere correlation? Or do nicotine donuts taste better?)

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Going to high school in NC in the early 80s included navigating the smokers’ breezeway, passing through the smoke billowing into the hallway from the teacher’s lounge, wishing I smoked so that I could hang out more with the cooler, younger teachers at break and lunch ... a different world. Smoking bans have been one of the best decisions in recent decades - now it’s time to discourage vaping!

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