As a nonsmoker who has suffered through many an outing at smoky bars and restaurants in Pittsburgh, it was gratifying to read "Smoking Bans Linked to Cut in Heart Risk" (Nov. 11). Everyone benefits from smoking bans -- they not only reduce the risk of heart disease among nonsmokers, but they also motivate smokers to quit. Furthermore, studies show bans have no measurable negative effect on businesses.
However, one of the trickle-down effects of smoking bans that should also be addressed is the new behavior it creates -- smoking directly outside of establishments adhering to the ban. While less offensive than being exposed to harmful toxins inside an enclosed space, it certainly is objectionable to have smoke blown in my face as I walk inside a restaurant -- especially as a pregnant woman. I should not have to choose between entering an establishment blocked by smokers outside the front door and the health of my unborn child, but this is often what I have to do.
Pennsylvania should take the ban one step further by following the lead of states like California, which have prohibited smoking within 20 feet of any establishment that has to comply with the original smoking ban. Nonsmokers should never be forced to suffer the consequences of smokers' irresponsible decisions.
LINDSAY WILLIAMS WEISSBERG