Compliments to Your
How Long Can You Hold Your
Breath, Part 2
by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong
August 21, 2003
Thursday - 12:30 am
In my last article, I wrote about smoking. I took the reader
through a tour of the dangers and addictive nature of smoking,
and how the tobacco manufacturers would never get tobacco products
past the FDA and EPA if they were new products today.
by Weston Davis ©August 2003
On one of our recent warm days, I had opportunity to be in our
airport. The ventilation was extremely poor; it was hot and oxygenless,
and the second hand smoke was pouring out of the lounge into
the snack bar area where non-smokers (some of which were children)
sat trying to eat their food. The best place to get free of the
smoke that day was in front of the plate glass windows where
one risked second degree burns from the sun. It was not a good
day at the airport.
I realize that the renovations to the second floor of the terminal
building are far from over. The work on the first floor is finished
and very pleasant. It is spacious, well lit, has a convenient
baggage area, and nice rest rooms. I had hopes that these significant
improvements would find their way upstairs and even address some
of the problems unique to the second floor. While we may all
expect better lighting, open space, and nice restrooms, we may
not anticipate better ventilation or the elimination of smoking
from the waiting area. Here's what I found out:
The ventilation system is being
cleaned, not replaced or upgraded.
The lounge is being moved to a new area of the floor.
There will still be smoking permitted in the lounge.
What's wrong with this scenario?
First, the present ventilation is not adequate for the existing
square footage of the second floor. On really rainy days it is
humid and stuffy. On very warm days, it is stifling. How can
the Borough expect it to be adequate when they add more space?
True, the system will be cleaner, but it is still the same size
and type of system. Second, moving the lounge is just relocating
the problem if the smoking persists. Unless they make it an airtight
lounge or provide the lounge with its own ventilation system,
why should we expect the second hand smoke to stay inside? Third,
this is a public building, and even though the lounge is privately
owned, it is providing a public service provided on public property.
To allow smoking in the lounge tells a large segment of the population,
non-smokers, that they are not welcome in this area unless they
are willing to put their health at risk. And, as this is a Borough
facility, the Borough is endorsing this position through it's
inaction on this issue.
What is the solution? The second floor needs a small area with
isolated ventilation where smokers can go and seal their fate
without infringing on the health of others. If it's economically
not feasible to add a smoking room at this time, perhaps a sheltered
porch, protected from the weather, with heat lamps like the solariums
on the ferries, could be added to the design to accommodate smokers
and save non-smokers. If a large facility such as SeaTac, (not
to mention all the major airports in the country), can become
a no-smoking facility, why can't Ketchikan International Airport?
An upgrade to the ventilation system itself would also be desirable.
Perhaps in the future, we can take the lead of some of the large
hub airports who have solved this problem to everyone's satisfaction.
I have been in terminals with spacious, glassed-in rooms containing
isolated ventilation (big, powerful exhaust fans directly to
the outside). The rooms have park-style benches, lots of live
plants (which produce oxygen), running water, and soft relaxing
music to soothe weary travelers who can sit inside and smoke
till their next flight if they want to.
In the interim, nothing changes if nothing changes. I urge all
of us who choose not to smoke to contact the Borough Manager
and Borough Assembly concerning the second floor renovations.
There is still time to fix this situation before the renovations
are complete. The protected porch idea is entirely feasible and
could be added for a very small cost compared to the isolated
room concept. Smokers could be accommodated and non-smokers protected.
And, those of us who would like to sit in the lounge in nice
comfortable seats and have a beverage and a snack could do so
without endangering our health. We would also be protecting airport
employees who work there every day. Their exposure to second
hand smoke is significantly greater than it is for travelers
who simply pass through on their way to someplace else. The Borough
is directly responsible for providing them a safe work environment.
I hope that those of us who care about our health and our public
facilities will take moment to call, email, or otherwise contact
the Borough Assembly about this very significant problem while
there is still time to do something about it.
E-mail Joann Flora
To Your Health
Joann Flora 2003
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