Wayne Worden, MS, RRT, RCP has been a licensed respiratory care practitioner for 16 years and is director of respiratory care WakeMed Raleigh Campus.
As reported in the News & Observer, Saturday marks the first day of a restaurant smoking ban in North Carolina. This is remarkable because these restaurants and bars are some of the last businesses to ban smoking. Originally from New York, I saw the impact of a restaurant smoking ban when that state implemented a similar law several years ago, and I appreciated the big improvement this seemingly small change made for nonsmokers and for the health of the community. The ban made dining out much more pleasurable for non-smokers and greatly reduced diners’ exposure to second-hand smoke.
As a respiratory therapist, I see the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke in our patients every day. Both smoking and second-hand smoke are dangerous and negatively impact many disease processes. Smoking is a known risk factor for most major diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer. And, second-hand smoke is proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease and lower respiratory tract infections in young children.
This weekend’s new non-smoking ban is a great step toward a healthier North Carolina.