With the crackdowns on smoking in restaurants and covered places (for instance railway stations and tram/bus shelters — though the signage is almost non-existent, so some people still smoke) I’m now more likely to indulge in passive smoking while walking down the street than anywhere else.
This might be because I don’t frequent bars and pubs very often — though I might be more inclined to once the smoking bans kick in there next year.
The adverts say “every cigarette is doing you damage”, though evidently the dangers of secondhand smoke are not well established, apart from breathing issues. At the very least it’s unpleasant, and bad for the laundry bill.
But I wonder how dangerous the smoke and other air pollution is? Is it the case that it won’t affect a healthy person, that any toxins that get into your lungs can’t do permanent damage? Or is there a chance, however small, that (as was the case with asbestosis) even just a molecule of Bad Stuff sticking may cause cancer or some other serious ailment later in life?
Am I right to hold my breath as I walk past hazy street-side cafes or building entrances? Should I continue to try and overtake when I’m walking behind someone grabbing that desperate nicotine fix between the station and their office? What’s worse — car exhaust, or secondhand cigarette smoke? How long before smoking is confined to spots that can only bother other smokers?