EDITOR: I read about the apartment fire in Santa Rosa started by a cigarette, causing $200,000 in damage and displacing many residents (“Fire at SR apartments displaces dozens,” Aug. 14). As someone who is on oxygen 24/7, I know what it's like to struggle to breathe when smoke is in the air and the fright I have when my apartment neighbors are smoking. That's why I am so grateful to be living in Bethlehem Towers, an apartment building that has decided to go smoke-free.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, of which hundreds are toxic and 70 can cause cancer. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and, living in an apartment, we share the air with our neighbors. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome. For adults, secondhand smoke can lead to heart disease and lung cancer.
I wish everyone could live in smoke-free apartments in Santa Rosa so they would not have to be exposed to secondhand smoke and the risk of fires. I hope the city of Santa Rosa will pass a policy that protects the air for all of us.