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SECOND-HAND SMOKE A FORM OF CHILD ABUSE

I hope every parent read the article on verbal child abuse in the June 10 Lifestyles section of the News. I'd like to focus on another form of abuse against which children are also offered no legal protection. It occurs when parents subject their children to a proven killer-- second-hand tobacco smoke.

Every day while sitting at traffic lights, I watch with disgust as parents, with the windows up and the kids strapped helplessly in their seats, puff frantically on their cigarettes with no regard for the health and comfort of their children.

A recent surgeon general's report concluded that involuntary smoke is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers, and that the children of parents who smoke are more likely to suffer respiratory infections and symptoms.

While we work on laws to protect children from verbal abuse, let's also see if we can assure them a supply of clean, fresh air, at least until they become adults and decide for themselves if they want to breathe in this deadly air.

STEVE SZPAKOWSKI
North Tonawanda

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