Don’t romanticize smoke

Letter by Cathy Baiton, printed in the Edmonton Journal ( Letters – August 13, 2011

Re: “Scent of woodsmoke strikes primal chord; Backyard ovens lend themselves to casual outdoors entertaining,” The Journal, Aug. 10.

This article romanticizes the smell of woodsmoke and praises the use of wood ovens. But wood-burning devices are part of a growing residential pollution problem across North America. Whether it is from a lit cigarette or any wood-burning appliance, all smoke is unhealthy to breathe.

Wood smoke in residential areas is a serious public health issue. The gases and fine particles in wood smoke pollute the air that children and others are breathing outside. As well, high levels of smoke pollution can enter nearby homes, even with doors and windows closed.

Most Albertans now support cigarette smoke bans in public places. Bans on equally harmful woodsmoke are also needed in Alberta municipalities.

A doctor listens to the lungs of a 3-year-old boy.

A doctor listens to the lungs of a 3-year-old boy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons