As several recent letter writers have advocated for the Lakewood ban on smoking cigarettes in public parks, I offer something else to put in their pipes to smoke.
Every time I go to Fort Steilacoom Park, the air is so thick with car exhaust and wood smoke, I often think of cautioning joggers about running in such polluted air. They should be wearing gas masks. The respiratory problems caused by carbon dioxide and wood smoke particulates make the pollution caused by a few cigarettes almost negligible.
The park is bordered on one side by Pierce College, whose parking lots are stuffed night and day with cars, and on another by Steilacoom Boulevard, upon which thousands of cars travel every day. The park, in other words, is a magnet for pollution, not to mention that it is surrounded by subdivisions belching wood smoke.
If we really want to make our parks safe for our children, our elderly and those with other lung complications, we would start by stricter pollution standards on cars and chimneys.
It may be convenient to blame things on a smoker at a park, but I’ve never observed more than one or two in an afternoon on my daily walks. Let’s go after the real problem and not the one that offends our sensibilities.