Las Vegas Sun

October 30, 2014

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Letter: Smoking affects more than just lungs

Several letters to the editor have spoken out against secondhand smoke in our hotels and casinos. These letters were based on the surgeon general's recent warnings and our common knowledge of the deleterious effects of tobacco smoke to our respiratory systems.

Now we have positive evidence of another very serious consequence of smoking and secondhand smoke - blindness due to age-related macular degeneration. As an ophthalmologist, a great deal of my practice deals with macular degeneration. Medical research has shown that current smokers had an almost twofold increased risk of macular degeneration in comparison to those who have never smoked.

Inhaled secondhand smoke, while not a part of the quoted study, theoretically must have similar effects on the same metabolic systems involved in this terrible disease.

As our population ages, the burden of chronic diseases, such as macular degeneration, on the nation's vitality and economy are apparent. As with any other disease process, an ounce of prevention is worth that proverbial pound of cure - a cure that currently does not exist for the sight-threatening condition of macular degeneration.

Herein lies another reason for the Nevada Legislature to act on the behalf of its majority nonsmoking citizens.

Jack Kane, Las Vegas

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