To the editor:

It is reported that the Salem city councilors are to undertake the issue of a smoking ban on the Salem Common (“Clearing the air,” May 31). I wish them well!

First, there is the matter of plain old tobacco smoke. Second is the issue of marijuana smoke. Third, let us not forget the new player, vaping.

Tobacco smoke now seems like an old friend compared to the new entrants. Tobacco has the advantage over us when it comes to adapting for social use and restraint. We have literally tons of research info upon which to draw. It has been reported that mice were in short supply due to prolific research. Not so with marijuana and vaping. What has happened is that we are experiencing the classic example of social behavior outpacing technology and research.

Researchers are just beginning to understand the medical ramifications of the use of marijuana and vaping. How second-hand or third-hand use is factored in is in its infancy. What is known today may not be so tomorrow. It has just been recently discovered the danger of third-hand smoke in public spaces. Then, we have one more elusive entrant — medical marijuana. How do you plan on denying a use of a medical prescription? Now, the newest game player, vaping, is not understood by anyone. To make matters worse, the smoke we breathe comes in flavors. Isn’t science great?

So, Salem city councilors, I would suggest a great deal of research on your part before putting ink to paper. Leave a little wiggle room for later. You’ll need it.

Ken Bonacci


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