One of the legacies from growing up in a household where my mother and father both smoked is the asthma I have. I am suffering through a bout of it right now. A few weeks ago I had a cold and although the sniffles are long gone the coughing continues unabated. It really doesn’t take much to trigger a spasm – a passerby wearing perfume, cigarette smoke, a change in the temperature, and, god forbid, accidently swallowing the wrong way.

So hurrah on two accounts in the news these past few days. First, a federal appeals court on Friday overturned a clean-air regulation issued by the Bush administration that would have let many power plants, refineries and factories avoid installing costly new pollution controls to help offset any increased emissions caused by repairs and replacements of equipment. How out of touch are they? Although there has often been derision at “greens” and “tree huggers,” most Americans really are environmentalists wanting clean air and clean water. Really, how could you be against these things.

Second, kudos to the city of Calabasas in California which has banned smoking in all public places. While California has some of the strictest anti-smoking laws, it is still possible to get the unexpected lungful. It is a shock when visiting other states to be concerned about where to sit in a restaurant or remembering to take a deep breath and holding it before walking out of an airport terminal. Many places still allow people to smoke right outside the doors. Let’s hope that the trend towards making breathing easier continues.

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