Recent letters from a woman who wrote to a few local newspapers complaining about how fireplace smoke makes her horribly ill every winter brought this issue back up for me. I suddenly knew that I wasn't alone in my suffering from fireplace smoke.
Last year, my good friend's son died on Xmas eve from cystic fibrosis, a lung condition. I have no doubts that fireplace smoke makes people with lung problems ill in the winter; and, I wouldn't be surprised if that is what pushed him over the edge.
I've noticed when I take a walk with the dog that I feel worse when I walk by patches of the artificial log smoke than when I smell ordinary wood smoke that doesn't also have the smell of burning garbage mixed in. I went to an allergist to see if I am allergic to fireplace smoke. He told me that fireplace smoke is a toxin; and, that people aren't allergic, that we are suffering genuine responses to a toxin. So, I guess some of us are the canaries in the coal mine.
I wish that people didn't feel the need to have fires in the winter. But, I know that people are almost militant about this issue. Tonight as I write this, my lungs hurt and I feel sick. I couldn't take the dog out today because it was too smoky outside. I don't know how many people suffer from fireplace smoke. Maybe there are only a few of us, maybe thousands. I wish more research would be done on this subject, though; particularly in regards to those artificial logs (that I believe are worse).
This problem for me began about 5 years ago and I have no idea why all of a sudden I have this reaction. But, it has made me sensitive to the difficulties that those who have asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and other pulmonary disorders must endure.
If cigarette smoke can be considered a public nuisance, than I think it is only reasonable to admit that fireplace smoke is just as injurious if not worse. People can usually escape cigarette smoke, but, people who suffer cannot escape the abundant fireplace smoke that fills the air every winter in the trivalley.