The Public Debate
POINT: Bring the ban
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
I propose a demonstration by those who favor the Smoking Ban. Buy a Kazoo, visit bars and restaurants, place the Kazoo between your lips, and hum. Music will waft around the room, entertaining patrons nearby. No problem, right? After all, Kazoo playing is legal. We have the "right" to play Kazoos. But, I bet management asks you to stop. Or someone waving a cigarette will shout, "Quit making that noise!" To which you proudly reply, "As a Free American, I choose to play this Kazoo and will do so. If you don't like it, you can leave."
I'm tired of smokers against the proposed Smoking Ban arguing for their "right" to smoke, saying that if I don't like smoke, I should "stay home." That says to me, a non-smoker, that they believe their "right" to smoke is guaranteed, yet my "right" to go out without suffering the effects of smoke is not. I, apparently, missed the school day when teacher said, "Our Founding Fathers lit up, wrote the Declaration of Independence, and held it to be self-evident that 'All men are created equal, as long as they smoke.'"
And the "smoking is no different than drinking" argument is also ridiculous. I can go out, choose not to drink, sit next to someone choosing to drink and, unless they spill their drink on me, be unaffected by their consumption. If they drink excessively and become a nuisance, they often get cut off or are asked to leave. If they're a BIG nuisance, start a fight, or drive, they could be arrested. Why? Because their choice is affecting others.
I don't deny anyone their choices. Drink, eat meat, light 'em up. All fine with me, just keep the booze, the grease, and the smoke off of those who don't participate.
Of course, restaurant and bar owners cry foul that their industry is being unfairly singled out. I absolutely agree with them. That is wrong.
The ban should apply to all public places.
Breathe smoke into your private lungs without exhaling into public air and we won't have a problem.
Christopher Rose, Age 36, Lexington, "Occupation Unknown-Seeking work in non-smoking environment"
Erin Grace, 21, Student, Transylvania University
1) Deaths will go down
2) Business will go up
Five years ago, at age 50, my wife and I had a small private celebration. The occasion was that I had lived to be at least one day older than my sister who died six years before. I would not be the youngest person in my family to die from cancer. Now I am working on being the only one to not die of this disease. I'd love to save anyone the experience I had of kneeling at my 50-year-old sister's coffin.
Ted Tabb, 55, Lexmark staff
Tony Baize, 29, Nonprofit administrator
It seems to me that the whole issue is caught in confusion over personal rights that smokers feel they have to smoke in public places. The problem is that smokers seem to forget that in those instances, their "right" to smoke is infringing on my right to breathe.
Aaron Kincer, 25 Network Engineer
Pete Sherry, 27, Librarian
Kathy Tabb, 52, Museum Director
Richard Stump, 27, Business owner
When most of you think of a bar, what is the first image that pops into your head? That's right; people sitting at the bar with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. This is NOT to say that all drinkers are smokers, but a vast majority of people who patronize bars do smoke. It is one of the few places left where smokers may go to light-up, have a drink, and relax after a hard day's work. Those who do not smoke and choose to go to a bar after work, have known this fact for years and accept it.
For once, give the CITIZENS of Lexington the right to vote on this issue and not let a handful of council members decide what we, as free American individuals, have a legal right to do!
Dale Lee, 37, Lexington
I'm a KY boy, a U. of KY grad, and spend much time in KY but live in Duluth, MN.
The Duluth city council voted for a ban in 2001 and there was a referendum later in the year. It opened a Pandora's Box of evils. It divided the community and even families into feuding factions. It damaged businesses and trampled property rights. It glamorized tyranny of a majority over a minority. It legitimized self-centeredness, lying, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination, and taught these values to our children. It is giving us a glimpse of the road to totalitarianism.
And for what?
The health scare associated with second-hand smoke is a fraud, a hoax, false. The three largest events associated with that scare are: 1. An insider's controversy in the late 80s through 1992 about how crooked the EPA's report on second-hand smoke would be. 2. Federal Judge Osteen in 1998 tossed that EPA report in the trash as junk science. 3. Later in 1998 a huge multinational study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found no significant evidence that second-hand smoke was any health hazard at all.
The health scare is sustained by a conspiracy of silence. All three of the above events were highly newsworthy, yet according to its Index, the New York Times printed not one word about them.
Smoking bans do nothing to improve public health, but they certainly do damage the health of the community. Duluth is not nearly as nice a place as it was before the ban.
You do NOT want a referendum, for this is when the activists will pull out all the stops and really get nasty and divisive. The ones here slandered decent people and put out false data that was absolutely appalling. For instance, they put out "scientific" data that said the smoke in a certain bar is 128 times that which a government study found, based on the IDENTICAL scientific paper. They said a child of smoking parents gets 16 times as much smoke in its first five years as the government study said a bartender gets in the same time. The "scientist" to whom the numbers were attributed would not respond to multiple queries, nor would her dean at a prestigious CA University.
The city council should protect the integrity of the community by voting the ban down, and any who vote for it should be summarily drummed out of office as a hazard to the health of the body politic.
William H. Rees, 68, a retired Air Force pilot, combat veteran of Vietnam War.
"Aside from whatever's growing in the vents (bacteria, fungi, and various toxic molds) there's formaldehyde leaking from foam rubber cushions; volatile compounds leaking from the walls, from upholstery, carpeting, cleaning solvents, wax, disinfectants and pesticides; there's dust from rugs, and gas from the stove. Now add human beings. Not only are they busily exhaling carbon dioxide-a pollutant about to be restricted at Kyoto-but they're shedding all manner of viruses and bacteria."
"Clean air," as it's promised here, simply doesn't exist-not even in a totally smoke-free environment. And certainly not in a smoker-free restaurant, where possibly the most important source of pollution and air-borne carcinogens is restaurant COOKING! Cooking meat, in fact, produces many of the carcinogens selectively imputed to second-hand smoke. And though OSHA finds the ambient levels from both sources (smoking and cooking) to be well within permissible exposure levels for an 8-hour work day, Dr. C Everett Koop (quoting the American Institute of Cancer Research) warns cooks to beware of sputtering meat fat which releases carcinogens that can lodge in the lungs. We seriously wonder if the anti-smoking activists would suggest that only the carcinogens that come from cigarettes, as opposed to those that come from pork chops and burgers, are a threat to human health (even though OSHA says the levels of both are safe). Applying the same standards to the same carcinogens, one would then have to conclude that there's "no safe level of exposure to dinner."
Sandy FieldsOwner, Rosebud Bar and The Scarlett Lounge
Susan Clay Callaway, Realtor, 56
Why can't we vote with our dollars, if a restaurant is for smokers, go somewhere else, or visa versa. I have not met that first smoker, who has gotten angry, when asked in a polite way to stop smoking. When it is against the law, an enforcer will be called and there goes our taxes up again. Why can't people understand, that each time the government gets involved...IT COSTS THE TAXPAYERS.
If the owner of a restaurant, wants to allow smoking, let's let the owner suffer the consequences, not the city and not the taxpayers.
Mike Moynahan, Realtor
In last week's news item on the Town Meeting, Ace printed:]"The idea of a referendum and letting the voters of Lexington decide the matter was one that garnered much applause, and left some appalled."
Something to be aware of and careful of. The Anti-smoking Lobby has a HUGE amount of money to throw at things like this.
In Florida the vote on the Constitutional Amendment to ban smoking was swayed by the fact that the Anti-smokers spent almost six MILLION dollars while the main group fighting the ban was able to raise only three thousand dollars. Being outspent by a ratio of two thousand to one can make the idea of a referendum a laughingstock.
If there's some way to pin down the expenditures of those pushing for the ban, both direct and indirect, you might be able to get some points simply by showing how they're trying to "buy the election."
Michael J. McFadden
Catherine Brooking, 35, Retailn
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