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Published: Monday, 2/26/2007

The voters have spoken: No smoking

Normally, I am one who believes that the less government intervenes in the private lives of its citizens, the better off we will all be.

However, in recent months, both the elected representatives of the citizens of Toledo and, more recently, an overwhelming majority of the residents of the State of Ohio have determined that smoking should be banned from restaurants and bars and most public places in the State of Ohio.

Nonetheless, The Blade continues to publish letters from those who apparently wish to smoke in these locales. Unfortunately, those writers do not understand that most of us nonsmokers (the new "silent majority") believe the surgeon general's report that smoking kills you and the more recent unassailable evidence that secondhand smoke severely harms persons in proximity to smokers.

The smoking advocates continue to suggest that the medical evidence in this regard is not conclusive. Without belaboring that issue, however, what they fail to understand is that their behavior is offensive to most of us who do not smoke. I have only recently begun to realize how enjoyable it now is to go into a local watering hole or dining establishment and enjoy a good meal or a cocktail without a heavy pall of bluish gray smoke hovering over some or all of the room.

The voters have spoken. We should all now work to eliminate smoke from all hotel rooms, apartment buildings, and condominiums.

JOHN L. STRAUB

Ottawa Hills

If I have to hear one more doofus say secondhand smoke does not harm, I'll scream. I have documented lung damage from secondhand smoke. I probably got it while working, but not smoking, in a bar. If the air at Jeep was as bad as the air in a downtown bar, OSHA would shut it down in a New York minute.

And telling people if they don't like it to go elsewhere is like telling a group of African-Americans they can sit somewhere else besides a Woolworth lunch counter. Or why can't Rosa sit in the back where there are plenty of seats?

Smokers are the ones with the bad habit, not me. So shouldn't they be the ones to make a change? When I sit next to someone in a public place, I can't spit on them, but they should be allowed to fatally harm me?

It's your problem if you smoke. Don't make it mine!

Jeff Jackson

Eaglebrook Road

Recently, you printed a letter from a gentleman who questioned the threat of secondhand smoke. I shared this letter with a small group of my third grade students.

They were shocked!

My 8-year-olds proceeded to share their knowledge of inhaling tobacco smoke: "There are more than 4,000 chemicals not meant for your body that are used in gross things, 60 that are known to cause cancer. You can get lung and heart disease. Tar gets on your lungs. It can cause breathing problems like asthma. You can look at pictures of lungs from people who live with smokers and see the damage."

They concluded that the only things smokers keep to themselves from tobacco smoke are "yellow teeth and stinky breath!"

One student may have summed it up best:

"Duh, of course it hurts everyone because it is the same smoke we have been warned about already." From the mouth of babes.

Libby Schmitt

Teacher

Monac Elementary School

Toledo

I would like a recent letter writer to know I am not a statistic but a proof that smoking causes lung cancer. I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2004. No, I never smoked a cigarette in my life. I had been exposed to secondhand smoke as a child, and after high school I worked in offices where people could smoke at their desks and sit in a break room that was blue with smoke.

What about the people who have been awarded compensation from the tobacco company lawsuits? This, again, is proof, not a statistic.

You cannot imagine how nice it is to go to a restaurant and not have to wait in the smoking area to be seated in the nonsmoking area.

Thank God for giving us intelligent people such as Dr. David Grossman and his "cronies," "the holier-than-thou smoke nannies," and wonderful doctors. After having surgery, undergoing six chemotherapy treatments, and losing my hair, the tumor is in remission. I have to have a CT scan every four months to make sure it is not changing.

My life has changed but I still keep a positive attitude. Kent Snyder should change his.

Carol Barkhau

Elmore, Ohio

I agree with the reader who wrote that David Grossman is acting like a spoiled brat. Ever since the smoking ban was passed, Dr. Grossman has turned himself into the self-proclaimed "Smoke Nazi" of Toledo.

There was a recent article in The Blade where Dr. Grossman stated: "All bar owners should lose their liquor licenses after the third offense. They may just consider these fines as a cost of doing business." That is the State of Ohio's decision, not his.

Now my understanding of Dr. Grossman's capacity at least during the last smoking campaign was to serve the public and not as an enforcer of the smoking laws. I do not believe I have read anything that says he has the authority to do so this time around. The state does not even how it will enforce the law passed or how to interpret it.

Maybe he should take a wait-and-see attitude. This whole smoking law will be hurting many small-business owners. It will not hurt the corporate chains with deep pockets and many out-of-state locations.

The new smoking law is like Prohibition and he is acting like he is Eliot Ness. We all know what happened in both cases.

Prohibition was repealed by the people and Ness lost his job.

Maybe history will repeat itself.

Scott A. Burkett

Prouty Avenue

Scientists worldwide have discovered the Earth is warming because of carbon dioxide buildup and the evidence points to human activity. It's claimed we may not be able to reverse what's already begun and doing nothing may be tragic.

Companies like GM and The Andersons, the American farmer, and our future leaders need our attention and support as they attempt to create energy alternatives such as ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, and even electric cars that are a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.

The United States should lead the way in solar, wind, and other green fuels and not be sidelined by shortsighted politicians who claim global warming is "junk science," and who say "saw grass" to impress constituents, all the while having misguided multiple ambitions in the Middle East.

What we need to do is thank scientists for their contributions. There wouldn't be 480 bald eaglets flying in Ohio had scientists not linked DDT to the young eaglets' demise. Lake Erie would have died had scientists not identified the human abuses that occurred to our Great Lakes. Lastly, we shouldn't scoff at what scientists are currently telling the global community. They're just reporting their findings; it's up to our lawmakers to make policy.

Besides, if global warming does not turn out to be human related yet the planet were to go really green, what's wrong with that?

MATTHEW GOLKIEWICZ

Petersburg, Mich.

A recent letter writer said there is "no real threat from secondhand smoke." It shows how uneducated he is about secondhand smoke. He is in denial, that's why he's complaining. It's obvious he hasn't done his homework. I don't want to break his bubble, but he can't see through his own smokescreen! He should do research on his disgusting, stinky habit, or at least keep it far from the majority - the informed nonsmokers.

I commend Dr. David Grossman for his efforts against secondhand smoke.

JAMIE NEWTON

Morrison Drive


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