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Published: Tuesday, 12/23/2008

Voters clear when voting smoke-free

Lung cancer remains the top cancer killer in this country, killing 162,000 Americans, including 7,350 Ohioans, every year. There is no such thing as limited exposure to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke leads to lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious, life-threatening illnesses.

It is a mistake to view the workplace smoking ban as a debate over personal choice and individual liberty. This is, first and foremost, an issue about public health.

State lawmakers should heed the wishes of the 2.2 million Ohioans who spoke loud and clear in 2006 by passing a comprehensive workplace smoking ban without exemptions.

Citizens in this state were not misled when voting for SmokeFreeOhio. A poll two years after passage showed even a larger majority favored the clean air act.

The Ohio legislature should not force Ohio workers to have to choose between their livelihood and their health.

The science is clear second-hand smoke poses a dangerous health risk and the existing smoking ban is the only way to fully protect all Ohioans from the hazards of secondhand smoke in the workplace. I respect and applaud the 2.2 million Ohioans who voted to pass SmokeFreeOhio in 2006.

Michael E. Stark, MD

Lucas and Wood CountyBoard MemberOhio Division Board MemberAmerican Cancer Society

The Blade s Dec. 6 editorial, Bush the revisionist, and column by John Hostettler both fail to take into account the 550 tons of yellowcake uranium, the last remnant of Saddam Hussein s nuclear arsenal, that was secretly removed from Bagdad.

News of this was covered in an Associated Press article on July 6.

James Machen

Goddard Road

Ohio earned an overall grade of C for its support of emergency patients on the American College of Emergency Physicians National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine. For the individual category of Disaster Preparedness, our state earned a C- and ranked 36th in the nation.

This low mark was the result in part of the state lacking a plan for the state emergency operations center or local emergency management agencies to provide security to hospitals during a disaster event. While we have a state-developed all-hazard medical response plan, we lack a written plan specifically for special-needs patients and have not implemented a patient or victim-tracking system.

The effort in Ohio to build a solid disaster plan must be strengthened, and our lawmakers must know that this is a priority to all of us.

I urge the residents of Ohio to tell our state policymakers to push for legislation that will help reform our emergency health-care system, especially our ability to respond to a disaster.

Catherine A. Marco, MD

Department of SurgeryDivision of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Toledo College of Medicine

The angst of an economy gone awry brought us a Jeep Rally and a Take Back Toledo initiative all in one week. While scanning the radio dial, I heard the usual negative discourse about affixing blame for all that is wrong on the backs of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and the United Auto Workers. I reacted with a phone call to WSPD-AM (1370) and, against my better judgment, gave a short outline of my support of Carty s speech and the domestic automakers. I was then cut off and hung up on in a fit of talking points and rage by the host.

Many of reasonable mind have given up on WSPD for its refusal to give balance to the hate-filled half truths that are routinely spewed as fact. My point, not made on the radio station, was that what we are experiencing now is not the fault of Carty, the domestic automakers, or the UAW. They all know the importance of maintaining the middle class in America.

A comment that best expressed our situation was made in The Blade by Tom Kress, retired CFO of Sheller Globe: The U.S. has been living on the back of the rest of the world for a lot of years, [when] the automotive industry was not [really] in the world economy. But now the world economy is leveling out the standard of living. Our standard of living must come down. In other words, global trade brings us the dollar-an-hour wage; if all of us are to work, we must compete. Is it any wonder that unemployment and home foreclosure rates are rising?

Paul Wohlfarth

Ottawa Lake, Mich.

A Dec. 10th letter on the smoking ban mentioned something that s actually very important for all Americans, not just bar owners. One of the reasons we revolted more than 200 years ago was our anger at governments that felt they had a right to indenture their citizens in servitude. Free people should never be unjustly forced to do the government s dirty work. Aside from the one major exception of the power of the military draft, we have held to that principle pretty firmly.

The writer noted that health officials refuse to enforce the smoking ban themselves but instead use the power of fines and licensing threats to force business owners and employees to act as unpaid and untrained enforcement agents of a law that technically is not even being broken by the people they are told to act against.

Ohio is not alone in this schizophrenia. While most court cases against smoking bans go nowhere, one area where bar owners have found success is in being excused from this indentured servitude. It s expensive to fight legal battles against the state, but eventually citizens both smokers and nonsmokers will get tired of funding and supporting what is fundamentally an un-American injustice.

Americans have fought for and fully deserve free choice in their lives as long as they are not using such choice to imminently and grossly harm others. Simply allowing some bars, restaurants, and other businesses the choice to allow smoking clearly does not constitute such harm. Antismoking extremists always like to say that ventilation solutions do not eliminate tobacco smoke, but they ignore the fact that modern standards of ventilation are perfectly adequate to provide comfortable and reasonably safe environments for any who wish to be in them.

Michael J. McFadden

Author of Dissecting Antismokers Brains Philadelphia

Exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, and tempted to skip the holidays this year?

While many of us experience these feelings to some extent during the holidays, for caregivers, The season to be jolly is often fraught with dramatically increased demands, expectations, and memories of past holidays. The following tips may help the caregivers you know get through, and maybe even enjoy the holidays this year:

Take good care of yourself get plenty of rest, eat well, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sweets as self-medication.

Let others know if you need a hand, and realize people won t always know what you need, so be specific with your requests.

Recognize when you need a break call a family member or take advantage of adult day care and respite services in your community.

Maintain reasonable expectations. It is all right to forgo labor-intensive activities for new traditions that involve less stress.

Talk to a friend with whom you can share feelings. Log on to www.icaregiver.org, a terrific source of caregiver information.

Finally, because family caregivers provide 80 percent of care to our nation s older adults, the holidays are the perfect time of year to thank those whose care makes life better for an aging family member.

Ann Heringhaus

Executive DirectorSenior Independence, a division of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services

A match-up I would like to see: Michael Phelps and Lance Armstong in an triathlon.

World s greatest athlete?

BRUCE KRUPP

Imperial Drive



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