Letters to the Editor

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SMOKING: Voters spoke loudly on this issue

Letter by Heidi Henson, Gig Harbor on March 28, 2011 at 11:40 am | 13 Comments »
March 28, 2011 2:30 pm

Re: “Smoking lounge ‘buy-in’ bill moves ahead” (Political Buzz, 3-20).

How does making more people exposed to, addicted to and sick from tobacco in order to “raise more money for critical health care programs” make sense? The cigar lounge bill would do just that.

I have been told that this bill is still being considered because it is “necessary to implement the budget.” I wonder who decided that? The last time I checked, state voters approved smoke-free indoor air for all workers in the state. And they spoke very clearly: Initiative 901 was passed by a wide voter margin and went into effect Dec. 8, 2005.

This law requires all public places and places of employment to be smoke-free, specifically adding schools, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and nontribal casinos to the definition of a public place and calls for a 25-foot perimeter or “presumptively reasonable distance” of no smoking in front of public building entrances, windows and air intakes.

The Institute of Medicine report on secondhand smoke exposure and heart disease clearly confirms that secondhand smoke could cause heart attacks and that smoke-free bans prevent them and save lives. More than half of people who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Blue-collar and service workers are especially likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke on the job.

Let’s get our representatives to uphold the law and not be blinded by easy money from tobacco. Oppose SB 5542.

(Henson is a member of the Tobacco-Free Alliance of Pierce County.)

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