Letters to the Editor

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SMOKING: Keep Washington smoke-free

Letter by Vance E. Lobe, Lake Tapps on May 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm with 19 Comments »
May 6, 2011 4:32 pm

As a former smoker and heart attack survivor, I am appalled that the tobacco lobby is again gaining a voice with our state elected officials. SB 5542 will allow smoking back into 600 stores and restaurants, putting hundreds of workers at risk by exposing them to dangerous secondhand smoke in order to earn a paycheck.

Didn’t we, in 2005, vote statewide to pass Initiative 901, the clean indoor air law? This was passed by an overwhelming majority.

The current state budget proposal from the Senate not only eliminates funding for tobacco prevention, they are actually funding tobacco cessation through licensing fees that will allow smoking back into public places.

Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. Washington currently has had one of the most successful tobacco prevention programs in the nation.

I ask that we not go backwards after all the tremendous strides we have made for clean indoor air and healthier lifestyles.

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Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. CrazyJim says:

    “I am appalled that the tobacco lobby is again gaining a voice with our state elected officials.”

    Why? The insurance industry has two lobbyists for every politician in the state. Including dog catcher.

    Why should the tobacco lobby be any different?

  2. bobcat1a says:

    Money talks and legislators are for sale.

  3. truthbusterguy says:

    Isn’t it only fair that if the tribes can have smoking in their facilities why can’t the white man?

    Smoking, slots, fireworks, cheap gas and booze all give the indians a competive advantage. We are one America. If it’s good for the tribes it should be good for all to sell and offer to costumers.

    It’s not a fair business arrangement to allow only the tribes allowed these activities. They make tons of maney and donate to the democrats so they can keep the status quo.

  4. alindasue says:

    truthbusterguy said, “Isn’t it only fair that if the tribes can have smoking in their facilities why can’t the white man?”

    The smart tribes, like the Muckleshoots, have caught on that people don’t want to do business in smoked filed facilities. I recently saw an add saying that their casino is now smoke free. According to my sister, it’s a pretty nice facility.

  5. uratroll says:

    Since when has Olympia ever gave a crap about an initiative that was passed by the voters? Regardless of what we want, they obviously know what’s best for us…again.

  6. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Nice piece of mellow drama, Vance, shall I play my tiny violin for you?

    The implication by the letter writer is that SB 5542 allows wholesale smoking of any kind to occur in these designated, licensed locations. This is simply not true.

    Key provisions of SB 5542 include:
    Establishment is physically separated from any public establishment. Establishment must be certified by contractor to have a ventilation system completely separate from any other structure.
    Sets an exacting standard for ventilation and filtration.
    Prohibits minors and cigarette smoking within.
    State can only approve 100 endorsements a year.

    The bill is clearly designed to allow cigar and pipe clubs to lawfully exist, nothing more.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Cigar-smokers-seeking-right-to-smoke-in-public-1345380.php

    Do we need to have another discussion of personal choice here?

    And to those whose knee-jerk reactions always point to evil corporations or lobbyists, you should note that this bill was primarily backed by local, in-state clubs, restaurants, and retailers who decry the unfairness of I 901 vis-a-vis tribal competition, and the constant intrusion of the states on individual rights.

    Conversely, we can thank interest groups such as health groups, hospitals, unions, faith groups, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce (among others) for the introduction and demagoguery that led to the passage of 901 and its subsequent blanket ban.

    And with fees going straight to the troubled Washington State Basic Health Care Program, this would very much appear to be a win-win for the state and cigar/ pipe smokers. Businesses would have to pay annual fees of $17,500 to obtain cigar lounge endorsements and $6,000 to obtain tobacco store endorsements.

    Revenue anyone?

  7. beerBoy says:

    It’s not a fair business arrangement to allow only the tribes allowed these activities.

    Want some cheese with that whine?

    Interesting how the treaties that were fashioned by the white man in a manner that best served the white man are now bemoaned as unfair to the white man. TBG, as my childhood friend used to say, “that’s mighty white of you”.

  8. Refrigerator says:

    Hey smoke em if you got em. If your an adult you should have the choice to smoke or not. I do not smoke but would never infringe on others rights to do so. If I don’t want to be around it I just don’t to certain places.

  9. Murigen says:

    Washing state is not smoke free. Restricted smoking yes, smoke free no. Washington isn’t willing to give up all that tax money.

  10. Polago says:

    Groups such as health groups, hospitals, unions, faith groups, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce represent a good cross section of the Washington State public.

    Who’s left?

  11. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    ”Who’s left?” In your little world, not much I guess – especially outside of that union thing.

    In the real world there exists such things as cigar clubs and advocates, restaurants/ bars and their various business organizations, charities, fraternal organizations, retailers, and civil rights – just to name a few.

  12. Alinup says:

    As a former smoker (14 years) I live in a building that is 8/10ths smokers.
    They’ve tried to do me in but despite a good case of asthma they haven’t
    gotten there yet. Do I wish that this building were smoke free? Of course.
    Smokers have blinders on that are a mile wide. They care more about their
    nasty, filthy habit then another persons life. Tax them out of existence.

  13. muckibr says:

    Vance, your comment that “Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S.” is a bald-faced lie!

    Heart Disease is NUMBER 1, CANCER in ALL FORMS is only NUMBER 2. But Tobacco use, by itself, does not even make the top ten. NOT all lung cancer is caused by Tobacco use. Nor are any other forms of cancer exclusively caused by Tobacco use. There are NO reliable statistics anywhere that accurately link Tobacco use to Cancer. NONE.

    When you have to LIE to make your case, then your case is BULL!

    I’m a former smoker too, and I won’t start back again even if they make it legal to smoke indoors. But, I just cannot stand the self-righteous hypocrites like you who LIE to make a case against smoking.

    Another “leading cause of preventable deaths” in America is driving cars on freeways. Why not ban that as well? STUPID!!!

  14. nwcolorist says:

    Oh, that pesky concept of individual freedom keeps getting in the way of the dictator class. Those who want everybody else to conform to their view.

    Did it ever occur to you, Alinup, that if 80% of the tenants in your apartment are smokers, it might be you that needs to make some changes?

  15. firemannotfirefighter says:

    The State of Washington has a vested interest in making it easier for smokers to light up. Tax Revenue. If you want the State out of the smoking business and to make it a truly smoke free state, then outlaw tobacco. Otherwise, let me enjoy my 4 or 5 cigars a year (special occasions) while sipping on a nice glass of scotch. You don’t like? Well you weren’t invited anyways!

    Former smokers (And I am a former smoker) often have a HOLIER THAN THOU attitude towards people that smoke. Get over it! You quit smoking, good for you but quit having an attitude towards those that haven’t or those that make the choice to smoke!

  16. fatuous says:

    “Businesses would have to pay annual fees of $17,500 to obtain cigar lounge endorsements and $6,000 to obtain tobacco store endorsements.

    Revenue anyone?”

    Very, very little revenue. I say forget the $17,500 in fees. It’s a drop in the bucket.

    Instead of these silly little fees, if folks want a place to smoke indoors, let them pay for full coverage health insurance for the employees working at the establishment. Plus, $10,000 a year per employee into an escrow account to pay for future tobacco related health injuries.

  17. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    4.75 Mil each year = “drop in the bucket”? Must be nice to be fatuous. And that total is an annual amount.

    Anyway, fatuous, I am sure you are aware that there would be very few – if any – employees at these types of establishments. But where there are, you can bet they are cigar or pipe smokers anyway. So what’s your point? Part of the bill states that employers will obtain signed acknowledgments from employees stating that they understand and accept that cigar and pipe smoking is permitted on the premises as a precondition of employment.

    Would you ban coal mining because of brown lung as well? I am not sure those miners would see it your way either.

  18. beerBoy says:

    Love the reductio ad absurdum attempts – comparing smoking to driving to work or to working in a coal mine…..

    So…..where can I get paid a living wage for smoking?

  19. Speaking of brown lung…..

    http://www.coalcares.org/

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