A right to healthy surroundings

Posted: Monday, January 26, 2004

Pete Schneider ("One can't ban all of society's dangers," Jan. 18) sounds like a person who is brain-damaged by tobacco smoke and/or is one of the tobacco people.

Schnieder's comparison of tobacco to SUVs is ludicrous. First of all, SUVs are not addictive, defective and lethal (to the user and others nearby) when used as intended, as is tobacco and tobacco smoke.

SUVs do not kill 5 million users worldwide every year and hundreds of thousands more people who breathed the killer smoke.

In the U.S. alone, ambient tobacco smoke kills 65,000 innocent Americans every year - many more than all traffic accidents in that same period.

If Schneider considers tobacco to be "legal" then maybe he hasn't heard that it is illegal to poison people, no matter how slowly you do it!

And while there is no right to smoke around others, we all have a right to smoke-free air, this being established by common law hundreds of years ago.

Yes, SUVs can be dangerous, but there are thousands of laws that regulate the manufacture, distribution, sale and safe and responsible use of these and other vehicles.

And the same government and people that passed those laws did so because of the prime directive of good government: to protect the health, safety and welfare of all of the people.

Prohibiting the release of a witch's brew of carcinogens and poisons around others also satisfies those objectives.

Smoke-free air is good for people and for businesses. Only the tobacco people and their "friends" continue to dispute the facts.

Dave Johnson

Arlington, Texas

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