I am writing in response to the staff editorial in the Sun Advocate by Richard Shaw, on Jan. 27.
In Richard's editorial he expresses concern about the erosion of personal rights in regards to smoking. The proposal brought forth to the county commission was to limit tobacco smoking to designated areas at public events. This proposal is not to infringe on smoker's "rights", but to allow both smokers and non-smokers equal rights. Non smokers and children have the "right" to breathe clean air, just as smokers have the right to inhale smoke from cigarettes. Surveys have been done at different venues throughout the county to ask community members their personal views on second hand smoke and to ask their opinions on limiting smoking to designated aras, overwhelmingly the response from current smokers, former smokers and non smokers was that they support designated smoking areas at public events and recognize that second hand smoke is both irritating and a health hazard.
The LIC proposal is not to eliminate or ban smoking from community events, it is intended to allow those who choose not to smoke to reduce exposure to second hand smoke. I respect the rights of individuals who choose to smoke. I respect the rights of individuals who choose to smoke, I have a parent who smokes and it is her choice, but she is also respectful of my choice, not to expose my children or myself to second hands smoke. It is not a matter of likes or dislikes, but a matter of public health for the community at large.
Why should smokers have the "right" to expose everyone in the community to second hand smoke and non-smokers have not rights to say not to that exposure?
I agreed with Richard that we should be vigilant in protecting citizens rights, but shouldn't we protect the rights of all citizens, even those who do not want to be exposed to the chemicals found in second hand smoke?
I say, let us find a common ground where all citizens have the right to choose.