LETTER: Choice is clear: Ban outdoor smoking | Cigarettes Blog

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LETTER: Choice is clear: Ban outdoor smoking

After reading your well-researched, yet only nonchalantly presented article in Sunday's section F titled "Going up in Smoke," it seems the state doesn't care much that it is spending less on anti-smoking programs that a few years ago were the best in the country. People dying as a direct result of smokers' irresponsible premeditated actions is an issue not to be shelved by our elected officials and public service agencies whose mission statement includes concern for the health and welfare of people in our communities.

If this is not a concern of any of the elected officials or public health and safety agencies, then they should all publicly state a revision of their mission statement to say they do not care about the people's health.

The numbers you report are very disturbing but focus too much on agencies using hundreds of millions of dollars for quit-smoking programs. This is truly a waste, as very few smokers voluntarily register for these programs. I never saw a line formed outside any of these classes going down the block.

A case in point is the new cancer wing of Somerville's hospital. I called asking if they are being proactive by pressuring local officials about banning smoking in public places. No, I was told, it's only a quitting program. That's almost like using a fly swatter around an angry hornet's nest . . .

Your picture of New Jersey filled with cigarette butts should be graphic enough for airhearded officials to get the pictures. I am composing an album of what our sidewalks in Somerville look like which looks like that picture. Littering is a crime in most towns and liter of this kind -- butts, packs, and ashes - is overlooked and not fined here. This is highly toxic to our environment acting as toxic teabags everytime it rains.

Time to demand responsible action from our respective officials and agencies. Call them directly with your concerns for your family's health.


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