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Letters to the editor

Tim Savage

This is to the coward who e-mailed into “Wisdom on the Web” and didn’t give his/her name about Wildridge being a sugar daddy to the town of Avon and how the P&Z are a joke. I am a P&Z commissioner and if you have any backbone at all I’d like to see you call me a joke to my face! My name, because I am not a spineless twit, is Tim Savage, and my number is 949-1344. Tim SavageAvon Wrong this timeOn Jan. 26, you, Mr. Rogers, both ridiculed and minimized the issue of the efforts of the Eagle County commissioners to protect the rights and health of valley residents. As a part-time Vail resident, and regular reader of the Vail Daily, I most often agree with your opinions, but this is one time you are dead wrong.You write that “the overwhelming majority of first-hand smokers somehow live to ripe old age.” However, in addition to failing to define a “ripe old age,” what you omitted was that almost all of these smokers have either chronic heart, lung, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, or some other serious manifestation of a debilitating tobacco-related disease. It is unconscionable to mislead the readers of this paper about the dire health consequences of smoking.With regard to second-hand smoke, a server working an eight-hour shift in a smoky bar inhales the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes. Most ambient tobacco smoke comes from the burning end of the cigarette and is even more lethal than the smoke that has gone through the length of the cigarette, the filter and the smoker’s lungs, where many of the worst toxins stick. Twenty percent of Colorado adults smoke. However, most of the 80 percent who do not smoke will not go into a smoky bar. Therefore, bars miss out on the patronage of those of us who don’t want to be exposed to a Class A carcinogen.In reference to a ban on outdoor smoking employing a 25-foot perimeter, I would suggest that you examine the evidence. Recent studies indicate that even outdoors, toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke reach bystanders within 20 feet in a high enough concentration to do physiological damage. There is simply no safe level of exposure and non-smokers have a right to breathe clean air.Regarding enforceability and market forces, I would agree that market forces are slow to change, but enforceability has not been an issue anywhere these measures have been instituted. Talk to your Summit County colleagues if you want to do some responsible investigation of recent nearby relevant enforcement experience: no problems whatsoever! Sheriff John Minor in Summit County will tell you that this is a self-enforcing law as long as servers, managers, owners and others are trained and proper signs are posted.Your comments about drunk driving are relevant. Actually, second-hand smoke kills about three times the number of people per year as drunk drivers. These are easily checked facts, but your point is a good one. Why would you NOT have a DUI law on the books? And if second-hand smoke is even more dangerous, why not regulate it everywhere?You say a smoking ban is “a waste of time.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a waste of time, unless you happen to be a non-smoker sucking in the poisons. Why would you, who seek to defend the “rights” of smokers, not be even more eager to assert the rights (to clean air) of those who, like yourself, wisely avoid this deadly behavior? Sure, smoking is legal. But, so is breathing air that won’t make you sick. Take your choice. But don’t make the uninformed choice.Carol Betson-GoldsteinEnglewoodLevel field?Re: Making smoking cigarettes criminal and the phrase “level playing field”:A “level playing field” – sounds good doesn’t it? Who could be against a “level playing field,” right? It’s simply where every business in a particular segment agrees among themselves to be the same in one or more aspects. Well in most businesses and industries this same concept is called “illegal collusion,” “anti-competitive practices,” and “elimination of consumer choice.” It’s no different than if a gas station started offering free doughnuts with every tank, and the other gas stations decided this was taking business from them and demanded that the government make it criminal to give away gifts with a purchase, saying this would create a “level playing field.” The whole “level playing field” concept also completely belies the claims that making smoking criminal actually increases revenue for small business and bar-restaurant owners. Obviously if the bar-restaurant owners felt that eliminating smoking helped their bottom line, they would exercise their freedom to control what happens on their private property and eliminate smoking all on their own. Chris Salmon Eagle-Vail Vail, Colorado


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