‘Smoking ban’ is a misnomer | VailDaily.com
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‘Smoking ban’ is a misnomer

In response to your article in The Vail Trail, “Why a smoking ban makes sense,” I would like to thank you for your in-depth views and analysis.

However, using the term “smoking ban” is perceived as a means of banning smoking. The reality is that it is not a ban on smoking at all. Smoke-free laws simply require that the “smoking sections” in workplaces and public areas be moved to designated, outside areas so others don’t have to breathe the smoke. It’s simply a matter of location.

As you pointed out, secondhand smoke impacts human human health – with the greatest impact on workers in the hospitality industry.

But ironically, we have seen some smoke-free laws in other Colorado communities exempt specific people – those working in bars, bingo halls, bowling alleys and casinos – where secondhand smoke concentrations are highest.

Laws that exempt certain people by not providing them equal protection is discriminatory. Laws protecting human health should protect everyone equally.

The health of workers in the hospitality industry deserve the most attention because they commonly work in smoke-filled environments. Patrons of smoke-filled environments can come and go, but it’s the workers who stay.

So when there are exemptions to the law, are we not really concerned about protecting people in their workplace from secondhand smoke exposure or are we more concerned about accommodating people who suffer from smoking addictions?

Some argue that people who smoke have to have a place to smoke. This is ludicrous because what they are really insisting on is to continue to smoke around others.

Smoking is their choice. But when that choice impacts the health of others, government should step in.

As supporters of smoke-free policies, matters of health should be regulated by government and not voted on by the public as is the case in Eagle County.

For example, health codes, liquor codes, fire codes and building codes, which are designed to provide health and safety protection for workers and the public, are laws made by government that protect people from harm. Secondhand smoke causes harm to others and should, therefore, be regulated–by government.

We want to encourage other Colorado communities to consider the very important role that government has in enacting laws that help protect the health of their citizens. The public should not have to bear the responsibility of voting on matters concerning public health.

We want to wish the voters of Eagle County our support as they head to the polls to vote for public health. It’s just too bad they had to take on the responsibilities of government themselves.

Stephanie Steinberg

SmokeFree Colorado Communities

. In District 1 – Colleen McCarthy; in District 2 – Don Cohen, Ron Wolfe and Charlie Wick and at-large – Dave Mott and Rohn Robbins. These are the people who believe strongly that this is the right direction for Eagle County and are spending time away from family, friends and other work to make this happen.

Our challenge is to get the vote out on both sides of the county, select local citizens who will work hard to draft a simple charter that almost everyone can live with and then adopt a charter that will breathe new life into our county government.

Bob Schultz and I are in the book. Call us if you have questions or suggestions. AND PLEASE, when you receive your mail-in ballot, vote yes on question 1A.

Jacque Whitsitt

Candidate for the home rule commission and Basalt resident

In early October, the citizens of Eagle County will receive mail-in ballots with a couple of interesting questions to answer. Although this election day is not expected to have a big turnout, this will be the time when the voters of Eagle County could start the ball rolling towards improving the structure and operation of our county government.

Question 1A will ask Eagle County citizens to allow an elected citizen commission to draft a county charter that could make government more responsive and more representative. We will also be asked to choose the people who should do that work.

Our existing county government is constrained by state statutes that were written as if one size fits all. Eagle County is a sprawling and geographically divided county that does not fit under the old order of things. If 1A is passed, citizens could draft a charter that would change the number of county commissioners from three to five and make geographic representation part of the deal. This alone would be worth the effort. Especially on the Roaring Fork side of Eagle County, where we have little or no opportunity to attend county meetings that require a 120-mile round-trip. If we had our own commissioner, we might actually run into them at the grocery store, sporting events or on the street. As it stands, most of us don’t even know who “our” commissioner is. We would have someone at the table that knows the issues in our community and could go to bat for us on budgetary, land use, trails and transportation issues.

You will be asked to vote for three people from each of the existing three precincts and for two at-large candidates. On the Roaring Fork side, I would ask that you vote for Bob Schultz and me. In District 1 – Colleen McCarthy; in District 2 – Don Cohen, Ron Wolfe and Charlie Wick and at-large – Dave Mott and Rohn Robbins. These are the people who believe strongly that this is the right direction for Eagle County and are spending time away from family, friends and other work to make this happen.

Our challenge is to get the vote out on both sides of the county, select local citizens who will work hard to draft a simple charter that almost everyone can live with and then adopt a charter that will breathe new life into our county government.

Bob Schultz and I are in the book. Call us if you have questions or suggestions. AND PLEASE, when you receive your mail-in ballot, vote yes on question 1A.

Jacque Whitsitt

Candidate for the home rule commission and Basalt resident


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