News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Ban infringes on rights, discriminates vs. smokers

To The Daily: After having lived and shopped in Decatur for about 45 years, I moved out, mainly due to the cityís ridiculous regulations, but I continued to shop there.

As of Sept. 4, I decided I would no longer buy anything in Decatur. That day I had planned to go to a scheduled doctorís appointment, eat lunch, shop for clothes and a television and buy groceries. When I went into a restaurant to eat (a place I normally visit twice a week), I was informed it was now a nonsmoking restaurant, even before the city ordinance went into effect.

We ate in Moulton that day, and I told my family I will pay their travel expenses to go anywhere else to purchase groceries, clothes, tires, appliances or vehicles.

I donít want to cause anyone health problems due to my smoking — thatís why I go to the smoking section in restaurants. If someoneís perfume bothers me, I donít ask them to move or stop wearing it. I move.

My three brothers fought in Korea and Vietnam, and I was in the military. We defended this country to protect all of our rights. If my smoking bothers you, get up and go to the nonsmoking section in the restaurant. Then we can both enjoy our meals. You are violating my rights and discriminating against me by not allowing me to smoke.

Our government subsidizes the tobacco growers, using our tax dollars and collects taxes from its sale, but it doesnít want us to use it in public? Why not ban the sale? If itís legal to buy, it should be legal to use. They want our tax revenue without our freedom to use the product. I would like to help campaign for someone who will strive to represent us all.

Elton Cooper
Danville

Banning tobacco sales would hurt cityís revenue

To The Daily: If the City Council doesnít want people to smoke, why didnít they just ban the sale of tobacco products in Decatur?

I started to smoke at age 7, growing up on the farm with nothing but work to do. I smoked for 47 years and when my best friend got emphysema, I decided to quit. I did it overnight after 47 years, with sheer willpower and a secret method.

During my time of employment, I enjoyed getting up early in the morning with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Then after working late night shifts and getting off at 7 a.m., I was like a day-shift worker getting off at 5 p.m. and going to the local bar. I enjoyed going in for a couple of beers and a hamburger. I sat there with my beer, waiting for my burgers, and smoked a couple of cigarettes. All I could smell in the bar was the hamburgers cooking and the french fries in the deep fryer.

Oops, wait a minute, ban sales? If 1/20th of the population in Decatur (56,000) quit buying cigarettes at 8 cents a pack tax, and 100 people quit buying snuff at 7 cents a can tax, 300 people quit buying chewing tobacco and 300 people quit buying cigars at 4 cents tax each, and 100 people quit buying pipe tobacco at 4 cents tax a pack, well, looking at the stats would mean a loss of revenue to Decatur of approximately $225,000 a year. I guess we canít ban the sales of tobacco products or the council may have to go into another secret meeting and put another 1-cent sales tax on us.

And another thing I was wondering about: Was that a constitution violation? Oh well, Iím sure they know what they are doing.

Orville Wahoski
Decatur

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