News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Council tramples smokersí rights, then stifles speech

To The Daily: It amazes me that a councilman in Decatur was evidently not only afraid of other peopleís rights to free speech, but trying to bully the people. This was more than evident with his removing the signs and/or people from the meeting (against the First Amendment giving all people the right to free speech) and not backed by rules of conduct.

Contrary to what three people who voted to ban smoking in the city of Decatur feel, smokers have rights. There are more than 44 million smokers in the United States. Thirty percent of Alabama residents are smokers. There is 42.5 cents tax on every pack of cigarettes that goes to the city, county and state. They not only pay more and ever-higher taxes, but they pay higher insurance rates, including vehicle, health and life, and higher medical costs.

Where is the mayor? He won the battle to speak for the people of Decatur when he was elected mayor and he was trusted to represent all the people, not just the three sitting on the council or the nonsmokers.

They did not have a vote. Contrary to what a select few believe, Decatur is in the United States.

It is not the three people who are being hurt. Again, it is the business owner and the customers of every business that allowed smoking. It is the large businesses and the small mom-and-pop businesses that rely on all people coming in to help them survive, just like it was the business owner that got slammed when the sales tax was raised.

Rebecca Corrie
Somerville

Try to see issue from nonsmokersí point of view

To The Daily: Here is a hypothetical smokerís log: On your way to work at 8 a.m., have a cigarette in your car; at 10 a.m., when others have a coffee break, instead of coffee, go outside and have another cigarette; at noon, have another cigarette in your car on the way to lunch; then have a smoke-free half-hour lunch; then back in your car on the way back to work, have another cigarette; then at 3 p.m. for another 10-minute break, have another cigarette; then at 5 p.m. on the way home from work, have another cigarette in your car.

Now, that is six cigarettes in an eight-hour workday. If you need more than six in that time frame, then you are addicted and will not listen to reason. But, all your eyes are willing to see is that this new ordinance is taking away your rights. No, itís not.

What this new ordinance is saying is that you can smoke as much as you want in your home and in your car, you just donít have to subject your disease-causing smoke to anyone else.

Try to step out of your shoes and walk in anotherís for just a brief eight-hour day. It can only help your health.

Sharon Beach
Decatur

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