Letter to the Editor

Reader trusts in smoking ban proposal

Monday, February 16, 2009

To the Editor:

(Recently) I had the opportunity to sit in the House Chambers at the Statehouse and listen to the reading of HB 1213, which would ban smoking in public places statewide. For two hours I sat and listened to supporter of this bill speak about the health issues and economical burden we endure and suffer from due to secondhand smoke. Tears welled in my eyes as Dr. Ratcliff, Purdue University, spoke of his father's long, devastating battle with cancer and thoughts of my own dad sitting at home suffering from COPD, and using oxygen came to my mind, breaking my heart. Many spoke of personal health issues they suffered to second hand smoke, doctors spoke of patients they were treating with a myriad of health issues due to exposure to second hand smoke. There were so many there to support the issue we were unable to hear them all in the two hours allotted.

Then the opposition to the bill was brought up one by one to speak, each speaking of the bottom line, how much their business would lose because people would cease to come to their bar or casino, not once showing any compassion or feelings for the people who they employed, and were being poisoned on a daily basis. The big industry personal, standing there in their expensive suits telling everyone it's going to hurt their industries bottom line (their employee's health?).

Then a bar owner spoke of how she was not a smoker but listening to her gravelly voice you could tell she had worked in a smoky room most of her life.

They proceeded to say she would never allow a baby in an establishment or restaurant where smoking was allowed. Does she realize when she picks up and holds a baby after being at work in her smoky bar, that baby is being poisoned by the chemicals in her hair and clothes? ("Pediatrics" Vol. 123) Yet she does not mind that by babies who are 22 and 25 years old are poisoned because they may choose to socialize in a bar. How and why is the health of someone over the age of 21 no longer a consideration? Sure we choose where we go to socialize but many do not have any options, there are no smoke free venues to go to. Personally I have become a recluse because I have no options, I get sick from second hand smoke so I choose to stay home.

I do not even go hear my beautiful daughter sing in the bars because I get sick. It breaks my heart that I cannot go, it breaks my heart because she has no options of where to sing. Why is it that some Hoosiers count and are protected but others don't count at all?

Michelle Stucker