Ban it or leave it alone

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Friday, November 19, 2010 | Bob Rolfe | Categories:
Corning, N.Y. — Mayor Rich Negri wants everybody to quit smoking. He did a number of years ago after developing an illness, he told a meeting of anti-smoking groups the other night. I can understand his motivation and his point, having done the same thing myself a dozen years ago. My motivation was throat cancer which, thanks to successful radiation treatment, has not afflicted me since. The absence of tobacco has not bothered me in all the intervening years. But also the experience did not turn me into an anti-smoking fanatic. I know now that one shouldn’t smoke and I don’t think it’s that difficult for others to eventually reach the same conclusion. Therefore I cannot get all bent out of shape just because legal businesses display tobacco ads. If I were to walk into Brown’s Cigar Store, I would not be surprised to see a display of tobacco products. The products are entirely legal and so is their sale. I don’t care that 60 percent of stores surveyed by an anti-smoking group had tobacco ads on their buildings’ exteriors. Nor am I surprised that 55 percent had tobacco ads inside. Again, it’s their business. Does this drive young people to smoking? Hardly. The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Community Partnership and the American Cancer Society seem to feel these statistics are meaningful. I think they’re as useless as their collection. If you want to make tobacco illegal, go ahead and do it. But until that time, get off your soapbox and let commerce proceed unrestricted.
The Leader
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