Corning council makes right move

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Saturday, September 29, 2012 | Lynn L. Brewer | Categories:
Elmira, NY — To the Editor, As a supporter of those regulations which insure safer, healthier communities (think traffic regulations), I was pleased that the City of Corning is considering reducing the exposure of residents and visitors to the hazards of tobacco smoke. Corning would be joining 180 New York state municipalities who have made the decision to improve their quality of health and reduce their maintenance and environmental costs associated with tobacco use. The argument was made before the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), and continues today, that these regulations are a “smoker’s rights” infringement. U.S Courts have determined that there is no legal “right to smoke” and smoking is not a protected activity under the U.S. Constitution. The court decisions have a basis in common sense, in that roughly 75% of the population does NOT smoke. The 25% of the population that does smoke are your neighbors, relatives, and friends –? not bad people. The habit they have, however, does have a negative impact on you. The secondhand smoke, indoors or outdoors, forces you to ingest harmful chemicals. This can result in an immediate impact: asthma or allergy attack, or a long term impact: a host of cancers. Ultimately, these health care conditions result in costs to us all. Additionally, the litter from tobacco products is a hazard in itself. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter, taking years to decompose, and are costly to clean up. The other argument purported that restaurants would be driven out of business by adoption of the CIAA. What did happen was the opposite: business improved, in part because non-smokers, that 75% of the population, came out to eat in smoke-free restaurants. On their Corning City Council webpage is the following statement: “Our concern for the safety and quality of life of our citizens and visitors is second to none.” The safety and quality of life is best when people are able to enjoy activities in places where they can breathe fresh air. Lynn L. Brewer Elmira, NY
The Steuben Courier
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