Letter to the Editor

Smoking issue affects our rights

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To the editor:I was disappointed that the heart of my concerns were not expressed in Friday's article "Smokers leaving butts in woman's yard."

My concerns stemmed around the fact that smoking is a legal activity on public sidewalks and that Southeast Missouri Hospital has no right to be advising smokers they must leave public property.

Additionally, the hospital, in my opinion, is not being a good corporate citizen, because it is not addressing the negative consequences its property-wide smoking ban is having on the community.

Finally, we live in a society that is based on freedom of choices, including the right to make choices that are not good for you, as long as you don't harm another in the process.

Do we really want to live in a society that allows businesses to shape our social norms and personal preferences?

Today, the topic is smoking. Tomorrow the focus may be fatty fast food or driving any cars that emit toxins on hospital property.

Smokers and nonsmokers should be concerned about the precedent this ban is setting.

My solution: Southeast Missouri Hospital owns a vast amount of property with several locations it could designate as a smoking section that would not infringe upon nonsmokers' rights to clean air. Please do so.

The city may need to consider implementing a new ordinance preventing smoking a certain amount of feet from any medical facility's exit.

Once smokers realize the hospital has no jurisdiction, they will be legally lighting up on Lacey Street's public sidewalks.

TAMELA JONES, Cape Girardeau