Letter to the Editor

A better and healthier Cape

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Editor:I support having a smoke-free law in Cape Girardeau because I am concerned for fairness in the way we deal with each other. We can't just ignore information we have from the U.S. Surgeon General stating clearly that secondhand smoke is a serious health problem: "Low levels of exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, which are implicated in acute cardiovascular events and thrombosis." (Report of the Surgeon General, Dec. 9, 2010). It is unfair in this economy to ask employees to choose between their health and a paycheck.

People are likewise faced with a choice of patronizing a business they like, and being exposed, or having to leave because someone else is polluting the air. Children and people with allergies or respiratory problems have this problem compounded. Secondhand smoke in public places is a danger to everyone's health.

That's the simple truth behind the thousands of smoke-free laws across the country. Smoke-free ordinances simply ask smokers to step outside for the health of everyone. Five minutes outside isn't a lot to ask to keep toxic smoke out of other people's lungs.

The U.S. Surgeon General, numerous health organizations and doctors have confirmed that secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease and serious lung problems. I think it's time that we agree as a community that this would be a better and healthier Cape Girardeau if we took this action.

The Rev. Neal Zeillinger, Cape Girardeau