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Smoking gun

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Cape Girardeau voters will cast ballots Tuesday to determine if the city will impose a ban on smoking in public places. They are voting on the wrong issue.

The real issue is the health dangers posed by tobacco products. These products kill people. If we wanted to make a real difference, we would be voting to ban the growing of tobacco and the production of cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco products.

Instead, a group of concerned citizens has taken what it considers to be the best step, considering the options available. Through petitions, this group forced the city council to put the smoking ban on Tuesday's ballot.

It is safe to say that everyone knows someone who has cancer or other smoking related ailments. In my case, my younger brother comes to mind. He was the brilliant one in the family. His doctorate was in decision sciences and engineering systems. After six years on the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School, he finally went to the doctor to see about the pain in his thigh. It was a malignant tumor. He had lung cancer, and the cancer has metastasized. After two years of treatment, the cancer took over his body. Our older son was dispatched to Los Angeles to bring my brother home to Missouri to die, which he did four months later.

No one will ever know if my brother's lung cancer was caused by secondhand smoke. He never smoked a cigarette in his life. He was persnickety about what he ate. He wasn't overweight. But he got lung cancer anyway.

Opponents of the proposed smoking ban could point to someone like my brother and say he was the victim of genetics. Or just plain unlucky.

But what if his cancer was, in fact, caused by someone else's smoking. What if no one could smoke? Would David still be alive today?

Opponents of smoking bans say tobacco could never be banned outright in this country. Look at Prohibition. Let's be honest. Prohibition didn't fail because it was bad policy. It failed because of government greed. The politicians saw how much revenue the government wasn't raking in from the sales of illegal hooch. Rather than keeping the nation sober, it decided to take its cut.

This is why tobacco will never be banned. Which leaves a smoking ban as one of the few options.

The argument that the real issue is government interference in private enterprise is about as hokey as they come. Who is government? It is "we, the people." Who is voting Tuesday? It is "we, the people." The issue isn't big, bad government versus independent business. The issue is how many more people are going to die because they are exposed to other people's smoke?

On Tuesday, I will be voting for the smoking ban, since I can't vote to ban tobacco. It's the least I can do for all the Davids in the land.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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Thank you Joe!

-- Posted by chinook on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 9:48 AM



-- Posted by Critical Thinker on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 10:33 AM


My mother died of cancer in her 50's, my father died of a stroke in his 60's. This is a very sad story similar to the one about your brother. My sympathies go out to you. The other thing these stories have in common is that neither one has ANYTHING to do with the proposed smoking ban in cape girardeau which all about using big outside money to make more money. Follow the money...it was donated by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation through the ACS.

The RWJ Foundation is a lobbying arm of Johnson and Johnson. They have millions of dollars in Johnson and Johnson stock. J&J sells Nicorete and Chantrix and other smoking cessation products THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN PROVEN TO WORK, and they make millions more every time they get a ban passed. The ACS, which was started to donate money for cancer research and take dying children to Disneyland has over a billion dollars in interest-bearing accounts and the two top executives make more than $1.3 million a year each! These organizations are now nothing more than lobbying arms of BIG PHARMA.

As a concerned journalist you should do your homework on this and realize that we have been hoodwinked.

-- Posted by riverdog on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 12:52 PM

What a mangy cur you are, riverdog, blindly regurgitating the propaganda of the infamous spammer "generalsn" (google him). Of course, he's been kicked off so many boards he has to resort to aliases to get his screwball conspiracy theories posted any more.

You're either him, or just an ignorant, partisan fool who lets his agenda overrule his brain. Why don't YOU "do your homework" before spewing such ugly, libelous drivel?

1. Chantix is made and sold by Pfizer, not J&J, you idiot.

2. J&J just came out with their 3Q results. Nicorette's earnings are truly miniscule in comparison with their other consumer products--Band-Aids, etc.,--and their treatments for tobacco-related diseases--heart disease, cancer, COPD, etc. THOSE drugs are profitable! If J&J were really out for profits, they'd _fight_ smoking bans. Like you.

3. There's no indication the "evil" J&J engages in your weird PR activity to promote any of their other brands. If so, they'd be out encouraging manufacturers to leave sharp edges so they could sell more Band-aids.

Much more believable is that cigarette manufacturers, who've been proven to do such things in a Federal Court, secretly support anti-smoking-ban spin-doctors in order to sell more cigs.

4. May you someday have occasion to see first hand the incredible work the dedicated people at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation do for the poorest, most helpless members of our society. To malign them so ignorantly and so unconscionably is partisanship at most despicable.

You and your types are ruining our country.

-- Posted by geneb on Sat, Apr 2, 2011, at 9:24 AM

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Joe Sullivan
River City Journal