On Second Hand Smoke And Government Control

(12/02/2004)

Dear Editor,

There have been numerous articles in the last months in several different papers concerning the "damage" caused by "environmental tobacco smoke."

Having been a heavy smoker for most of my life, now only an occasional smoker, I have seen smoking go from chic and commonplace to seldom and frowned upon or simply banned.

There is no doubt that smoking is unhealthy.

But one cannot extrapolate from that evidence to assuming that secondary inhalation is deadly or damaging, even if it seems to make sense.

There is such a thing as scientific evidence and tossing that aside accomplishes only a further diminution of trust in government and its claims.

Primarily our tax dollars, under the aegis of the UN's World Health Organization, were spent to do a study in 7 European countries in the early to mid-90s that ran for a little under two years and consisted of health studies on some 1,700 people living in smoking and non-smoking households.

WHO wants to exert control over our lives by controlling what we take into our bodies and had a specific desired result they anticipated from the study.

The expected result didn't happen.

The study showed not only no statistically measurable cardiac or respiratory damage from second-hand smoke and the incidence of health problems was LOWER among nonsmokers living in smoking households in one country with high levels of industrial pollutants.

The study concluded that this decrease in health problems was due to the sticky nature of tobacco smoke that attached itself to much more harmful industrial pollutants and glued them to walls, furniture etc., taking them out of freely circulating air.

Since this was not the result WHO wished to see, the report in its entirety was buried and only a half-page summary of the study was released, stating in very few words that no significant health hazard seemed to result from exposure to "environmental tobacco smoke."

This is typical of government to want to exert control over information to meet their agenda to increase their power over us and continue to reduce and eliminate freedoms we once assumed were our rights.

Government has complete control over that which happens on government property (it is obviously NOT "public" property, then WE have NO control over it!) and it matters little to me.

What I find very disturbing is when government legislates or regulates PRIVATE anything. What is it about that word and the Constitution that government does not understand???

Dr. Richard Kerr and the Libertarian Party are absolutely right; government has no right to control the use of privately owned land and buildings.

We are forced, for whatever reason, to seek out government functions on government property and if they wish to ban, smoking, spitting, speaking, breathing, or whatever while on government property, so be it.

I will always keep my visits there, as brief as possible anyhow, bet on that.

But when it comes to PRIVATE property, the conduct of customers should only be controlled by the property owner, not by another, governmental or not.

The argument that many restaurants and bars lease their space has no merit as the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that leased or rented space is also protected as private property and under the control of the owner or lessee/renter unless such decisions are prohibited or limited under the terms of the lease.

If the proprietor of an eatery, wishes to accommodate smokers or partition a portion of his PRIVATE property to provide some segregation between those who do and those who don't, it is the owner's choice, otherwise there is no such thing as PRIVATE property, only government property.

Is that what we wish?

No one is forced to give their business to someone with whom they disagree.

If I do not like the policies of any private business, I do not have to do business with them. If a restaurant wants only cigar smokers, IT IS THEIR CHOICE!

I won't eat there, I don't like the smell of them, but it should always be a decision made by the business owner, not government, not pressure groups backed up by junk science.

Tobacco use is fading and will likely be gone completely in another generation or remain only available through drug dealers after the UN decides to trample that bit of sovereignty as well and declares it to be an illegal substance on a global basis. I hope all the "antis" will outlive me and also lose some rights they thought were theirs.

Steve Allison
Grantsville

Freedom is inversely proportional to the size of government

(Allison is a member of the Libertarian Party) Freedom's Home Address: