Don’t weaken anti-smoking laws

To the editor:

As Nevada lawmakers are pressured by the tobacco and gaming lobby to weaken or even repeal the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, the need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. In a 2006 report on secondhand smoke, the U.S. surgeon general stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.”

Secondhand smoke causes tens of thousands of deaths each year and is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome. There is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection from secondhand smoke.

The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business.

As the surgeon general concluded, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”

As a person who smoked for more than 20 years, but was wise enough to quit over 30 years ago, I recognize that the smoking habit is difficult to kick, but it can be done. As a heart patient and American Heart Association volunteer who has suffered through several heart attacks, surgeries and other procedures, I was elated when the Clean Indoor Air Act became law. This allowed me to breathe more easily and avoid the sickening lung irritation resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Our lawmakers need to remain committed to the law that was supported by a significant majority of Nevadans in November 2006. To do anything otherwise would show that our lawmakers refute all the foregoing negative factors and vote to allow the dispersion of tobacco smoke into the lungs of innocent bystanders while smokers insist upon killing themselves, one cigarette at a time.

STEPHEN STANKO

LAS VEGAS

Be afraid

To the editor:

Frightening examples of government overstepping its bounds of democracy have crept into the realm of intervention, most recently the ousting of a “private” executive from his “private” company at the hands of federal mandate. That is downright scary.

On an equally frightening level, one a little closer to home, the Nevada Legislature has passed a bill, SB82, that blatantly violates every American’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures. This bill allows “authorities” to seize the assets of prepaid debit cards of people who the governments “suspects” are a criminals or terrorists. No evidentiary proceedings, no conviction, no arrest and no due process is necessary to seize these assets. It can happen to you, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

It is time for our citizens to be afraid. It is time for our citizens to be very afraid.

Bruce Schowers

LAS VEGAS

Power play

To the editor:

Why are the brilliant citizens of this state and the country not storming the offices of Harry Reid and Barack Obama instead of harassing the power company? Sen. Reid killed a clean coal plant in Nevada that would have provided these citizens with reasonably priced power and Barack Obama would have us tilting at windmills instead of building efficient nuclear power plants. Wise up people and put your wrath where it belongs.

Loren Wilcox

HENDERSON

For Reid

To the editor:

Sherman Frederick in his April 1 blog, “Harry Reid is too big to fail?” imagines that there is some “conventional wisdom” rationale that’s primarily being used to promote Harry Reid’s re-election. This rationale is that since Harry Reid is so powerful, it would be stupid of Nevadans to yank him out of his Senate seat.

In the end, I think there will be another rationale that will serve as the primary argument for his re-election. (A reason which, by the way, I don’t see precisely identified in the blog article … except in the crack about the liberal Reid being in sync with the “soft socialism” of Obama).

Harry Reid has been a great and effective team player, key in marshalling the quick passage of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the Senate.

That alone justifies his re-election, especially with the likelihood that Sen. Reid will face an opponent who campaigns basically as an “obstructionist” to what is in fact a wise Keynesian approach (not “soft socialism”) that also involves an active seeking out of creative solutions through a cooperative bipartisan approach.

Mike Jamieson

RENO

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