Keep kids from smoking, save lives

To the editor:

In Nevada, nearly 2,800 children become daily smokers each year. Our state spends $565 million per year on health care costs directly caused by smoking. Health care analysts estimate that 47,000 Nevada kids currently younger than 18 will die prematurely because of smoking.

The faith community cannot ignore this tragedy because we spend too much time burying mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who die because they became addicted to tobacco products when they were young.

Now Congress has an historic opportunity to protect children and save lives. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act would give the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products and their marketing. While this legislation would help protect all Americans from the ravages of tobacco, it includes specific provisions to protect our nation’s children from this deadly addiction.

Among other things, the legislation would ban outdoor advertising near schools, remove from stores and from magazines with high youth readership advertising with colorful pictures that appeal to children, and put larger, more effective warning labels on the cigarette packs themselves.

The bill’s strong, effective restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products to children strike at the very heart of the tobacco industry business model. A lifetime addiction almost always starts in the teenage years — 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking as teens. Any attempt to limit the national epidemic of tobacco addiction must begin with children. If the tobacco companies do not recruit kids to smoke, they lose a huge portion of their market.

By passing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Congress can take a major step to protect our children and reduce the terrible toll of tobacco on our community. You can do something really important for our children and families by contacting your members of Congress and telling them to vote for this bill, which will protect families and save lives.

Dan Edwards

LAS VEGAS

THE WRITER IS BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NEVADA.

Good money after bad

To the editor:

Has the president lost his mind? Why would the government want to get in to the auto warranty business (“Obama clamps down,” Tuesday Review-Journal)?

Auto warranties did not cause this economic crisis. Using taxpayer money to fix Chrysler and General Motors products may just cause the next economic crisis, though.

If GM and Chrysler could make a product people wanted to buy, then they would be viable companies. Why take out a long-term auto loan on a short-term vehicle? Toyota and Honda make a quality vehicle, and most of them are made right here in the United States.

I say more power to them. Let’s go ahead and shut down the union shops. The only reason the government is involved now is because GM and Chrysler and their unions ran right into the ground.

Stop throwing good money after bad.

Doug Farmer

LAS VEGAS

Quality of life

To the editor:

Sunday’s commentary regarding the United States and Europe needed serious rethinking. It was almost as poor as the “freedom toast and freedom fries” era, when we were very angry at France for not sending its troops — of whom we are usually disdainful anyway, so why would we want them? — to the killing fields of Iraq.

Most of my career has been as an expatriate American, and clearly there are marked differences in lifestyles and quality of life indicators to be seen in various countries, compared especially to that of the United States, but to suggest that for America to adopt the best of European practices is to devolve, and (gasp) to recognize that doing so is little more than a subversive plot by Democrats, is really challenging reason just a tad.

And what are some of these practices? The Jim Day illustration that accompanied the commentary almost said it all: a person sitting in an outdoor cafe, enjoying life at a leisurely pace, not picking up the phone in fear that your kid is more than a half-hour late coming home, having the state — to which we have paid hateful taxes — provide serious help when we are injured or aged.

In short, genuine care about our neighbor for no other reason than it makes all of us better Americans.

These are just some of those practices that would enhance, not diminish, the quality of life in the United States.

John Esperian

LAS VEGAS

Poor performers

To the editor:

The chief executive officer of General Motors resigned at the request of White House officials.

If that’s all it takes to get rid of a poor performer, maybe the White House will request the resignations of Sen. Christopher Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank.

S.G. Hayes

LAS VEGAS

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