LETTERS: State needs to expand no-smoking law

To the editor:

Being a civil libertarian, I believe anyone has the right to do as they please, as long as they do not force, intimidate or harm another when acting upon their indulgences. This said, smoking in any business or building open to the public should be banned, as both smokers and nonsmokers are exposed to harmful secondhand smoke (“New Orleans smoking ban deals new blow to Caesars,” March 18 Review-Journal).

Opponents say this ban violates the private property rights of the businesses. No one has the right to cause harm to anyone on their property or allow anyone in their business to harm another. It is the responsibility of the business owner to protect all of the patrons who enter the establishment and to also protect the employees of that business.

All businesses are required to meet certain state and federal regulations to protect the public — such as building codes and sanitary and safety regulations. And yet there is no city or state law to stop the harm that secondhand smoke causes, killing thousands of people every year. It is ridiculous to have all the laws we have to protect us from ourselves — seat belt laws, drug laws, etc. — yet none against a known killer in secondhand smoke.

Lobbyists for the tobacco and gaming industries will do their best to keep the laws the way they are, putting the public at risk to maintain their profits.

Many nonsmokers, myself included, who presently don’t go into many casinos, taverns and restaurants because of the smoke problem, would start to support these businesses if a nonsmoking law in public buildings was passed. Let’s show the country that Nevada is not a backward, nonprogressive state and pass a nonsmoking law in all casinos, public buildings and businesses. They said it would never work in New York City, and I can’t think of anyone there that would want to go back to the way it was.

FREDERICK H. SPOERL

LAS VEGAS

Minimum wage math

To the editor:

Thomas Sowell stated his case against raising the minimum wage by claiming the high minimum wage rates in three countries — Spain, Greece and South Africa — have the direct effect of hurting employment (“Minimum wage hikes leave havoc in their wake,” March 23 Review-Journal). While it is true that all three of these countries have high unemployment rates, South Africa’s current minimum wage — based on current exchange rates — of 77 cents per hour could hardly be characterized as high. Greece and Spain, with unemployment rates of 25.7 percent and 23.9 percent respectively, have minimum wage rates of $3.67 and $5.40 per hour, again based on current exchange rates.

Cyprus has no minimum wage rate and an unemployment rate of 16.8 percent. Mr. Sowell uses Switzerland, with a very low unemployment rate and no minimum wage, as further proof of the validity of his argument, ignoring the neighboring country of Italy, which also has no minimum wage but has an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent.

On the other hand, Belgium and Germany have unemployment rates of 8.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, and their minimum wage rates are $9.51 and $9.05 respectively. Facts certainly do have a way of ruining a good ideological argument.

MICHAEL HENDERSON

LAS VEGAS

State needs DMV express

To the editor:

With regard to the continuing disaster at Department of Motor Vehicles offices in Southern Nevada, why doesn’t the state do what New Mexico does? In greater Albuquerque alone, there are six MVD Express offices, which are independently operated and handle routine business (licenses, tests and registrations) for the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department. The express offices are open Monday through Saturday, and you are usually in and out of one of these places in less than half an hour.

SALLY F. BURKE

LAS VEGAS

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