Mar 22, 2010

New assault on workplace smoking ban launched

The Michigan workplace smoking ban that will ban smoking in bars and restaurants will not go into effect until May 1, but there is already an attempt to weaken the law.

Apparently, there is a petition drive underway to exempt American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts from the ban because they are private clubs, and those organizing the petition drive are trying to play on patriotism to duck the ban that protects the majority of people who do not smoke from deadly secondhand smoke.

“Army veteran Mike Stapleton said clubs where those who fought to defend the freedoms of this nation gather should be exempt from the state’s smoking ban,” according to an AP report that appeared in the Grand Rapids Press.
“It’s wrong for lawmakers to tell us private clubs what to do,” said Stapleton, 61, who served in the Vietnam and Desert Storm wars.”

I could not disagree more. I am also a Desert Storm veteran, and I think veterans should follow the laws just like other citizens.

The fact is deadly secondhand smoke kills, and many veterans simply cannot go into their local VFW or Legion post because of smoking. People from Livingston County will recall the old Legion Post 141 at the corner of Grand River and M-59 that was torn down and replaced with a beautiful new club. Just the smell of smoke was so bad there that many people could not come in even when the club was empty.

Even military leaders have recognized the harmful effects of smoking, both first and secondhand smoke. My military career reflects that. Like most teens, I tried smoking, but I had quit by the time I joined the Navy.

One of the things I remember from boot camp was being woken up at 3 am. to my company commander angry because he claimed he found a cigarette butt in the head. That led him to confiscate every single cigarette and lighter from us. He would then hand them out one at a time when he granted the company a smoke break.

For the rest of boot camp that smoke break was the carrot and the stick. If we did well, we got a smoke break. If we didn’t, no smoke break. So, three or four times a day we would all pour into a small lounge attached to our barracks - smokers and non-smokers alike - and some 40 guys would choke down as many cigarettes as they could in 5 minutes. Since I was practically smoking anyway, I became a smoker, and for the next 20 years I was a heavy smoker.

Once I got to my first ship, there were few places you could not smoke, with the
exception of your rack and during General Quarters because ventilation was turned off in case of a NBC attack. The cheapest place in the world to buy cigarettes was on a U.S. Navy ship at sea because you did not pay local, state and federal taxes. The point is there was a culture of smoking.

But over the years that began to change. First, you could not smoke in the berthing compartment, and then in your work space. Finally, in 1989, the ship I was on, barred smoking inside, and you had to go outside on the weather deck to smoke. That was a few years ago, and I’m sure more restrictions have been placed on smoking since then, especially after the Surgeon General’s report.

I hope this pro-smoking effort fails, and the legislation respects the will of the people.The sacrifices veterans have made for this country should be respected, and their health should be protected.


Not Anonymous said...

You started smoking as a teen, but quit by the time you entered the navy, but then smoked for 20 years because the navy forced you to smoke by herding you in with other smokers on a break?

You are lying.

I do apologize for your loss though. I see that you're unemployed already. Just one day following the socialization of health care. Too bad the coverage doesn't start for another four years. But that doesn't matter really because you admitted that you don't have health care anyway. I find it ironic that you can afford Cable to get MSNBC, but you can't afford health care for your family.

Communications guru said...

When you lose on the facts like you always do, you have to stoop to the false personal attacks. That’s why you are anonymous.

Not Anonymous said...

Nice try, but I followed your time line. You lied for the sake of your position. I didn't lie about your health care coverage, I only used your words that you don't have any health care on your wife and I only used your words that you watched MSNBC which is only on cable or satellite.

The coverage doesn't start for four more years, although the taxes will begin much sooner under the watchful eye of the 17,000 new IRS agents provided for in the bill. So that wasn't a lie.

Finally, it's Monday. You wrote this stuff about noon. So you must be unemployed.

Don't get used to the health care. I seroiusly doubt it will remain. Much like the socialist Democrats, it will be disappearing soon.

Not Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way, my name is "not anonymous" because I have children that need to be protected from the perverts that want to control every aspect of our lives. Hmm, that would be the socialist Democrats.

Communications guru said...

I don’t lie. The benefits of the health care insurance bill will be immediate. You better stick to false personal attacks because that is all you have. The facts are not on your side.

Again, anonymous, there is no such thing as a socialist Democrat in this country, and that is just another false, fascist Republican talking point. The Democratic Party is the oldest political party is the U.S., and it will remain that way for some time.

Communications guru said...

No, you are anonymous because you are a coward who likes to smear people with lies and not face any consequences.

Again, anonymous, there is no such thing as a socialist Democrat in this country, and that is just another false, fascist Republican talking point.

Anonymous said...

A letter from a doctor.........

I’m Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.

I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.

To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.

Robert E. Madden, M.D

Billy said...

As a former Navy Veteran a DC MAN I breathed more smoke in fire fighting training than you could ever think about.
Now as far as protecting goes Iam a big boy now I don't need you or others to tell me how to run my life.
I fought for freedom which is not defined as government control but rather the lack of. I weill consider compromise but you will not. That makes you radical. Nothing nothing prohibits you from going to a post meeting and suggesting or making a motion for trhe post to go smoke free. What we have are a few the minority trying to impose upon the majority a desire of radical change with no compromise though a bypassing of the most funadmental rules of our country the vote. Thgis ban was not created by a vote of the people but created by lobbyist even in Ohio the anti smoking cartel did not have the courage to identify clearly that private clubs were under the ban by the ballot they were exempt!
Nothing prohibits you from organizing a Post youself that would be non smoking, but you can't find the membership to do it so you will try to steal a post instead.

Communications guru said...

I am also a Navy veteran, and as for you breathing smoke, that’s you breathing smoke, not
the majority of non-smokers that die from lung cancer from secondhand smoke.

The ban does not protect you, it protects the 75 percent of people who do not smoke. You
can smoke all you want, but you can’t place other people in danger. I also fought for
freedom; freedom from harm.

As for “going to a post meeting and suggesting or making a motion for the post to go
smoke free” that’s simply irrelevant, it’s the state law that bans smoking indoors.

“What we have are a few the minority trying to impose upon the majority?” Smokers in
Michigan make up less than 25 percent of the population; they are the minority, and they
are harming the health of the majority.

This certainly was a vote of the people. People in Michigan not overwhelmingly supported it, but a majority of lawmakers voted for it.

As for the alleged doctor’s letter, the science is clear, and you just need to see the Surgeon General’s two reports and the EPA.

Quit smoking benefits said...

I have mixed feelings about the government controlling everthing we can and cannot do. We need less government and not more. I can understand placing smoking bans on restaurants. But I feel bars should be given the option to allow its customers to smoke. With smoking signs posted to the public non smokers can go to a non smoking bar.
My biggest fear is that the government will soon control every aspect of our lives. After all, wasn't this country formed by people who wanted more freedom and less government control.

+++ Quit smoking Benefits

Communications guru said...

I want freedom, too; freedom from deadly secondhand smoke. The people gave their consent to be governed to be protected from dangers like cancer causing cigarette smoke.

And no, this country was not “formed by people who wanted more freedom and less government control.” It was formed by people who wanted representation and a say in government.