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Letter: Clean air fair as clean water to public

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Thomas Talbert


Received: Sept. 19

Thank you again City Council for entertaining public comments concerning smoke-free Columbus. Who would have thought we would still be debating smoke-free Columbus issues in 2012.

There is no question the tobacco smoking issue is one of the most contentious subjects which you have dealt with in recent times. It is also one of the most expensive and deadly preventable issues of our time.

I write this in an attempt to clarify my Tuesday evening comments. I agree with protecting individual rights, both smoker and nonsmoker. If an adult chooses to smoke, while it is not healthwise to do so, so be it. But one’s right to smoke ends at the end of one’s cigarette, not polluting a nonsmoking citizen’s breathing environment with secondhand smoke. Clean air is as fair as clean water to citizens.

For the individual rights and health issues, Columbus enacted our 2006 smoke-free ordinance, with the state following with the current statewide law. These laws are on the correct path but fall short of eliminating discrimination against lower-income wage earners of small businesses.

Let’s finish our work by extending rights and health support to the servers at bars and private clubs who cannot afford to be as independent as people in higher wage brackets. Let’s put all workplaces on a level playing field.

 The Council is commended for protecting individual rights while establishing progressive public law for Columbus. Let’s finish this project with a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance to work with the 2012 state law: an ordinance which is synergistic to our state law, which protects all public, while creating a healthy and progressive image to attract new business, young professionals, destination tourists and retirees.

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