P-D Letters supporting Prop N: 10/23/09 & 10/25/09

Three Letters to the Editor supporting Proposition N, on the St. Louis County November 3rd ballot, have been published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the last three days. Mine and one from Rusti Levin appeared in the Sunday edition today and the other was from Dr. Anthony Masi on Friday. They are reproduced below:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Letters from our readers

On-line at http://tinyurl.com/ykmdlad

Ignore false prophets

Proposition N, on the St. Louis County ballot Nov. 3, will take secondhand smoke out of most indoor private workplaces.

It is opposed by pro-smoking interests and some businesses that will argue that this is not a health issue but a “property rights” issue. Ignore these false prophets.

Missouri GASP has been promoting smoke-free air for 25 years and found long ago that the tobacco lobby exerts overwhelming influence at the state level. Real progress comes locally, as evidenced by recent enactment of Clayton’s strong ordinance. Proposition N offers a chance to expand that throughout St. Louis County.

The ordinance has loopholes, such as exempting small bars and casino gaming floors. Missouri GASP and others worked to remove them, and we will continue that effort if this passes.

Still, this ordinance is worthwhile. Every restaurant (with or without a bar) will be smoke-free, whereas almost all existing local ordinances exempt them.

This is the year St. Louis County, the largest in Missouri, can take secondhand smoke out of many people’s lives. You can help make it happen by supporting Proposition N.

Martin Pion — Ferguson

Join the 21st century

Finally! On Nov. 3, we have an opportunity to prohibit smoking in public places where people dine. It will be up to the people to vote yes on Proposition N so that St. Louis County can join the 21st century and become a more progressive and healthier place to live and visit.

Proposition N is a pure grass-roots movement with little money available to promote it. We are up against Big Tobacco, which has big bucks to fight dirty. It is a David vs. Goliath issue.

The election is less than two weeks away. It is very important to the whole region.

Rusti Levin — University City

On-line at http://tinyurl.com/yf4u94p

Voters have a choice on an important public health issue

As a lung physician, I knew the scientific evidence was mounting against the dangers of secondhand smoke. I was not completely surprised when I read the recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Institutes of Medicine report demonstrating that smoking bans reduced the rate of heart attacks. 

I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I read on Oct. 15 that the conservative, pro-business Wall Street Journal quoted from the study: “The repeated finding of decreased heart attack rates overall after bans were implemented conclusively demonstrates that smoke-free policies help protect people from the cardiovascular effects of tobacco smoke.”

I am delighted that the business world now is accepting what the health field has know for years: that secondhand smoke is a danger to the health of others both in workplaces and public places. The surgeon general warned us of this danger in his landmark report in 2006.
The CDC and National Institutes of Medicine now are reinforcing the surgeon general’s report. Please use your free choice to protect your health and the health of our communities by voting yes on Nov. 3 for Proposition N, which would restrict smoking in public places.

Dr. Anthony Masi — Kirkwood

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