2014-04-25 / Letters

Council is saving us from what?

To the editor:

It really is quite amazing how emotional and reactionary people get about tobacco use.

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council banning cigarette use outdoors at Fort Williams Park is just another nail in the coffin of freedom and rational thought here in Maine. There is no debate over the fact that smoking is harmful to the smoker. Dangers of so-called second hand smoke on the other hand, are less well established. In a 2013 report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, research was published finding “no link between lung cancer and second hand smoke.” So what exactly is the Cape Town Council saving us from? Furthermore, in an attempt to save park staff from the so called burden of speaking to a potential smoker to determine if it is a real cigarette or an e-cigarette, they outlawed a non-tobacco product. E-Cigarettes do not contain tobacco, produce no harmful vapors, create no displeasing odor and generate no waste to be disposed of. So what is the council’s chief concern? The health of its patrons, or the “burden” of park staff?

“Its important to be able to enforce something that appears to be smoking,” said Councilor Kathy Ray. So now the appearance of smoking is harmful? The ordinance bans the “use of any tobacco product,” and since appearances are so important to her, perhaps Councilor Ray could explain to us the difference in “appearance” between chewing tobacco, which leads to oral cancers, and the chewing of gum, which leads to minty fresh breath? On second thought, we should probably just outlaw gum too, to save the park staff the burden of inquiry.

The following is a link to Journal of the National Cancer Institute Report on Second Hand Smoke: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/05/jnci. djt365.extract.

Devin T. Robinson
South Portland

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