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Unfair to Smokers


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Dear editors:

I have just read Patrick Griffin's article in the March 18 edition of the Reader and am appalled at his suggestion to make tobacco illegal.

Usage of tobacco by 28 percent of the adult population of the U.S. provides $13,000,000,000.00 in annual taxes and many jobs per state. Would Mr. Griffin care to pay these expenses out of his own pocket? Will he give jobs to the people thrown out of work? I think not!

President Clinton's Health Care Proposals to target tobacco users, again, to pay for the cost of national health care, is also way off base. The need to stop the waste and fraud in our current Health Care/Insurance system should be the major concern, not punishing adults who choose to use tobacco. Tobacco usage does not cause STDs, broken bones, AIDS, pregnancy, mental disorders; in short, it does not cause all the health problems, so should not be made to pay for all of them. Tobacco users pay more for all of their insurance, including car insurance, and now they want us to bear the burden of a national health insurance? I've never known anyone who has been in a car accident because he or she was "under the influence of tobacco."

If the push is on to ban everything that might be bad for us, i.e., risky behavior, all fast food restaurants should be closed, ski lodges should be shut down, bungee jumping should be stopped, TV, radio and books should all be banned and most of all, get rid of all public and private transportation. We can all walk; remember, a horse and buggy can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Perhaps Mr. Griffin is the man who accosted me on the street the other day while I was walking in downtown Chicago, the one who was at the bus stop inhaling the noxious fumes of a CTA bus, walked a good 20 feet from where he was standing and yelled at me to "put out that filthy thing, your smoke is really bothering me!"

By the way, Mr. Griffin, since you seem to be keeping statistics on this sort of thing, I am of mixed breed, one half American Indian and one half English/Scots/Irish and went to college. I will also be a grandmother before the year is out.

Gloria L. Kelber


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