sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Saturday, December 11, 2004

In this morning's letter to the editor, Valentina Gnup says that 40,000 nonsmokers die from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Find that number hard to believe? So does the Heartland Institute.

Gnup uses those very debatable figures to call for a city-wide indoor clean air law. But I have a question: where in this city, besides a bar, is anyone involuntarily exposed secondhand cigarette smoke? I like to think I get around town quite bit. In every business I deal with, not to mention in every office I've worked, the smokers are banished outdoors. With that in mind, I would say that exposure to secondhand smoke in Greensboro is already greatly reduced without a clean air law.

Here's a funny footnote: I once had some business dealings with the N&R where I had to drop a packet of materials by their office. It was a cold day, with snow still on the ground. As I approached the main entrance, I saw an older lady standing outside the front door bracing herself against the cold and smoking a cigarette. It was none other than my favorite N&R columnist, Rosemary Roberts.

Somehow I had her pegged as some sort of anti-smoking Nazi. I introduced myself and told her I hardly agreed with anything she wrote. She smiled and said that was OK, just keep reading. Though I still rag on her columns, I found her to be a very nice lady. I smoke and drink with a lot of people with whom I disagree politically; maybe I'll have a chance to do so with Ms. Roberts some day, although I doubt we frequent the same establishments. But I was wrong once, perhaps I'll be wrong again.


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