Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Response to Editorial in The Shawnee Dispatch

The editor of the Shawnee Dispatch has outdone himself this time. In his campaign to champion a smoking ban he now purports to defend the health of workers, http://www.shawneedispatch.com/section/opinion/story/6139

For the record, since I had a letter recently published in the Dispatch on another subject, it was too soon for me to respond there. The editor has been advised of this article and is invited to comment here.

Golly gee willikers, will the trash talk never end? First, let's look at restaurants and bars that do permit smoking in Shawnee. How many of those employees that Mr. Beal wants to protect are smokers themselves? Now, let’s look at "office" type businesses. Well, another golly gee willikers goes to Mr. Beal. Let's put the "office" workers into two categories. Category A will be single company offices. Oh, let's say like Bayer on Shawnee Mission Parkway. And yes, there are other smaller companies that would fall into this category. Category B will be multi-company office buildings, like the one that houses the Shawnee Dispatch.

Now Mr. Beal, how many category A businesses already have their own smoking/non-smoking policies in effect? How many employees in these companies are subjected to unwanted secondhand smoke? Give me those numbers. Those are "hard" stats, based on facts, not mathematical models subject to interpretation.

Let us now move on to the category B businesses. Same info please Mr Beal. In the City of Shawnee how many of these businesses subject their non-smoking employees to secondhand smoke? Is it possible that you would find that companies are already taking care of most of this on their own?

And yes Mr Beal, it is about the rights of the business owner to run his or her business. And, the customers of that business will dictate the policy of the business by their activity at the "cash register".

While we are talking about secondhand smoke, why don't we talk about automobile emissions. You know Mr. Beal, all that gunk and junk that gets tossed into the air by cars, trucks, buses, etc. And what about in cities like Shawnee that have a per capita income above the national average and have a high ratio of SUVs? You know, those gas guzzling, emission belching monstrosities that are exempt from the Clean Air Act. What do those emissions do to our lungs?
Is it possible that many of the medical problems blamed on secondhand smoke are really caused by vehicle emissions? Or would you rather not touch that? But I do think about that every time I see those members of the SMNW track or is it cross country team jogging along Quivira Rd. You know, working up a sweat, and their lungs acting like big vacuums just pulling in all of those emissions. Just a thought. :-)

At this time I won't even mention that beautiful smell in the air in the winter of all those wood burning fireplaces. Actually it is nice, but what are they putting into our lungs? And wouldn’t that be worse inside those residences?

But, the really, really big question is........................WHAT NEXT?