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Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Healthy change

April 25, 2004

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To the editor:

As someone who moved from Lawrence to a city that prohibits smoking in all public buildings, I support the smoking ban. One of Lawrence's best assets is the nightlife downtown, but the positives of that asset are tarnished by the smoke that stings eyes and lungs in bars and restaurants, and by the familiar, inevitable stench that permeates clothes and hair the next morning.

The ban does not diminish great local music; it does not restrict social opportunities; it does not affect great drinks or dinner specials; it does not even eliminate smokers or smoke breaks. It simply moves the smoke out-of-doors and provides greater room for choice among the patrons of Lawrence's landmark establishments. By extending the option of choice, we increase the number of people who will frequent our downtown.

I fail to understand how standing outside for the duration of one or two cigarettes so that others mightn't suffer is an unholy infringement on personal freedom. I do, however, understand how those who are too lazy to walk 15 feet to an outdoor patio, those who are inconsiderate of their neighbors and those who have nothing to cling to in life besides the butt of a cigarette might, for fear of change, hide behind the abused banner of personal freedom.

Lawrence has a reputation as a nexus of intelligence, art and modern culture in the Midwest. Science has proven secondhand smoke harmful. Let Lawrence live up to its reputation. Let it be unafraid of intelligent, healthy change.

Colin Robins,

Corvallis, Ore.

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