Letters to the Editor: Studies show smoke harmful to profits

The Feb. 21 front-page article, “Smoker’s fuming” was heavy on smoke-filled opinion and void of facts.

Randi Kingston, a waitress at Webb’s Watering Hole, was quoted saying she was concerned it would greatly affect business.

Sixteen states have now banned smoking in public places along with many cities including New York City. According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, adopting smoke-free workplace policies is a wise business decision.

The results of all credible studies show that smoke-free policies do not have a negative impact on business revenues while establishing smoke-free workplaces is the simplest and most cost effective way to improve worker and business health.
The Fiscal Impact Study on HB283 gives some interesting facts:

Businesses lose an average of $3,400 per year for every employee who smokes, including twice as much lost productivity per week, and smokers miss 6.2 days per year vs. 3.9 days for non-smokers.

Kingston should be as concerned about her own health as she is about her boss’ potential business loss given the abundance of scientific data showing her increased risk of various forms of cancer (including 20 percent to 30 percent increased risk of lung cancer), as well as chronic and fatal lung disease and heart disease.

Should smoke-free ordinances be handled by individual owners or by the government? Consider this: A well-established bar and restaurant owner in Clovis told me he would very much like to go smoke-free, but since there is not a uniform policy on this issue, he feels he would lose business as a bar. A statewide ordinance would make it a level playing field and, more importantly, equally protect the health of all the workers.

Terry Osborne

Smokers won’t stop eating out due to law
Do you really think people will stop going to restaurants and bars if their only choice is smoke-free ones?

Not only is that far-fetched, but it has just not happened in other cities and states.
I was in California not too long ago and it was absolutely wonderful to eat in a restaurant without being asked, “Smoking or non-smoking?” And, the place was doing fantastic business.

A news article that appeared in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on July 27, 2006, cites results from a study conducted by the Health Promotion Unity of the Texas Department of Health. It reported a significant increase in sales by the hospitality industry in Lubbock since their smoking ban of 2004 — an increase of $3.8 million, according to the study. The conclusion was that more people went out to eat since the ban went into effect.

It is unfortunate the Feb. 21 article “Smokers fuming” didn’t include any information to counter the fears of local bar and restaurant owners that their businesses won’t suffer and might indeed flourish.

Smoke-filled restaurants and bars not only hurt service-industry workers, giving them much higher rates of smoke-related diseases, it hurts untold numbers of other workers such as delivery men and those who service and repair their equipment. To all of these folks, a smoke-free law would be a much welcome breath of fresh air.

Twila Rutter

Right to smoke can hurt others’ health
My son saw a man smoking at a local restaurant and picked up the cigarette after it was discarded. Then my son pretended to smoke it.

I had the discussion of the consequences of the habit with my two kids, who were 4 and 5 years old at that time.

I am glad I did, because more recently my daughter came home from school and informed me her friend at recess was pretending to smoke and gave her the pretend cigarette. My daughter told her she should not do that, because it is bad for you.
I am an ex-smoker myself, who was a considerate one. I never smoked in public and always asked if it was OK with others before smoking.

My mom tried to quit, but could not kick the habit, so she switched to chewing Nicorette gum.

We have these signs in all of the schools about pillars of character, citizenship being one of them. I think every good citizen should agree to not smoke in public upon realizing they are harming others with their habit, which has already been established.

I keep hearing “It is my choice, my right to smoke,” but what about the rights of others to have healthy children?

In school we reward good character, but in the real world those modeling good character and their children and grandchildren suffer in the smoke.

Where is the reward for them? I think we have been sending a bad, inconsistent message to the kids when we have allowed smoking in the public domain.
Secondhand smoke is a serious health issue. Unfortunately, not everyone in our society demonstrates the kind of character that protects the health of others.

That’s why we need health regulations.

Christy Masterson