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Letter to the editor: Second-hand smoke is still a problem

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Some people claim that smoke-free laws are government’s infringement on private-property rights. Business owners may privately own their business, but by inviting the public in, they are required by the government to ensure safe food and clean water. Similarly, government has the responsibility to regulate the indoor air we breathe, free of secondhand smoke pollution.
If you decide to have dinner at your favorite restaurant or have a drink with friends you have the right to breathe clean air for those few hours. As a consumer you can choose the venue, but workers don’t have that same luxury. Workers, who spend many hours at their place of employment, deserve a safe workplace that ensures access to clean air.
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that government is obligated to protect the public. Just as drunken driving laws protect the public from persons operating a car under the influence, smoke-free laws protect the public from harmful secondhand smoke in enclosed places open to the public and in work places. Drunken driving and smoke-free laws recognize the use of two legal products, but not in ways that harm other people.
When people smoke in workplaces and public, secondhand smoke harms everyone around them, both patrons and workers.

Three Rivers District Health Department
Owenton