Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 20, 2013

Smoking ban will prove counterproductive

It has long been established that smoking is unhealthy. That being said, the current mandate by the Mineral County Board of Health banning smoking in all bars will have a number of unforeseen consequences.

In the first place, this legislation is being imposed upon Mineral County residents by a group of appointed, rather than elected officials.

The situation would have been more palatable to the public if all three county commissioners had been able to offer input, rather than one of them who is also on the Board of Health.

For private clubs such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, this is tantamount to a slap in the face because the voters had no say in appointing the individuals who made this decision. The right to vote has always been and will always be of paramount importance to those brave men and women in uniform, and they use it, regardless of age.

Secondly, the aforementioned private clubs offer a unique venue to the area. Patrons are currently permitted to smoke while gaming on state-sanctioned video lottery machines, unlike casinos in nearby Maryland.

This brings in revenue to not only the state, but also the small towns where these clubs are located. This smoking mandate would place these clubs at a disadvantage, since people who come over from Maryland can just go to the new casino because the added convenience of being able to smoke while gaming will be gone.

This will ultimately be a detriment to the community. In Ridgeley, for instance, the VFW and Legion donate substantial sums of money to a number of different organizations and causes, many of which benefit children and members of the Armed Services.

By implementing this blanket ban on smoking indoors without an exemption to such private clubs, it is inevitable that money will not be available for such noble causes. Despite the insult to aesthetic sensibilities, smoking and gaming are correlated. Nearby counties that enacted similar smoking bans have seen this drop in money generated from garners.

Finally, the mandate was created to prevent children from being exposed to smoking. This is inherently flawed, because the above private clubs do not allow individuals under the age of 21 from entering.

Further, children will be more likely to see people smoking if they are standing en masse outside a building. When the school buses drop students off in the afternoon, a throng of adults smoking outside a bar or private club will be far more visible than individuals smoking inside those buildings.

This myopic attempt to curtail a personal choice is ultimately misguided. Children are impressionable, and they are prone to emulate adult behavior. Seeing adults smoking outside is not likely to help prevent children from starting this habit, which can ultimately develop into a debilitating addiction.

In conclusion, this attempt at legislation offends voters' sensibilities. It has the potential to affect a number of worthy causes such as providing transportation for Veterans to Martinsburg or providing Christmas presents to needy children.

Also, it will inadvertently expose more children to smokers than it would if an exemption for private clubs is provided. That being said, I hope the only individual who was elected as a county commissioner realizes this offensive form of legislating from the bench when it comes time for him to try to be re-elected.

Rodney D. Rowe

Carpendale, W.Va.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014