I ran across this article this morning that really caught my attention. The New York City Health Department has a plan. They want to pass a law that would require about 12,000 retail stores that sell cigarettes to post large anti-smoking signs at eye level in their store with images of the harmful effects that smoking has on someone, which would become the first such regulation in the United States.

Sarah B. Perl, the assistant commissioner for tobacco control seems to think that displaying the gruesome health effects like amputations or throat cancer will help make a smoker decide to quit smoking I guess.

Now the city’s Board of Health are asking for opinions from the public about their plan before it goes to vote in September at the earliest. The department claims if it is passed it’s poised to fend off lawsuits.

OK now as an ex smoker I can honestly say that every time I lit up a cigarette I was fully aware of what it was doing to my body. I mean how can any smoker not know these days what smoking can do to them? There are warning signs every where. I don’t care how many warning signs I saw or heard about I still lit that cigarette every morning.

I did quit smoking but it was for other reasons besides the warning signs every where. My reason was because of a surgery gone bad on my lung but if it hadn’t been for that I would have never quit. I remember when people said if the price of a carton of cigarettes went over $10 they would have to quit. Look at the prices now and people are still smoking. The government keeps raising the taxes on them and the tobacco company isn’t seeing any of that money to go along with inflation prices to keep their companies going. The way I see it, the politicians are the only ones to benefit from the tax hikes. If the tobacco companies raised the prices to fit their budgets along with the tax hike on tobacco no one would surely be able to afford to continue smoking.

OK so now they want to require all places of businesses that sell tobacco product to display there signs. If they are going to do that then I say they should require signs displayed for other products that can be harmful to one’s health. Let’s say such as cleaning fluids. For example a store that sells things such as bleach or maybe products such as Draino to unplug the drains. OK common sense tells us to swallow these things would be very harmful to us, and yes there are warnings on the bottles about them being harmful, but it seems to me that the Government apparently think we aren’t smart enough to know when we purchase items that are harmful to us that we wouldn’t know not to swallow it, if we do we are risking our lives. But shouldn’t that be our choice?

I doubt very seriously if anyone would do such a silly thing and of course we have to keep these products out of the reach of children since they aren’t able to read the warnings, but they can’t understand warning signs either. The laws have already changed where you have to be at least 18 to buy a pack of cigarettes now. (the age limit might be different in different states, I am not sure about that part) so they can’t tell me the big anti-smoking signs would be for the underage kids that do not realize what smoking can do to them. So why go through the expense of printing up all these signs when the smokers are already aware of what smoking can do to them. I mean geeezzz give me a break will you?

How many times has someone told a smoker about how bad smoking is for their health only to be told either “so what” or “yeah I know but what the hell, it is too late for me now anyway?” I am not saying I am for smoking, because I for one know how much better I can breathe now that I have quit but I am saying it should be up to the individual as to whether or not they want to quit or keep smoking.

I know people say the second hand smoke does more harm to one’s lungs but I have a hard time buying that one. I won’t say it is or it isn’t but I am saying it is hard to accept that. OK so the government has taken control over where someone can smoke. What makes it right for a non smoker to be allowed inside a restaurant or a bar without smokers? Where are the rights of the smokers? Are they telling us that smokers have no rights? OK I could buy that one if smoking was illegal, but it isn’t  (not yet anyway) so a smoker should have their rights to smoke.

I don’t like being around the smoke any more, but I don’t always think of the smoke being harmful to me as the odor of it. My solution to that is if I am out in the public around someone smoking, it is more up to me to go somewhere that there are no smokers if it bothers me. If that smoker was there first why should they have to stop smoking just because I came in the door? If I was there first that would be different. It is a matter of courtesy as far as I see it.

All this is in my opinion only but I still think a smoker should have their rights just as much as a non smoker does. I am now a non smoker but I still pay the same amount of taxes as a smoker does on everything else so why should that smoker be forced to pay higher taxes on something just because I don’t like it or because that product could eventually kill them. I think the government uses the tobacco companies to put more money in their pockets. I bet when the taxes on tobacco go up so does the politicians paychecks. It just isn’t fair and I think people should start fighting it!

But of course once again this is my opinion only and I am sure I will get a lot of hate mail over this article!

Jan Barrett

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