Smoking kills people. Everyone
knows that. What everyone doesnít know are the gruesome details of the
progressively debilitating effects of smoke induced emphysema, lung
cancer and heart disease on the human body. They are not pretty and they
So are the personal, social and
economic consequences of smoking-induced illness and death in the home,
the workplace and the health care system of the smoker.
But at least the smoker has a
choice whether to light up and inhale smoke with its addictive nicotine
and 4,000 different compounds, some 60 of them known or suspected to
Itís the non-smoker in the
vicinity of smokers who has no choice in the matter. Smoker and
non-smoker both breathe in the poisonous fumes of an addictive vice that
each year kills some 400,000 Americans who have chosen to smoke. At
least 3,000 non-smoking Americans die of lung cancer as a result of
second hand smoke each year. An undetermined number of others die of
heart disease caused by other peopleís smoke.
The foul smell, health costs,
economic losses and human misery caused by second hand smoke are
Thatís why we applaud the Idaho
Senate for passing Senate Bill 1283 last week, in favor of a statewide
ban on smoking in most public places.
Thatís why we salute Sen. Brent
Hill, R-Rexburg, who championed this bill, argued long and forcefully
for it on the Senate floor, and saw it pass by a margin of 22-13. Hill
knows something about the ghastly details of lung cancer. His
28-year-old son Ritchie has the disease and Hill believes it was caused
by second hand smoke.
Thatís why we recognize the
practical and common sense of Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, who said in
arguing for passage of the bill while pointing out smokingís part in the
rising costs of health insurance, "We eat too much, we drink too much
and we smoke too much. You want to curb heart disease, you need to vote
for this bill. You want to curb cancer, you need to vote for this bill."
Thatís why we praise and encourage
the 22 Senators (including Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett,
D-Ketchum) who voted for SB 1283, and shake our heads (and fingers) at
the 13 who voted against it.
Second hand smoke is obnoxious to
those who do not wish to breathe it because, among other reasons, their
very nervous systems are telling them it can kill them.
Thatís why when Senate Bill 1283
goes to the House we support its passage into law.