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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó February 20, 2004


Clearing away
the smoke

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 are devastating.

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 cause cancer.

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 incalculable.

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.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.