Monday, January 14, 2013
On Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., I expect the Goose Creek City Council to give first reading to an ordinance stating that “smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed public places within the city” and in “all enclosed places of employment without exception.”
I hope that all concerned about local public health will show up and allow your voice be heard. It'll take courage for Council to stand up to special interests. In doing so, they can protect the countless workers who come home each evening with their hair, skin and clothing caked in smoke’s 4,000 chemicals, and their breathing passages begging for relief.
You'd think that the right to breathe smoke-free air while earning a living would be common sense, a basic human right. The irony is that Goose Creek spends millions on public health and safety ($1.2 million for recreation, $1.3 million for golf, and $3.5 million to prevent smoke inhalation deaths via fire), while turning a blind eye to the city's leading cause of preventable death, inhaling smoke generated by chemical addiction to smoking nicotine.
As Summerville has just proven, the cost of a clean indoor air ordinance is effectively zero, as it's self-enforcing.
I wasn't the only Goose Creek resident who drove to Summerville on Saturday Nov. 17, when the Wofford vs. South Carolina game was on pay per view only. I would have loved to have stayed and spent my money watching it on a big screen in a local pub but the price – smoke's 81 carcinogens and hundreds of toxins – was too great. And I know a bit about smoke's cost.
A 30-year nicotine addict, I've badly damaged this body. I also lost two non-smoking retired friends to lung cancer two years ago, Carroll and Conrad. Like fathers to me, both enjoyed the daily happy hour scene for years. But it shouldn't have cost them their lives.
Imagine the message a “yes” vote would send to our children and teens about smoking's dangers. According to the CDC, 70 percent of smokers want to quit. Imagine providing them safe work havens for recovery. Fewer Goose Creek fire deaths, strokes, heart attacks, cancers and COPD, how many more must needlessly die?
If you cannot make the meeting, please contact your elected leaders. Together, we can make a difference!
John R. Polito