Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - April 5, 2008

Secondhand smoke poses real hazard

The April 1 Herald's featured a large photograph of a smoker with the caption, "Court OKs local bans: Could some residents' rights go up in smoke?" The caption frames the topic of secondhand smoke laws as government infringement on the rights of citizens, and in doing so, assumes an editorial position better suited to the opinion page. The photo accompanies a well written article by Matt Garfield on the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Greenville's smoking ordinance.

The Constitution grants many rights, but nowhere does it grant the "right" to place others at risk. The great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. summed this up as: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." As an adult, I can own a gun, but I can't legally shoot it within city limits. I have the right to drink alcohol and the right to drive a car, but I can't do both at the same time. Secondhand smoke laws do not abolish the right of adults to smoke; they just regulate where this can be done, in the interest of protecting innocent bystanders.

Per the Surgeon General, "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard," killing 53,000 nonsmokers each year. To put this in perspective, secondhand smoke kills more Americans than either guns or traffic accidents.

Laws now protect citizens in enlightened countries around the world and in thousands of cities and towns across the U.S. Where these laws have been implemented, studies have shown over and over that death rates have dropped. Approximately 20 percent of Americans smoke, and of these, about half don't smoke indoors around other people. Can anyone reasonably argue that saving tens of thousands of lives each year is not worth inconveniencing the remaining 10 percent by asking them to take their cigarettes outdoors?

Alan Nichols, MD


Tobacco-Free York County Coalition

Rock Hill

Some things must be taken on faith

Several letters have been written pertaining to creation vs. evolution. I would rather die having a soul alive in faith for a God I've never seen, touched or heard, than to have my soul die in the emptiness of hopelessness.

There are theories surrounding the creation process that we people of faith cannot explain. Then there are some we can. Through the faith of inspired word, we know that the Earth was traumatized twice -- once by the casting out of Satan and his host, the second during the flood of Noah's day. Yet, there is no history made known to us of the passage of time between Satan's fall and Adam.

Also, we believe that God made Adam and Eve from the earth and placed them in the garden called Eden, and they bore two sons, Cain and Abel. Our faith says Cain slew Abel and left to dwell in the land of Nod, got married and bore children. But if Adam and Eve were the first two, then where did the people of Nod come from? We of faith have no idea. We live by faith, not by sight.

The God of our faith felt no need to make it known. But he does make one thing perfectly clear: Whether you believe or not, we will all die. The conclusion of the matter is very simple. Soon and very soon we all are going to see the King.

Baxter Tisdale

Rock Hill