Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - August 19, 2008

City and county should go smoke-free

In the next several weeks, the Rock Hill City Council and the York County Council will be considering "smoke-free" initiatives for restaurants and other public spaces. As a past practicing pediatrician in Rock Hill, I believe this could not come sooner.

Every year, thousands of "innocent bystanders" die of secondhand exposure to smoke from cancer but most commonly from heart disease. The current Congress is considering legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products as a drug. This, too, could not come sooner. Children's developing bodies especially are sensitive to airborne toxins. The continuing assault on their health is unconscionable.

The "Campaign for a Tobacco-Free Kids" (tobaccofreekids.org) states that 1,000 new children become smokers every day. That is the number of primary new smokers and does not include the number of "involuntary" secondhand smokers, which are in the millions. Many citizens are recognizing the gravity of this issue and are notifying their elected officials that they want to see Rock Hill and York County take the next step to become smoke-free.

Please make the next move and ask your council members to keep moving these measures forward.

Dick McCoy

Rock Hill