Smokers need to respect non-smokers’ rights
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 12:28 pm

To the Editor:

After reading several comments written in response to your “Poll” regarding the recently passed law banning smoking in the Village Park in Norwood, I respond that it is true, this is a free country and as Americans we have several rights that should not be violated. On the other hand, the Village Green was gifted to the Village of Norwood for everyone to use and enjoy. If there is something that takes away from the ability of everyone to use and enjoy this park, then that “something” needs to be eliminated.

In defense of Mayor Jim McFaddin and the decision of the Village Board to ban smoking, I wish to relate what was told at a meeting I attended as to what prompted and thus resulted in this decision. Apparently, young boys who were assisting at the recycling center on Saturday mornings were going to the playground area in the park, retrieving discarded cigarette butts, and smoking them. Why should young children who use this playground, given in memory of a former Norwood mayor, be subjected to discarded cigarette butts, thus giving young, impressionable kids the means to smoke?

I also was offended several times this summer while enjoying the various musical offerings at the Village Green Concert Series, to be subjected to someone behind me smoking. I smoked for many years, but made a conscious decision to quit because of obvious health ramifications. I, therefore, do not appreciate having to breathe in someone else’s second-hand smoke (which has been proven to be more deadly than actually smoking a cigarette).

True, this is a free country, and we all have our rights. I choose not to smoke, I choose not to inhabit places where there are people smoking, I choose not to allow anyone to smoke in my home. Why should I or anyone else, have to endure someone’s cigarette smoke while on the Village Green that was given by a founding father for all people to use and enjoy? The U.S. Surgeon General has made it very clear in the past several decades what a huge health hazard smoking is – there is an age limit on purchasing them, all public establishments, federal and state facilities, school district property, etc., ban the use of cigarettes for the protection of people’s health.

If someone wants to smoke, then they must adhere to the law and smoke where they are not infringing on other’s rights. It is obvious people know how bad smoking is. Smokers don’t even smoke in their own homes, but go outside. What does that tell you? Everyone has rights, and if one wants to do something just because they feel it is their right, they also have the obligation to consider how it affects those around them. This is called respect for others – something that is not recognized too much anymore – the Golden Rule: “Do unto others....”

Karen Morgan