Letter to the editor: Save lives, veto…

103 points

The public health of West Virginians is at risk. According to the American Lung Association’s 2021 State of Tobacco Control report, West Virginia received a D grade for smoke-free air laws and an F rating for tobacco control efforts. With an ongoing lung health pandemic, now is not the time to remove local health department authority from implementing comprehensive smoke-free indoor air policies, as they have the knowledge and training to assess local health concerns and protect community health.

As a middle school student and West Virginia resident, I am concerned that our current laws expose us to the dangers of secondhand smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, and even brief exposure can cause immediate harm.” Local health departments can help protect us from toxic indoor air including e-cigarette aerosols, which are a mixture of dangerous chemicals that harm lungs.

High school senior and fellow student Sunjit Neginhal shares his concerns about e-cigarette use and the number of students vaping together outside of school: “It seems as if the majority of students who vape, do so because they aren’t aware of the negative effects and because they see their friends vaping too. Not only does it impact their own health, but also the health of others with secondhand exposure. State legislators need to protect our youth and the health of all West Virginians from the dangers of tobacco products, secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosols.”

Local boards of health need to have the ability to continue implementing smoke-free indoor air laws in counties across the state and strengthen existing laws by including new and emerging tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, into policies.

Only 31 out of our 55 counties do not allow smoking in 100% of enclosed workplaces and public places. These smoke-free air laws protect about 65% of the population from secondhand smoke, making it clear that there is much work to be done to protect public health. Senate Bill 12 will take away the ability for local health boards to make life-saving changes through these smoke-free air policies.

We cannot stand by while the health of so many wonderful West Virginians is at stake. We ask our legislators to veto Senate Bill 12 to protect our health and save lives.

J.R. Ash


Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids National Youth Ambassador

This letter was submitted on Ash’s behalf by

the American Lung


Liberals killing free thought in Seuss feud

I am reading the current news about the feud over Dr. Seuss’ children’s poems, and it feels like we are seeing one of his children’s fantasies being played out in real life. If I understand right, the foundation which is supposed to be promoting his works has decided that they are not politically correct and should be removed from any possible human consumption, especially children.

Does anyone remember the Salem witch trials, with pompous self-appointed judges condemning those who they did not understand or agree with? Or the revisionist government of Orwell’s “1984,” which controlled everything that was published and obliterated any real history? That is what we are seeing with the cancel culture of the new “woke” liberals, that any voice of the people must be controlled and directed only as the liberals desire.

But to the actual subject: If anyone has read a couple of the books that would be censored, you would fall on the floor laughing at the suggestion that they are racist. “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” is pure child’s fantasy, where a passing wagon is transformed bit by bit into a complete circus parade. “McElligot’s Pool” is similar: a child fishing in a farmer’s puddle and dreaming that he might catch fantastic fish, all the way up to whales. I suppose it is a terrible thing to imagine catching a helpless living creature; children can be so cruel!

So the snowflakes must stamp out any free thought or flights of imagination: “Once in every week, Brain-O in every brain, keeps brains clean, free- thinking and correct.”

But, just as a serious counter to all this rush to obliterate Seuss’ body of work, maybe the social censors should consider another of his fantasies — the Sneetches. In that poem, we are given a real lesson in the foolishness of “us vs. them” thinking, with the bottom line being that we are all the same when you forget about surface appearances. But that might be a bridge too far for the cancel culture to comprehend.

George McKinney

Hurricane, W.Va.

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