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Letters: Tell Florida House members your thoughts on tobacco bill

Tell your opinion of tobacco bill

Have you had the occasion to ask your legislator to vote for a bill that you feel is important to you, your friends and family? Have they expressed their opinion in agreement with you, or have they said no, perhaps thinking their opinion is more important than yours?

Recently volunteers with the American Cancer Society went to Tallahassee and made calls on the entire Legislature; I and other voters of Hernando County called on our delegation concerning cancer issues, specifically the Tobacco User Fee/Tax bill that has been filed.

The facts supplied during these calls support the reality that tobacco use is a public health issue; it causes those addicted to it health issues resulting in tremendous suffering and even eventually death, as well as costing our state millions in tax dollars. Young children are drawn to it like a magnet because of the flavored cigarettes that are marketed just to attract them, and ads that make smokers seem so mature and attractive and popular. They most likely have never seen an ad showing a cancerous lung.

The passage of this bill can result in saving lives when the cost of a tobacco product causes some to quit, will provide millions to help offset the cost of treatment of the users, and by putting the cost out of reach, will deter thousands of young children from ever taking that first puff.

So our delegation was asked to vote to increase Florida's pitiful 34-cent tobacco tax by $1. They heard the facts and the cry "Pass the Buck" from hundreds of American Cancer Society volunteers. They heard that the tobacco companies spend more of their marketing dollars in Florida than any other state and thereby sell more here than any other state!

Our senators listened and as you read and heard in the news, the bill is supported by the majority of the senators, and Sen. Mike Fasano stepped up to the front when we asked to help lead the charge. It passed through the first committee hearing by a unanimous vote and it is well on its way to the floor for a vote to pass it.

However, much more work is still needed to gain support in the House.

When many members of the House of Representatives were asked if they had heard from their constituents on how they wanted their member to vote on this bill, few answers were given.

If you have an opinion on this bill, please contact your representative and let them know how you want them to vote and represent you. Also, thank your senators and let them know that you appreciate their concern and actions for the public health of their constituents.

Ann Mau, Brooksville

Can you spare a dime online? April 2, article

Couple should count blessings

This is in response to the Erb family regarding cyberbegging. I am putting aside all my frustrations to simply say I am disappointed.

I feel very badly for the Erbs and their situation. They are at a point in their lives where one hopes to be enjoying it and relaxing but unfortunately they have fallen on hard times. Small-business ownership is not easy. But I am appalled at asking strangers online for $100,000 donations.

Due to a wrong judgment call, that was no fault but our own, my husband and I did not have proper health insurance. We recently found a tumor on my 3-year-old daughter's chest and had to have it removed. The procedure was not covered under our specific plan, but we knew we had to find a way. It was stressful, scary and overwhelming. But, thank the good Lord, it was benign and we are grateful for the excellent care we received at the hospital, at the pediatrician's office and at Rose Radiology.

Economically, it was rough, but overall her health was all that mattered and we found a way to make it happen. My point is, never did we go online and hassle people who are most likely struggling with their own economic woes.

I'm disappointed that cyberbegging is becoming the answer to many people's trouble. The only time I agree with it is when it's for the poor girl whose apartment burned to the ground, for sick children who need care or for fallen heroes who have left behind families. Situations like that need our attention!

I do pray for the Erbs that they can rise above this and will see light soon. But mostly I pray they remember that things could be worse and although times are hard for most of us, we need to count our blessings, not our worries.

Marie Dahmer, Brooksville

No sympathy for cyberbeggars

Are you kidding me? I wish I could make $1,900 a month and receive food stamps. Who do the Erbs know to receive food stamps?

We all have a sob story. I came to Hernando County 20 years ago along with high hopes. I have since lost a business, lost a house and lost a high-paying job at Capital One because of outsourcing.

Would I beg online or anywhere else ? Never! They are living with their son and daughter-in-law, do they not have an income? They are living rent-free and can't survive on $1,900-plus?

You must excuse me now, I have to get ready to go to work at one of my two jobs so that I am able to survive. I also pay taxes on my income so that people like the Erbs can receive their food stamps.

By the way, cable is a luxury. It should have been one of the first things to go.

Carol Vigneault, Brooksville

Libraries should not be privatized

As a longtime library volunteer and a taxpayer, I am totally against our library system being run by a private concern. Many services will no longer be free, the use of the computer being one of them. Many of our out-of-work citizens use them to job-search as they are forced to give up their own Internet service.

Our library team is the greatest and provides the public with the best service possible.

If this private system is put into practice, my days as a volunteer are over.

Barbara Cleversey, Brooksville

Crafters, let's get together on ads

Many people are involved in arts and crafts but find it difficult to dispose of their products. I'd like to form a nonprofit association that can coordinate their efforts to help advertise their products.

Anyone interested can contact me at (352) 796-2089 for more information.

Louis F. Mlecka, Brooksville

Letters: Tell Florida House members your thoughts on tobacco bill 04/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 5, 2009 8:00pm]
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