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Non-smokers need the continued protection of laws

Editor: In response to "Smokers have money to burn, too" (Sept. 26).

The Florida Legislature amended the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act to protect people from secondhand smoke in public places. Mr. Mauro and other smokers, respectfully, breathing secondhand smoke has many of the same health risks as direct smoking. Everyone, especially children, in the same room or area with a smoker breathes the same harmful chemicals as the smoker, including benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. The smoke emitted from the end of a burning cigarette (sidestream smoke) contains a higher concentration of these chemicals than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Mr. Mauro, I feel discriminated against because I do not choose to harm myself by smoking, yet I breathe known cancer-causing chemicals because you need to smoke in public places.

Smoking also is painfully addictive. Otherwise, why would smokers such as Mr. Mauro become upset when they are unable to smoke whenever they need a nicotine fix. In 1988, the surgeon general reported that nicotine is just as addictive as heroin and cocaine; a "hit" of nicotine reaches the brain in seven seconds, twice as fast as a syringe of heroin injected into a vein. Cigarette addicts have a continuous need to smoke, although the consequences of smoking can be lethal to the smoker and non-smokers around them. Should the smoker put his or her selfish, deadly addiction before the well-being of others and continue to fight for the right to smoke? If a person wishes to smoke in this decade and accept responsibility for their actions (illnesses caused directly by cigarette smoke, lost wages and cost of medical care), they should do so without causing harm to others.

According to the National Centers for Disease Control, nearly 450,000 Americans died of smoking and smoking-related illnesses in 1988. Cigarette smoke is the major cause of emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease and chronic bronchitis. Mr. Mauro wrote "The non-smokers have chased us from . . . public buildings, and now the mall." Non-smokers need the continued protection of laws, such as the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, because smokers harm us.

People who are intelligent enough not to smoke should not be subjected to pernicious secondhand smoke in public places, because ignorant smokers are either not courteous or unable to refrain. According to the American Heart Association, secondhand smoke kills 53,000 non-smokers a year by causing cancer, heart disease and related ailments. This makes secondhand smoke the nation's third-leading cause of preventable death. How many more people must suffer before this country "just says no" to our most deadly drug problem: cigarettes?

Jenine R. Shapiro, New Port Richey

Grid coaches should share the blame

Editor: Re: "Schools' football rivalry brews violence."

Things that make you go, hmmm? I just wonder how this "bad blood" got started? It couldn't possibly be the result of a certain coach rubbing River Ridge's face in the ground during the last minutes of their 40-22 victory three weeks ago, could it? This "Rocky" type fellow thinks his initials stand for something other than his name. Always has, and always will.

Instead of both football coaches speaking to their squads, as Mr. Krinn stated, I believe the principals should speak to their coaches. This should be a friendly rivalry. Don't let the coach(es) make it anything other than that.

Marcia Weller, Hudson

Let's put those airboats in their place

Editor: There have been numerous choices or decisions that we all have had to make throughout our lifetime, so after reading this article you can choose to lay it aside and forget about it, or decide to rid this area of a plague that will scar our environment for a lifetime.

I am referring to the business of airboats and their occupants who have taken it upon themselves to go skimming along on the shallow tides cutting through estuaries, bending the grasses and disturbing underwater life. The most obvious disturbances these boats are causing is the display of waterbirds flying off as these boats approach their nesting areas and habitat.

Why let this continue to happen? The area that we are referring to is the Whetstone Tract that was purchased by the state this past May for the purpose of a preserve. Why not consider a bird sanctuary that would preserve this tract for our waterbirds and wildlife and keep out all motor driven vehicles, thus enabling the privacy and sanctity God's creatures deserve? Call your county commissioner, your local association or state officials before it's too late.

Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Carpentier, Hudson

Judge's day could be better spent

Editor: I have never written a letter to an editor before, but after spending an afternoon in the Pasco County Courthouse (on Little Road, New Port Richey), I decided the people of Pasco County might be interested to know what went on there.

On Friday, Sept. 25, 1992, I came to the courthouse with someone who was scheduled to see Judge Dan Rasmussen at 1:30 p.m. for a pretrial conference. When we arrived, there was a room full of people who were also waiting for 1:30 p.m. appointments with the judge. While everyone was waiting to see His Honor, he came out of his chambers, walked past everyone and went into another room to attend a "retirement party." This party continued for an extended period of time while we all sat and waited for the judge to resume his duties.

There were small children who were hungry and crying after such a long wait. You could see and smell the food from the party as courthouse employees walked back and forth to their offices with plates of food. Also there were many adults who missed hours of work while waiting to see the judge.

Somewhere around 3 p.m., Judge Rasmussen returned to his chambers and a little later began to take care of his 1:30 p.m. appointments. It was after 4 p.m. when my friend got in to see the judge. By this time, it was too late for anyone to get their bond money back as that is only available "from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday."

When someone asked why the party was being held during court hours, the response was, in effect, "It's Judge Rasmussen's bailiff that is retiring, and it's in everyone's best interest to keep the judge in a good mood."

I feel it was very inconsiderate and unprofessional for a judge to keep the public waiting while he attended a party.

Lois Eaton, New Port Richey

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