A smoke-free OP would mean better health, business

Opinion

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Although I have never written a letter to the editor before, I felt compelled to write in support of a complete ban on smoking in all public and work places. This health measure would protect everyone from the horrible effects of secondhand smoke and give everyone equal access to all establishments and public spaces. The truth is everyone?#34;including smokers?#34;can go anywhere non-smokers go while smokers effectively enjoy exclusive access to smoking environments. This is absolutely unfair!

For the most part, I agree that my neighbors who smoke and our small business owners should be allowed to make their own choices. But this is clearly a health matter. Even occasional exposure to carcinogens isn't healthy. In the same vein, I certainly don't mind the rules that require employees to wash their hands, even if I'm unlikely to drop dead if one employee forgets!

I would also like to point out to the business folks in Oak Park that allowing smoking is bad business. Why would you cater to a minority and allow the majority of customers and employees to suffer? Aside from the fact that secondhand smoke is deadly, it also stinks. Nothing makes me sicker than coming home smelling like an ashtray! I live in Oak Park and have many friends who live in the area. We all think it would be wonderful to go out in a smoke-free environment! If Oak Park went smoke-free, it would be much easier to convince my friends to come here instead of always going downtown or to Forest Park for an evening out.

The fact that the sky hasn't yet fallen in any of the cities, states and countries that have gone smoke-free should be reassuring to all those concerned about business. In fact, I certainly go out more and spend more money when I visit parts of the U.S. and Canada that are smoke-free. Between the health and economic benefits of clean indoor air, the decision of the Village Board of Trustees should be easy. But just in case, I'm calling the trustees and everyone else should too!

Arpita Gupta
Oak Park

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