A smoke-free workplace is simply a matter of health

Monday, February 11, 2008 | 9:57 a.m. CST; updated 1:53 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — I am writing in support of the smoke-free workplace ordinance. As a resident of Columbia, I am proud that we joined the many other cities, communities and states that made the decision to protect all employees rather than just some.

It is important to remember that while the economy seems to be slumping and businesses are often blaming the ordinance for their business woes, the health of employees and the reason this ordinance is in place has nothing to do with economics.

Let us not forget that employee health and safety is regulated in many ways. Business owners do not have the right to choose exposing their employees to many toxins. Restaurants also have multiple rules governing employee and patron safety. That is why there are inspections that are posted in the paper. Should a restaurant owner be allowed to choose whether they try and control the pests in their business? Should government not try to ensure that this health regulation is followed? Since workers and patrons have a choice, should restaurant owners be able to choose rodents as long as they post signage warning as such? The public has been forced to accept second-hand smoke for far too long and the science is there to support the dangers associated with it. Protecting workers’ health is not a new or novel idea and the smoking ordinance protects employees.

It is time for all of us to be responsible with our choices and not affect the health of others — take it outside!

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