LETTER: This is the year to make the Capitol smokefree

Saturday, January 8, 2011 | 4:38 p.m. CST

Thursday, I sent a letter to Speaker of the House Steven Tilley thanking him for his opening day speech and his call that we "lead by example." I asked him to use his position to help Missouri's Capitol building take an important step toward truly leading by example. This is the year to make our Capitol a 100 percent smoke-free workplace.

The dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke are well-documented, as are Missouri's appalling statistics in terms of high smoking rate for adults and youth, dollars spent on tobacco-related illness and failure to spend state funds on comprehensive tobacco use prevention efforts that have proven effective in other states. Implementing a smoke-free policy in the seat of state government is a small, but important, first step and one that could save someone's life.

It is also crucial if we want to stop the hypocrisy of telling Missouri's children not to smoke, and then inviting tens of thousands of them to tour the Capitol Building each year — a building that reeks of tobacco smoke. No other state building allows smoking, and elected officials should accept their responsibility to have a policy that sets a good example for Missouri's children and to follow the same rules that we ask other state workers to follow.

Jeanette Mott Oxford is the state representative for District 59. She lives in St. Louis.



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Linda Dunne January 9, 2011 | 7:21 a.m.

You know, my doctor advised me to quit smoking because I could die from it, but after doing some research I found out that...100% of all non-smokers die also! Wow, who woulda thunk?!

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 9, 2011 | 3:23 p.m.

What an appropriate last name you have. I bet you just can't wait!!!

(Report Comment)
Patrick Sweet January 9, 2011 | 4:12 p.m.

@Linda Dunne

I believe your doctor should have been more specific. Smoking cuts roughly 10 years off your life, according to a long-term British study.

(Report Comment)
Paul Austin January 9, 2011 | 4:38 p.m.

Yeah, and what your Doctor won't tell is its cheaper too:
Maybe this St. Louis 'obesity-crisis-waiting-to-happen' should lay off the twinkie diet before she spouts hypocrisy.
Is it any wonder we voted in term limits?

(Report Comment)
Linda Dunne January 13, 2011 | 6:09 a.m.

High 5 Paul did you think of that all by yourself?! You know, the people here in town can always count on you to have absolutely nothing intelligent to add to a conversation ;o). Keep it up, you make us all so proud!

My comment was made in a funny sarcastic joke way meaning, everyone is going to die at some point. Whether it's from smoking, drinking, ingesting over the counter speed drinks, driving in a car, walking down the street, or hell someone can choke on something and die. It boils down to people wanting to control other peoples lives so they feel good about themselves when they can't even keep their own life straight. That and hypocrisy. For every person that tells someone else what they can or can't do, those same people who are condemning, are the same ones that are also doing something that someone would think was wrong, unsafe, or immoral. It's all about control. I've been smoking since I was a kid, I'm now 35. My parents smoked in the house and in the car w/ windows rolled up. I've been in numerous smoking establishments over the years and I'm still kicking hard as ever. The whole second hand smoke thing is a farce. If it was real, then I should either be dead by now or have some illness/cancer attributed to smoking and I have neither. Again, my original comment was meant as a sarcastic joke. I forgot I was in the Show-Me-State, some people need a pretty picture and directions to understand the meaning behind what some people say.

(Report Comment)
Holly McGee January 14, 2011 | 3:43 a.m.

I look at it this way, leave the smokers alone. booze kills more people. why not ban that? besides the taxes I pay on a pack lowerds the amount of taxes everyone else has to pay in property taxes.

(Report Comment)
Dean Andersen January 26, 2011 | 9:50 a.m.

It's not about telling smoker's what they can and can't do! It's about not forcing non-smokers to have to breathe secondhand smoke every time they enter the capital!! There are people who still want to believe the world is flat inspite of all the evidence to the contrary. Secondhand smoke is a CLASS A carcinogen. The evidence is clear, secondhand smoke causes cardiovascular damage. NOBODY should have to breathe it against their will. When the capital goes smoke free, and it will eventually, legislators need simply step outside and smoke til their hearts content! Allowing legislators to smoke indoors where others have to breathe that crap is no more acceptable than allowing someone to drink and drive! Smoking indoors where others have to breathe it is a selfish, egocentric endeavor just like driving drunk. Both activities endanger the health and well-being of others.

(Report Comment)

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