Question 5 is only choice for tougher laws on smoking | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Question 5 is only choice for tougher laws on smoking

Diana Woodbury

Current laws on smoking in public places don’t protect the 77 percent of Nevadans who don’t smoke, or the state’s tourists, the majority of whom are also non-smokers. Nevadans want change, for their health, safety, and their economies.

Two initiatives on the November ballot in Nevada deal with secondhand smoke. Both propose to change state law. However, only Question 5 (good) – the “Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act” – will protect Nevadans, especially children, the elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

Question 5 (good) is backed by Nevadans for Tobacco-Free Kids Ð a coalition of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Nevada State Medical Association and Nevada Academy of Family Physicians. It will prohibit smoking in most indoor places, primarily those where children are allowed. Question 5 also allows local authorities, elected and appointed, to adopt regulations tougher than state law.

Question 4 (bad) called “Responsibly Protect Nevadans from Secondhand Smoke” is purposely deceptive and misleading, full of loopholes that will even weaken current law. Question 5 (good) is backed by respected and trusted leaders in public health. Question 4 (bad) is backed by organizations that have no credibility on public health issues, including gaming, slot route operators, bar and tavern owners, gas station and convenience store owners. In fact, members of Question 4 are tobacco retailers and tobacco lobbyists. That they are attempting to determine policy on smoking in public places is criminal and a recipe for disaster.

Question 5 (good) will prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of all restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, in all school buildings and on all school property, in all child care facilities, and in shopping malls and all retail outlets.

Question 4 (bad) will allow smoking in school buildings, child care facilities, and shopping malls. In restaurants, smoking and non-smoking sections become adult only and “family” sections. Nothing requires “adult only” sections to be enclosed to protect non-smokers in the “family” sections. Question 4 will also repeal current law requiring restaurants that seat 50 or more people to offer non-smoking sections.

What Question 4 (bad) proposes regarding grocery and convenience stores, hospitals and medical facilities is already in state law. The language used in this proposal misleads voters into thinking Question 4 will deliver more than it can.

Finally, only school districts can adopt regulations tougher than state law. Question 4 (bad) will repeal that, placing power solely with the Nevada State Legislature. History has shown this is a dead-end for advocates of tougher smoking laws, as the Legislature has repeatedly failed to act on proposals brought to them.

Question 4 (bad) is a smokescreen. Question 4 does not protect children. Question 4 is dismissive of worldwide medical research findings on the dangers of secondhand smoke. Question 4 is a deliberate attempt to confuse voters. Only big tobacco will benefit if Question 4 is successful, not the citizens of Nevada nor its tourists.

Vote No on Question 4 and Yes on Question 5.

– Diana Woodbury of South Lake Tahoe is an entertainer/violinist/dancer who suffers from chronic bronchitis and asthma when subjected to any amount of secondhand smoke – even outdoors. For her, this is a civil rights issue, and she is tired of “riding on the back of the bus.” She has the lungs of a smoker from working in smoke-filled clubs all her life, despite never having smoked a cigarette. She notes that breathing is not a choice.


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