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Bill to Delay Implementation of Smoking Law

June 23, 1996

* In response to your June 19 editorial in favor of the total ban of smoking in bars and gaming clubs: The bars and gaming clubs that you are trying to protect with your health-conscious assumptions thrive as havens for smokers. AB 13 is a draconian measure at best, but to allow it to further inhibit the natural tendencies of the populace that chooses to patronize establishments and to inhibit the establishments from seeking like-minded clientele is downright fascist.

The fact that there are hundreds of cigar-friendly establishments that can be found throughout the country and a great many of them right here in California shows that your well-intentioned stand has no validity.

MICHAEL ABRAMS

Los Angeles

* I was immensely offended by "A Plan to Keep Kids From Smoking," by James J. Morgan, president and CEO of Philip Morris (Commentary, June 13). His bleeding heart for his "proposed federal legislation to address the issue of underage tobacco use" is not the issue at all. He also makes the argument that "reasonable people agree that adults should be able to make a personal choice about whether to smoke." Isn't he aware that the word "addiction" has been prominent in recent discussions to refute this argument?

His next absurd statement is, "We do not believe that advertising causes anyone, including minors, to start smoking." This remark could put the advertising industry out of business.

I recently lost my wife to lung cancer and other complications of this death-dealing habit of smoking. Everyone shares in the huge medical costs caused by smoking. More than half of the financial problems of Medicare could be solved with the elimination of smoking and life probably prolonged another 20 years.

I believe that anyone and everyone connected with tobacco, be they farmer, factory worker, retailer, stockholder and especially executive officers, should be held accountable in directly causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of defenseless, addicted victims.

LEON FIELD

Beverly Hills

* Re "County to Sue Tobacco Firms Over Health Costs," June 12:

I am curious as to why state and local governments are so hot to sue only the tobacco companies for treating smoking-related illnesses. Where are the lawsuits against the companies that produce alcoholic beverages? The expenses to treat alcohol-related diseases certainly are equal to or greater than tobacco-related illnesses. Where is the outcry against alcohol? Why is government so vocal against tobacco when alcohol affects the health and lives of more people than that evil brown leaf?

When was the last time a person was arrested for driving under the influence of nicotine? How many times do police officers respond to fight calls, domestic disputes or child abuse investigations because someone smoked "one too many"?

MICHAEL J. ASPLAND

Ventura

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