S. Swan: Eagles would thrive without smoking

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For some inexplicable reason, the leaders of the Rumford chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles believe that if they prohibited the smoking of tobacco products in their club, the club would have to shut its doors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

State law mandates that private clubs which allow smoking must hold a vote at least every three years to continue the practice. The Rumford Eagles voted on Oct. 8, and less than 15 percent of the members voted.

I have spoken to many individuals who have told me that they no longer attend functions at the club simply because of all of the tobacco smoke. Others have told me that they no longer attend because they have asthma or some other breathing difficulty, like emphysema or COPD.

There are some members of the club who like to be able to drink alcohol during the day and not have to go outside to smoke. The leaders of the club think that if they ban smoking, the club will lose those members. However, there are many more members who no longer go to the club because of the smoke and more still who refuse to join because of it.

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If the club banned smoking, the participation by active members and prospective members would increase significantly.

It is difficult to imagine in this day and age that any private club, especially one as influential as the Eagles, would subject its members, guests, employees and entertainers to that filthy, life-threatening addiction.

Steve Swan, Dixfield

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