A bill to ban smoking in public, with bars and pool halls included, is now being considered by the Maine Legislature.

The war on smoking is not about health. It is about conditioning the masses to change in the name of some higher ideal. In this case, the health of non-smokers.

The science on the passive smoking issue (in its raw state before being “spun” by special interest groups and fed to the media) clearly states that no danger is present that would have stood up to established standards set up by the National Cancer Institute and National Research Council in the past.

Smoking bans are zero tolerance for carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Two major points have been forgotten here.

The first is that people have immune systems to protect them from minimal dangers and that the dose makes the poison. Water, coffee and almost any food you can think of contains carcinogens in small amounts. We all have no choice but to consume some of these products daily.

Public policy is becoming punishment. Punishment telling smokers they made the wrong choices in life and must be shown the error of their ways. Adult smokers are not tall children who need government oversight or supervision.

It is time for smokers and other concerned citizens to ask for proof of the harms of passive smoking.

Without proof, smoking bans go from a needed public health action to an exercise of discrimination against a minority.

Dave Pickrell, president

Smokers Fighting Discrimination,

Katy, Texas

Editor’s note: According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known cause of cancer in humans. The EPA estimates that secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths in nonsmokers each year.

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