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home : opinion : opinion February 26, 2015

4/8/2012 6:01:00 AM
Kingman Column: Smoke alarm

Rich Thurlow

Two significant things happened in my life in December 2010 - three if you count the gall bladder surgery and the realization with it that pain management to the patient and pain management to the medical community are two wildly different things.

No, the first significant was the birth of my grandson. The second was that, after about 35 years, I quit smoking. I'd remarked that I wasn't finding smoking to be very pleasurable and my bride, never one miss a hint, slapped one of those nicotine patches on my back about an hour later.

I haven't had a smoke since. I quit the patch in a week and a lot of days I don't even think about smoking. After trying to quit before and suffering mightily before giving in and lighting up, the lack of drama, anxiety and stress was a surprise. I guess it was my time to quit.

And I also guess it was time to gain 40 pounds, but that's another story.

Anyway, I'm not one of those fire-and-brimstone former smokers. I don't mind if other people smoke, and if it was back on the ballot, I'd vote for allowing businesses to decide if smoking was going to be acceptable on their property. I'm funny about freedom and property rights that way.

And non-smokers are free to spend their money elsewhere. That's why a whole lot of businesses didn't allow smoking before voters imposed a ban.

With that lengthy introduction out of the way, let me say I appreciate what KYCBUTT has done to pressure the City Council into banning smoking in parks, almost as much as I appreciate the Council not taking the easy way out and going along with the request.

Kingman Youth Coalition Beating Up Teen Tobacco did a great job presenting their case to the Council. However, the lesson in this civics experience is probably not from what they know, or think they know, about tobacco, but how real life has a tendency to step in and ruin everything.In this case, the real life collective wisdom and experiences members of the City Council kept the ban from being a slam dunk.

There is no reason to pick on all smokers. Some of them litter, some don't. The last time I was at the dog park (and it's been a while), the smokers were using an old coffee can for an ash tray. Back in my smoking days, I'd roll the tobacco out of the paper and pocket the butt until I found a trash can.

There's something else going on here, though. The EPA study detailing the dangers of second-hand smoke is a fraud. Walter Williams, the economist whose columns grace the pages of the Miner, has spelled out the bogus methodology used by EPA to get the result it wanted. And you can Google "epa second hand smoke study fraud" for a real lesson in government dishonesty.

There's no doubt smoking is bad for you. And there's also no doubt some people smoke for years and suffer no real consequences.

But that guy leaning against the tree enjoying a cigarette isn't hurting us. Why don't we just leave him alone?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@anonymous anonymous

"situation when one uses drug addicts, ....

And look, an admitted cocaine user has even risen to the position of POTUS. Judging from his failure at governing, he is likely still using.

And here I thought you liberals were all for forgiveness when one has quit drugs. Guess that only applies to people on your side, right?

Keep knocking Limbaugh, who I rarely listen to for more than 10 minutes (too many commercials) unlike Air America, Keith Olbermann, and other liberal efforts, he will be around for a long time to come and laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: Park User

Congrats on quitting it is not an easy feat. I think that people are getting way off track with this whole smoking in the parks proposal. If people were smart enough to not smoke around other people, including children then there woule not be an issue. It is our job as parents to protect our children from dangers and harms including second hand smoke.

I am not sure how any educated person can say that they don't believe that second hand smoke is harmful, even smokers know that smoking is bad for their health.

Hopefully this will bring about a solution or proposal that will work for everyone.

Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Oh poor ole Frank Lee Speaking aka Neo-Con R us, must truly upset you when someone denigrates Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh the right wing icon, messiah carrying that right wing morality banner! One quotes him on the right 24/7, he has a lessor known pal G. Gordon Liddy, infamous bungling leader of the Watergate Burglars, Nixon's goons, funny how a ex-felon is such a expert on morality & ethics as is a drug addict! Then there is Reagans man Oliver North the gun for drugs former Marine of Iran Contra fame, what is about the moral superiority party that they preach one thing but seem to be saying do as I say but not as I do, sad situation when one uses drug addicts, ex-felons & gun runners/drug traffickers as ones heros and icons! The pot does love calling the kettle black!

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Desert Angel

Anson I agree with you for the first time. I quit over 30 years ago. I did not litter all over the place and tried to tell others not to. I still see cigarette butts everywhere, especially outside of church. Filthy habit and I don't care if they ban it or not. People shouldn't smoke in the park where children are at play. Just makes sense not to.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

The rights of all need to be considered. I heard a pastor once say: "smoking is not a sin , but your might smell like hell on your way to heaven."

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Doing Research

As a former smoker myself, I can agree with many points you make, Rich. And btw- congrats on being smoke-free for so long. It's not easy some days!

I think much of the problem is that there are no middle ground- the ban is sudden and absolute. Why not designate a couple "smoking sections" near the picnic benches, etc.?

Making smoking inconvenient didn't make me want to quit- health problems and cigarette prices did. I do agree that a smoke-free world might be better, but at least give the people that smoke a chance to slow down and stop on their own.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Elizabeth Metz

[Deleted because comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@David Rogers

"Rush Limbaugh's OxyContin aka "hillbilly heroin" addiction."

Got to wonder why you focused on Rush. No matter. But you could have done better sticking close to home and focusing on the hundreds of local addicts who use it under the phony excuse of "pain management". And this being Mohave County, many of them are certainly fit the "hillbilly" description.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: David Rogers

Your causal attack on the EPA was a disservice to your readers once again. Please allow me to tell your readers that the EPA was proposed and instituted by a Republican President Richard Nixon. The EPA was established on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. Since its inception, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. Please everyone take a moment and follow this link to the EPA site and take a look at some of the past photos.
Secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoke, and passive smoke) is the smoke given off by a burning tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by a smoker.
At least 69 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmokers.
Secondhand smoke has also been associated with heart disease in adults and sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, and asthma attacks in children.
There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke National Cancer Institute:
On June 27th, 2006, the Surgeon General (Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D) released a major new report on involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke, concluding that secondhand smoke causes disease and death in children and nonsmoking adults. The report finds a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and declares that the home is becoming the predominant location for exposure of children and adults to secondhand smoke. Prior to being named Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona was the chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: az mac

Quitting is very easy if you want to. Impossible if you do not want to. Just like any other habit. How many keep their New Year's resolutions? Very very few. I have seen people get sick just from stopping them from biting their nails.
I would take it that any habit should be outlawed because they are all addicting.
We already have way more people in our prisons than any other country. We can make more laws and send more people to prison. The 14,000 new laws this year just are not enough. The 600 new regulations from the federal government alone are not enough lets make more. lets make every thing someone doesn't like illegal and lets put over a 2000% tax on it. Wait they are already doing those things.
The bans have helped destroy property rights. Our constitution and freedom are built around property rights. Without property rights you get laws like they can jail you for ever or kill you with no trial. They can take every thing you own without a trial. They can make you a slave to do what ever they want with out a trial. This is because there are no longer property rights. Warrants are no longer needed in many places in this country.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

I don't smoke and never have and detest being around those who do. Their smoke makes my clothes and hair stink and the whole process makes no sense to me. Take a weed, wrap it in paper, shove it in your mouth and set fire to it? Where is the logic in that?

But my biggest gripe was mentioned by DR – cigarette butts! Filthy, nasty, cigarette butts that pile up outside the doors of office buildings, restaurants and litter intersections.

For God sakes, if you’re going to be stupid enough to shove a burning weed in your mouth – at least do something proper with the remnants of your addiction. The rest of us don’t want to see it.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: just a fact

Congratulations on quitting. Don't be surprised if emphysema still sneaks up on you. It took it eight years to find me.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

Congratulations Rich. The last time I smoked was 11:25 a.m. July 23, 2003 that's exactly when I had a heart attack, died three times the same day and ended up with a qauadruple bypass operation. I was lucky enough not to have to use a patch, but I think because they cracked me open like a walnut is the real reason I quit smoking.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: az mac

SHS is not harmful, W.H.O. posted their study on their web site by the order of the government of England. It stayed their for about a month. They then removed it because it did not meet their agenda. SHS is 98% water vapor, that is why you can see it. Only on cold days can you see car exhaust that can kill in minutes. Yet people worry about smoking and as of yet not one proven death caused by smoking or SHS. The people who profit off the bans and high taxes are the only ones telling you how smoking is killing everyone and causes most diseases. The make in the billions off ignorant people who believe their lies. Johnson & Johnson made 65 billion last year. The bans have helped destroy property rights which our Constitution and freedom are built around.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Mr. Thurlow
I quit smoking over 30 years ago and still crave them sometimes. I feel the same as you, if a person wants to smoke, then that is their business and as far as littering, I was just as guilty as everyone else who smokes.
Probably with the cost of cigarettes the butts are a lot smaller now, but it does gripe me smokers don't use a little more care.
The hypocrisy is that politicians are upset that they are not getting the money from smokers as they once did because people continue to quit, so now they may have to raise taxes on them again......originally the money was supposed to battle the cost of health care due to smoking, now it supports all sorts of causes!
Congratulations on quitting as you will not regret it!

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Article comment by: David Rogers

Congratulations Rich Thurlow on freeing yourself from the addiction to tobacco. Tobacco is as addicting as Rush Limbaugh's OxyContin aka "hillbilly heroin" addiction. About your comment “just leave that smoker alone" to enjoy his or her smoke. I can agree with you in sorts. There are some caveats that need to be considered. A consideration for people around you as a smoker. If you are in an area first smoke. If you are not first in an area you should gladly stop smoking if asked. Secondly pick up your butts.

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