Smoking Gets the Heave-Ho at Camden YardsCongratulations...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

January 23, 1993

Smoking Gets the Heave-Ho at Camden Yards

Congratulations and thanks to the Baltimore Oriolemanagement for announcing a new smoking policy for the Camden Yards stadium.

This was a policy that the Group Against Smoker's Pollution, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and major health organizations had been seeking for the last three years. The policy bans smoking in the entire seating bowl and the restrooms but it permits smoking in most other places in the stadium. The Orioles have large television monitors in the smoking areas so that smokers will not miss any of the action.

The Orioles became the fifth major league team to institute such a policy in an outdoor stadium. This policy is clearly a home run for all Oriole fans.

John H. O'Hara

Bowie

The writer is the president of the Group Against Smoker's Pollution.

I'm in favor of "no smoking" at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I disagree with tobacco lobbyist Bruce Bereano's statement that "the smoke went into the air." Several times when people were smoking around me, the smoke came into my face. The air must have been unusually quiet when Bereano was there.

Evelyn Ransom

Towson

Smokers should have about as much right to endanger my health as a drunk driver does to endanger my life.

MA Passive smoke doesn't sound "passive" to me. Give me a break!

Janet Kline

Baltimore

The announcement regarding the smoking ban in the seating sections of the stadium is good news for many of us long-time sufferers from "passive" smoke. In addition to complimenting the owners for this decision, the governor should be highly commended for his strong support.

Now that sufficient courage has been mustered to take such action, I feel we need to examine another issue about the stadium. Although I am not a teetotaler, sitting next to spectators who indulge in heavy beer-drinking detracts from enjoyment of the game. There are some important drawbacks to this practice. The most important, in my opinion, is the poor example it sets for the children and grandchildren that many of us like to bring to the games. It tends to establish in their young and impressionable minds that heavy indulgence in beer drinking is OK and associates it with professional baseball.

Furthermore, for those of us who don't enjoy beer drinking anyway, the smell of stale and spilled beer around us makes coming to ball games not pleasurable, especially when some of the abusers become loud and boisterous.

I realize that restricting beer drinking can be controversial, especially since selling beer in the stadium is an important source of income for the beer makers and those who sell it in the stands. But we should recall that several decades ago, to bring up the notion of "smoke free" zones other than where hazards of fire and explosion existed was not broached in many places for essentially the same reasons.

Now that we have seen signs of the stadium owners taking an interest in matters that impinge on spectator health and comfort, we should consider the beer issue head on.

What about a "beer free" zone in at least part of the seating area? That is where many of us would opt for sitting when purchasing our tickets -- it would be more "family friendly," too. Perhaps they might want to identify it as the "family section" of the stadium. I suspect that there are many silent sufferers out there, just like me.

Angelo C. Gilli Sr.

Pasadena

The Orioles have hit a home run in hypocrisy in banning smoking from the stadium. If they are so concerned about the health and comfort of their fans, why don't they also ban alcoholic beverages? Alcohol is as much a health threat as smoking. It ruins lives, ravages families and costs society billions of dollars each year. Drunk drivers leaving the stadium also threaten the lives of everyone on the streets.

Wouldn't you rather sit next to a smoker than a loud, profane, abusive, disgusting drunk?

Harry R. Shriver

Pikesville

Recently, the Baltimore Orioles announced that smoking would be banned in the stands and in the restrooms at Oriole Park. As one who has had his visit to the Camden Yards stadium marred by the inconsiderate smoking of people seated near him, I applaud the stand taken by the Orioles' management.

A phone call to the Orioles' public relations office revealed, however, that they have received a great deal more negative calls than positive.

The Orioles' management has taken a stand on the continuing controversy over the banning of smoking in public places and they are not getting much feedback from the non-smoking side of that debate. Anyone agreeing with this decision ought to give the Orioles' public relations office a call to let the management know that it made the right decision.

Neil Lynn

Cordova

Chelsea's School

I am responding to Roger Simon's Jan. 8 column, "Clintons were right to pick private school For Chelsea." I whole-heartedly agree with his assertions and would like to add a few.

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