It's economic to ban smoke at restaurantsThe tobacco...

the Forum

April 29, 1994

It's economic to ban smoke at restaurants

The tobacco industry is spending a fortune trying to convince people that the the proposed Maryland regulation to ban smoking in all Maryland workplaces, including restaurants and bars, would hurt the Maryland economy because smokers would run to nearby states to dine and drink.

A rational look at the statistics, however, proves otherwise and shows that it will have a net positive economic impact for Maryland.

The U.S. population is approximately 250 million. The tobacco industry says the number of smokers is approximately 50 million. I personally think this is an inflated figure, but let's give the tobacco side the benefit of the doubt. This means that for every smoker there are four non-smokers.

Then if we take 100 people at random, 20 would be smokers and 80 non-smokers. After the Maryland regulation goes into effect, suppose that 50 percent of the Maryland smokers crossed the border to eat or drink in other states. This amounts to 10 people.

Now suppose 50 percent of the border state non-smokers crossed into Maryland to eat and drink in a smoke-free environment. This amounts to 40 people, which is a net plus of 30 people for Maryland.

Even if all the Maryland smokers went to other states and only 50 percent of the border state non-smokers came to Maryland, there would still be a positive increase of 10 for Maryland.

In addition, Maryland residents like me who drink but are sensitive to tobacco smoke would occasionally go out to a smoke-free bar in Maryland to watch football games, etc. We simply can't do this now.

Additional benefits to the proprietors will be to spend less on ventilation, clean-up costs, fire insurance and the threat of lawsuits.

The overall effect will clearly enhance the Maryland economy.

John H. O'Hara

Bowie

Health care

By all means, let's see some more articles about big corporations complaining about the Clinton health care package. Considering all the money they are spending on lobbying, I really can sympathize with their financial struggles (right!).

Why not hold onto it so their employees can have affordable and decent health care when the plan finally passes?

No, that would be ludicrous and the right thing to do.

Cindy McKenna

Baltimore

Smoking costs

I agree with Charles Johnston's letter, April 12, that "a person with an addiction for a legal drug such as nicotine" should be provided areas to smoke in. I also agree that when stricken by ailments caused by smoking, smokers be left to deal with the costs.

lTC Smoking is obviously more than just a contributing factor in lung cancer. It has been scientifically proven to be a main cause.

The choice to smoke is the choice of the individual. By picking up a cigarette, the individual is effectively saying, "It's O.K. if I get lung cancer."

If the individual is free to make this choice on his own, he must pay the consequences. The government should not be required to foot the bill when this person contracts lung cancer or other diseases that can be traced to smoking. You must remain responsible for your actions.

President Bill Clinton's health care reform will provide more aid for those who choose to harm their bodies in this way. Any time they feel the need to halt their addiction or receive medical care but lack the money for such programs, the government will provide the cash.

Is this ridiculous plan just a way of telling the American public that smoking cigarettes and doing drugs are all right?

Allison M. Hoover

Baltimore

Can do

I eagerly began reading James H. Bready's "Can Man" column (April 17, Perspective) assuming, with my orientation, that it was a story on steel.

Although that wasn't the case, I continued to read and discovered that there are two gross errors it promotes: that steel cans are only primarily found in Canada and the "Middle West," and that people don't recycle steel.

Steel cans are used in proliferation across the country, to package food, beverages, aerosol sprays, paint and other household products, such as bandages and shoe polish. True, few beverages are packaged in steel, just as few food products are packaged in aluminum.

Steel cans are recyclable. On April 22 the Steel Recycling Institute released its 1994 steel can recycling rate, showing another strong recycling increase.

In the United States, steel cans are collected through at least 11,000 programs, including curbside, drop-off and buy-back collection, commercial and institutional recycling programs and through magnetic separation at resource recovery facilities.

In Canada, the originator of the "blue box" programs, the recycling rate for steel cans in Ontario, for example, is 70 percent.

In the Baltimore area, most steel cans are collected for recycling through automatic magnetic separation, but residents in various neighborhoods also have the opportunity to recycle them through the other methods listed above.

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