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Russellville Hospital made correct decision

The entire Russellville Hospital campus will be tobacco-free starting this Monday, and I have to admit, it’s a decision that I was happy to see made.

I know that there are people who feel strongly on both sides of this argument, but in my own personal opinion, it never made sense to me why people who were sick or going to visit others who were sick had to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke just to get inside the hospital doors.

For that matter, I don’t know why anyone should be subjected to cigarette smoke in a public place.

We have noise ordinances so people aren’t riding through town blaring music at 2 a.m. waking up the sleeping babies and the folks who have to get up at 6 a.m. for work.

There are pet ordinances that prevent someone else’s dog from coming onto your property and digging up your flower beds or chasing your cat up a tree.

If we can have an ordinance that protects people from being woken up in the middle of the night by senseless noise and protects the lady down the street from having her geraniums dug up by Fido, why wouldn’t it make sense to have rules or laws in place to protect people who don’t want to endure the harmful, and at the very least, unpleasant effects of second-hand smoke?

If someone wants to smoke a cigarette, it is totally and completely his or her own business. If the same person wants to smoke three packs a day, they have the right to do that.

But as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes eluded to in his quote “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins,” I really believe one person’s right to smoke a cigarette ends where it starts to effect my health.

Smoking in the privacy of your home is fine. Smoking in your own vehicle is fine. Smoking in a place where people aren’t forced to sit and inhale the smoke is fine.

But I shouldn’t be made to sit next to someone smoking a cigarette while I’m eating dinner or be made to breathe the nasty stuff while I’m shopping or running errands or going to visit a sick relative in the hospital.

So kudos to Russellville Hospital for taking a stand in the fight against unwanted second-hand smoke in a public place. Hopefully more businesses, restaurants and public places will follow suit.

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