My previous letter asked that veterans’ clubs and fraternal organizations be exempted from SB 1 and HB 328, or a statute be passed directing smoking or non-smoking signs be posted on their entrances. My reasons were given.
I read a recent letter to the editor that supports those bills, indicating all workers have the right to breathe smoke free air. To my knowledge, there is no Alaska wide law or federal law giving everyone the right to breathe smoke free air. There is one, though, that guarantees a freedom of choice.
Let’s assume those supporting the two bills believe they have the best interest of Alaskans at heart. I would argue that their interest only supports non-smokers, not those who might currently be allowed smoke at work.
If tobacco is so harmful and invasive to someone’s personal space or body, why doesn’t the legislature, both in Alaska and at the federal level outlaw tobacco products altogether? Some, I’m sure, would support this idea.
Now, let’s take it a step further. How many Alaskans are injured, maimed, or killed by drunk drivers? How many lives could be saved by outlawing liquor in the state? How could a legislator argue against doing this when it would save lives?
And, how much pollution is distributed by auto and diesel or industrial plant exhausts? How many lives are affected or ended by allowing that to continue? Why doesn’t Alaska pass a law that only allows the operation of non-combustible vehicles on its roads?
My point is that freedom of choice is something guaranteed by our Constitution. Taking away just one of those freedoms is like the first drip falling from a leaky kitchen faucet. It’s won’t stop and will get worse over time.