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Your Opinion: Smoke-filled Capitol offices

Your Opinion: Smoke-filled Capitol offices

January 23rd, 2013 by Chuck Lahmeyer, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Once again I am reminded and shocked at the smoking situation in our Capitol.

Legislators have banned smoking in most of the Capitol but refuse to consider doing so in their own offices.

Recently while doing some volunteer work I had occasion to visit many of the representatives' offices.

I was astounded at the level of smoke in some of the office complexes. While smoke is not apparent in the Capitol hallways, it is overwhelming inside the offices.

My concern is not for myself, a brief visitor, but for the innocent office workers who must suffer the smoke of a selfish legislator on a daily basis.

Second-hand smoke has been shown to be nearly as harmful as smoking itself. A constituent who has a valid reason to visit his representative might want to think twice before calling upon his elected assemblyman under these conditions.

I can't recall such a blatant case of holding oneself above the law as this one.

Our lawmakers are saying, "You may not smoke here but I write the law, therefore I am above it." Disgraceful.

But the most irrelevant statement I have heard in this debate was from one representative who said that he did not accept that all smokers are evil. No one is saying that smokers themselves are evil. We are saying that smoking is harmful to those around you.

Every other public building in our state prohibits smoking for just this reason. Voters should consider this in the next election. Not because their candidate smokes but because he disregards public safety.

The days of "good old boys" in smoke-filled rooms are gone. Come on guys, join the 21st century!