Veterans fought for non-smokers, too

To the Editor,

This letter is not intended to hurt others, but a means of sharing my opinion on a matter that involves all the people of Hancock County; the smoking ban.

Some people may not like it when I say the smoking ban is the right thing to do. There’s no other way to say it, that smoke into our lungs is a killer.

In the newspaper one veteran said that we don’t have the right to tell a limbless veteran that he doesn’t have the right to smoke. I say that this hero’s efforts should be admired, but his efforts don’t give him the right to impose ill health on others.

One American Legion official mentioned that no one has to come to my post and that it’s an individual decision.

What about the veteran that has just as much right to American Legion membership, but can’t stand the stink of smoke?

Some officials of clubs and businesses remarked about thousands of dollars. I don’t think anyone went bankrupt in Ohio or the 24 West Virginia counties that are smokeless.

Smoking is simply a very filthy habit.

I was hooked for 50 years.

I just had to have a cigarette in my hand if I used a hammer, when I used a pen or pencil, when I ate, while drinking a beer, at a ballgame, pitching horseshoes, you name it. I lived my young life working in the Riverview Greenhouse at 12 years old and the Pennsylvania Railroad at 14 years old and smoked regularly from age 12 to 62 and quit April 19, 1992.

I still have that unopened pack of non-filtered Camels.

So far I’ve lived a long life. Maybe not smoking these past 22 years helped me get here, but I’ve sure had my share of problems due to all that smoking.

I’m a World War II veteran and I hope I have a right to tell anyone not to impose your smoke in my space at restaurants, football games, at the track or where else I might be. Don’t I have a right? Come on, man!

Restaurants in Hancock County with [No Smoking] areas still stink up the whole place. It’s very enjoyable to eat in East Liverpool and Calcutta.

A lot of places that went smokeless survived and Hancock County establishments are no different.

We veterans must set examples for others to follow, especially for our kids, grandkids and loved ones.

I’d like to say to our veterans that I don’t think it’s fair to use your military sacrifices on people who simply want a safe and healthy environment.

Many people made sacrifices, like my wife and her family who lost a 19-year-old brother in Vietnam. He fought for our non-smoking rights also. Cigarettes were $1.50 a pack when I quit and I bought a US savings bond every 16 days as an incentive. I started a daily no smoking record. I’m now at 8,030 days. I’m so proud of that.

American veterans are capable of any sacrifice. Come on, join me with this opportunity and accept the smoking ban.

Hancock citizens are fantastic! Don’t harm them with smoke.

John Flara

New Cumberland