I want to thank Hennepin County Commissioners Peter McLaughlin, Mike Opat, Penny Steele and Mark Stenglein for voting against their constituents' best interests and for my business.
No, I am not a bar owner, I'm a medical oncologist who takes care of cancer patients.
If people stopped smoking, there would be fewer cases of cancer, heart attack and stroke. More restrictive smoking legislation -- despite the overall health benefits that would accrue to the citizens of Hennepin County -- certainly would decrease my business, which of course is bad for me personally, the University of Minnesota (which receives a percentage of tobacco taxes) and hospitals.
I wonder if Hennepin County could go further; maybe we could lift restrictions about selling cigarettes to minors? Big Tobacco knows that you have to get the kids addicted early, and it's been really hurt by restrictions on marketing to children. To paraphrase McLaughlin, many convenience store owners have been victimized by laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors. If you would remove this restriction, think how much more tax revenue the county and state could accrue!
DR. DOUGLAS YEE, MINNEAPOLIS
(Hennepin County (the county Minneapolis is in) recently relaxed their antismoking ordinance. It used to cover all restaurants and bars. The revised ordinance exempts bars if they apply.)