Letters to the editor: Feb. 26

February 26, 2013 

Don't include e-cigarettes under state smoking ban

The statewide smoking ban is being promoted as a health issue. Yet one item targeted by the ban is a health device used to help people stop smoking — e-cigarettes.

Many Kentuckians, including my own father, have used them to kick the habit, or at the least reduce their smoking, in a concerted effort to improve their health.

Moreover, e-cigarettes emit water vapor, and not any of the so-called secondhand smoke. To suggest, as a recent Herald-Leader editorial did, that this water vapor is a health risk is the height of hyperbole.

The paper also claimed that exempting e-cigarettes from the ban would "pose an enforcement nightmare." That is just silly. If trained law enforcement can distinguish between a marijuana joint and a cigarette, I am confident they can easily identify a real smoking cigarette from an e-cigarette.

What might be a nightmare to the public, however, is the creation under House Bill 190 of special smoking police, tasked with writing tickets for people who light up illegally.

Believe it or not, this bill deputizes employees of local health departments, arming them with authority to write citations to individuals and businesses, with fines up to $10,000. One has to wonder whether they will have uniforms or act undercover.

Finally, I hate to disappoint the editorial board, but I must have missed the bandwagon with the Marlboro Man. It was ordinary citizens who asked me to file the e-cigarette amendment to HB 190.

Rep. Stan Lee

Lexington


SB 9 aids litigation

As a nursing-home administrator, I am very concerned about the one-sided coverage of Senate Bill 9, regarding the medical review panel. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate services.

There are many jobs that are much less difficult, but I do not know of one as emotionally rewarding as providing care and services for nursing home residents unable to have their needs met at home.

Over the years, I have entrusted the care of my family members to nursing homes and been very pleased with the care they received.

Under the bill, a panel of physicians would determine whether the standard of care has been met. If the panel decides it was not, that could only help the resident's lawsuit. In events where the standard of care was met, the panel has the potential to decrease the number of frivolous lawsuits.

Regardless of the panel's conclusions, residents would be able to proceed with the lawsuit. No residents will lose their rights; they will receive expedited legal services.

Kara M. Meredith

Louisville


Conservatives can't wait

I read with great interest Ted Smith's Feb. 11 rebuttal to the Kentucky Tea Party, "Tea Party is electing Democrats."

I'm not a Tea Party member but have typically supported conservative candidates since the 1970s when I was first able to vote.

I have always felt that the Kentucky Republican Party has been out of touch with its base. I believe what Smith is stating is that conservatives should continue to support candidates who promise to become conservative sometime in the future.

At least for the past 20 years or so, I and, I'm sure, others are still waiting.

Had the Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell included, acted fiscally responsibly during the times they were empowered to act, maybe there would not be a Tea Party.

I applaud anyone, progressive or conservative, who wants to run for office and truly tackle the problems facing the commonwealth and the country.

Granted, I may not always agree with their approach, but I welcome another group of elitists to join the existing ones of Kentucky's Republican and Democratic parties.

Richard Gatewood Mook

Lexington


Uphold standard of care

I'm writing to ask for support in keeping long-term care focused on our residents and the quality, loving, compassionate care they deserve. Right now, residents of Kentucky and companies who choose to care for our loved ones are being attacked.

They are attacked by irresponsible lawyers preying on the fact that we are one of the very few states that still allow frivolous lawsuits. This needs to get under control so companies who still choose to take care of our loved ones can afford to keep the quality care and jobs in our state.

That being said, we are humans taking care of humans, and that is not always easy. In some cases, while in a long-term care center, a resident can be neglected, and a lawsuit should be filed.

Having the medical review panel in place will save not only time and money for residents, families and long-term care centers but also taxpayers.

The cost of long-term care will only inflate if our state does not allow for medical review panels to sort the good from the bad.

Having aging parents myself, I now have to think about the "what ifs." What if my parents need long-term care? I would like to know that there would still be quality companies here, that I have a choice rather than having to admit them to a facility not up to my standards because I cannot afford the time or the money to be a 24-hour caregiver.

Jennifer Van Mersbergen

Campbellsville


Combat 'equality'

People in favor of sending women into combat should be forced to visit a military hospital. Artificial limbs enable the owner to perform more tasks but are not things of beauty.

I worked in a military hospital long enough to see the shortcoming of reconstructive surgery.

One patient had his chin shot away. Another man lost an eye and one side of his face. A high school friend was left with multicolored, elephantlike skin from his boot tops to his chest. My younger brother and a cousin came home in pine boxes.

I'm certain that a mortar round will clip off the legs of a woman as easily as the legs of the man who was brought to my clinic.

Wounds, visible or hidden, can be the unspoken results of "equality." War is not a video game. War is real.

Fred H. Salisbury

Richmond


Invitation for theft

Channel 18 aired the story about the "hoarder" (their term, as I recall) who was evicted from her home and whose belongings were piled on the curb for anyone to take. I think that is outrageous.

Perhaps this one person's belongings were considered collected junk to most. According to Channel 18, some of it got picked through and carried off.

I can't help the person, but I hope someone will help that person. Maybe someone from some church. We are still considered a Christian nation, aren't we? But maybe not. Hearing many of the news stories these days, I'm not sure.

Often we hear ourselves being encouraged to go out and spend money and buy stuff to help keep the economy going and money circulating. Of course, one is going to accumulate stuff over time if one does this.

Anyway, I think this incident was just totally outrageous. If someone goes into someone else's home and just takes their stuff, it's robbery or a home invasion — a crime.

Curtis Evans

Somerset

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