Letters to the editor: Dec. 21

December 21, 2013 

Statewide smoke-free law helps more than just cancer rate

In a recent op-ed, Dr. Ellen Hahn and Dr. Mark Evers highlighted very clearly how smoke-free laws help fight cancer. I would like to further highlight other benefits of smoke-free laws. As a retired public health dentist and former state dental director, I fully understand the impacts on oral health including the harmful impacts to children when they are exposed to tobacco smoke.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for dental decay. Smokers are at greater risk for oral cancer. But smoking has other deleterious effects. Kentucky has one of the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy in the nation with nearly one in four (23 percent) Kentucky babies born in 2011 to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is the most important known cause of low-birthweight babies, which increases a newborn's risk for serious health problems such as developmental and intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and vision and hearing impairments. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more likely to die before their first birthday.

A recent report by Kentucky Youth Advocates, "Clearing the Air for All Kentucky Children," builds the case that statewide, comprehensive smoke-free laws have proven successful in reducing smoking during pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Children should not be exposed to secondhand smoke. It's time to protect all of Kentucky's children with a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law.

James C. Cecil III

Consultant to Kentucky Youth Advocates

Lexington


Gambling on gaming for losers

Billy Harper writes in favor of expanded gaming. He cites Kentucky money going to out- of-state casinos. "We have built countless roads and schools in neighboring states without so much as a thank you in return."

Kentucky, he says, would benefit from casino construction and operation. This is the well-known Local Gambling Gimmick.

Every student of economics knows gambling is defined as "exchange of funds without production." Harper claims other states are taking advantage of Kentucky and laughing over the years.

But are they really taking advantage, or only providing an opportunity? And if Kentuckians are willfully removing money from their state, are they not committing a public disservice? Are they not enemies of Kentucky prosperity? They seem to be robbing the people and children of the state. And road-users?

Promoting gambling in Kentucky would not lead to more schools and roads. Most of the money belongs to the casinos. Casinos are not factories. They produce nothing even if open around the clock.

What Kentucky needs is money coming into the state, not Kentuckians putting money into Kentucky casinos. We also need powerful voices, economists, journalists and politicians, challenging economic nonsense. If you cannot come up with something better than gaming for the Kentucky economy, you haven't a chance.

Risto Marttinen

Lexington


Bugged by humbuggery

If I understood a letter of November 27, the writer sounds a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge when asked for a contribution for the poor. His response was, "Are there no prisons? No union workhouses? Are they still in operation? Those who are badly off should go there. If they would rather die they had better do it and decrease the surplus population." His premise seemed to be that our economy cannot tolerate the sick, elderly, disabled or poor. Should we have the basest level of survival of the fittest? Should those who cannot "produce" hurry up and die? Why should these people deserve to eat or have housing?

God bless us every one.

Cheryl Kennan

Lexington


Neighborhood-killers

The Summit development wants two additional streets to East Tiverton Way and a two-lane exit and two-lane entrance onto Habersham directly across from Fox Harbour Drive, trapping the neighborhood.

The city wins because land cannot move but people can. Taxes will be paid on both old and new developments. This is the reason for the unanimous votes across the city on neighborhood projects.

Money will take care of money. The mayor and council should take care of neighborhoods not money. Fox Harbour residents have lost their privacy to the large elevated apartment complex overlooking their back yards. Another example of bad zoning and planning. Start using some common sense, neighborhood-killers.

Edward D. Prentice

Lexington


Sinking feeling on insurance

Recent news of devastating sinkholes in Florida reminded me to check my homeowners insurance here in Stonewall Estates.

I was told that my policy provides reimbursement "not just for earth movement" but is limited only to damage caused by loss from quakes caused by molten lava from active volcanoes. The closest such volcano I am aware of is Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Home values in Stonewall vary from about $160,000 to over $300,000. Can you imagine the financial loss if even a minor sinkhole occurred on your lot? Although I am insured by a well-known, highly regarded company, it does not insure sinkholes unless caused by a volcanic eruption.

I suggest we all check our homeowners insurance. If your company insures against loss caused by earth movement or earth slide causing a sinkhole, please let me know. I will change insurers.

There have been sinkholes in Lexington, and coverage is a peril for which I want protection. I believe you homeowners do also.

James McGlennon

Lexington

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