Letters to the Editor Jan. 30

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Helping hand

I’d like to thank the people who helped me last Friday. On that day, I was taking the garbage out when I fell at my dumpster. A La Grange city bus which comes through my complex stopped when it saw I had fell and everyone on board came out and helped me. All four people on the bus, included the driver, stayed with me while help came. I just wanted to publicly thank them whole heartedly. I really appreciate them.

Robin Whitney

La Grange

Favoring a smoking ban

As physicians, we are continually frustrated by treating diseases that are completely preventable. Kentucky can and must do more to help patients help themselves and to protect individuals from preventable diseases. We know that 46,000 people in the United States die each year of heart disease related to secondhand smoke and that asthma attacks claim the lives of those who are forced to endure secondhand smoke at work. Another 6,000 die from lung disease and other cancers. What is Kentucky waiting for? Our state legislators must pass a strong, smoke-free law to protect all workers in the 2014 session.

In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning advising anyone with heart disease to avoid secondhand smoke entirely. Even a little bit of secondhand smoke can be extremely hazardous. Studies show that the rate of hospital admissions for heart attacks dramatically decreases after smoke-free laws are put in place. The science is clear: comprehensive smoke-free laws contribute to declines in heart attacks and save lives.

Even workers and patrons without known heart conditions are at risk as a result of secondhand smoke exposure. Comprehensive smoke-free laws protect everyone. It is outrageous that so many Kentuckians who do not live in smoke-free communities still have to endure this health risk at work.

Secondhand smoke causes numerous other health problems – from lung cancer to asthma attacks to stroke. A University of Kentucky study found a 21 percent decrease in asthma emergency department visits following Lexington-Fayette County’s smoke-free law. In a separate study, UK researchers found that smoking rates declined in smoke-free Fayette County resulting in 16,500 fewer smokers and an estimated annual healthcare savings of $21 million.

The evidence is overwhelming that strong, comprehensive smoke-free laws save lives and improve health. As the U.S. Surgeon General stated in his 2006 report, “The debate is over, the science is clear. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

We understand the problem and we have a solution that the voting public strongly supports. It is time for the Kentucky General Assembly to act to protect the health of all workers and patrons throughout our state.

Dr. Tracy Ragland, Crestwood

Dr. Andrew Henderson, Lexington

Dr. Juan Villafane, Elizabethtown

Dr. John Johnstone, Richmond

Dr. Sarah Porter, Vanceburg

Dr. Shawn Jones, Paducah

Dr. Nancy Swikert, Florence

Dr. Brent Wright, Glasgow