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DEAR EDITOR:

The extremes to which anti-smoking activists will and can, with little opposition, go in what we call a “free country” is alarming. It’s like, “Smoking is unhealthy. End of discussion.” There seems to be no concern for individual rights.

The Rome City Commission seems only interested in whether a downtown smoking ban would be good or bad for business. They’ve decided over the years that alcohol consumption downtown is good for business and no doubt it is. Alcohol, though unhealthy, is still the legal “drug of choice” of all classes of Romans, no matter how many lives are ruined by it. It’s still glamorous and “sociable,” like smoking was when politically powerful, prominent and rich people smoked.

As a minority socially out of favor now, adults who smoke essentially have no rights. The day will probably come when we can’t even smoke in our own homes when any non-smoker is present. Already, our colleges prohibit students and visitors from smoking in their own cars, so private property rights have no standing when anti-smoking activists arrive on the scene.

The relentless campaign seems to be to banish smokers without banning tobacco. Why not ban such a dangerous and addictive substance? The answer is obvious. It’s big business and big tax revenue for governments. Tobacco farmers, cigarette makers and retailers have rights. Individuals who use tobacco don’t.

I’m sure the Rome City Commissioners will feel very good about themselves when they cast all the unsightly and stinky smokers off the public streets their taxes help pay for. They’re a minority, doing something unhealthy. End of discussion.