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What do you think?

April 01, 2007

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

There were two poll questions this week. The first question was: Do you think smoking should be banned in Maryland restaurants and bars?

"Absolutely! It's not fair that we nonsmokers have to sit around waving our hands in front of our faces to repel the stinking aroma of burning tobacco, and having people exhale long streams of smoke into the air that we have to breathe as well. The same poisons that are found in cigarette smoke are also found in vehicle exhaust. We can't do much about vehicle exhaust being in our community, but we can ban cigarette smoke from the places where we want to eat."

"I think it should be banned in all public indoor places and I wish our state would also join a few others that make it illegal to litter your butts. Drives me nuts to see people continually toss them from their car knowing how long it takes them forever to decompose. Don't you smokers have ashtrays or do you just not care about the earth? Check the sides of the road on Dual Highway at any stoplight for mountains of your litter. Go ahead and destroy your lungs for all I care, but you could at least use your ashtrays."

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"Absolutely! No one wants to stink as bad as smokers do. Sometimes I gag when I have to work closely with one. There is a poster in my doctor's office as to what smoking does to unborn fetuses - low birth weight, more susceptible to diseases, great cases of SIDS, etc. Smoking should be banned from all public places and smokers should have to smoke at the BACK DOOR of businesses, not at the front door that customers use."

"I do not smoke, but since when can we tell people what to do to their own bodies? Will you outlaw tattoos or maybe piercings of belly buttons because it is unsightly and can cause infections costing medical expenses? I SAY FREEDOM IS DYING."

"Cigarettes aren't healthy. BUT overeating is not healthy either! Maybe they should limit fat people's food when they go to the nonsmoking restaurants. Wouldn't want to contribute to unhealthy cholesterol or clogged arteries or to make the already overweight children obese!"

"OK, smoking is a killer. Leaders have raised taxes on tobacco in Maryland to help pay for health issues caused by smoking. But this does not work - folks just drive to Virginia and buy their tobacco. So we actually lose tax dollars. If we are serious about our intent to get people to stop smoking in the state of Maryland, then it is time to do the right thing. Make smoking illegal in the state of Maryland. Or let them smoke where they eat and drink. Then nonsmokers should stay away from restaurants and bars that allow this in their buildings."

"If you're going to a tavern to kill your liver with your beer, shots or whatever, you should be able to smoke as well. HOWEVER, restaurants are another matter and I think that if there's a chance a child could be sitting there, or a pregnant woman, ABSOLUTELY no smoking!"

"I understand nonsmokers' rights to have an evening out in an atmosphere without smoke, but what about the smoker's right to an enjoyable evening also? I've read a lot of complaints here, but no solutions. I propose licensing smoking to businesses as is done with liquor. The state makes some fee income and everyone has a place to go where their rights are not infringed upon. Also, you know what to expect when spending your hard-earned money on an evening out. Unfortunately, there is no compromise that will make everyone 100 percent happy. Fortunately, we are adults (right?) and understand that we cannot always have everything OUR way; that we must be considerate and respectful of others."

The second question was: Which of the five proposed names for the new elementary school at the Westfields development do you like - Antietam Creek, Chapel Woods, James W.C. Pennington, Rockland or Rockland Woods?

"I only voted for 'Antietam Creek' so I could make a comment. Since it's in the Westfields development, I assumed up to this point that that's what it would be called. Who came up with these nonpertinent names? What's wrong with Westfields Elementary?"

"To answer this poll question: Where's the selection for 'none of the above'? The Antietam Creek isn't really a landmark in that area of town. James W.C. Pennington has as much to do with this area of the country as Cesar Chavez, so naming a school after him around here wouldn't mean a whole lot. Chapel Woods - again, means precisely what? And where did Rockland or Rockland Woods come from? What about Westfield Elementary (Can we say obvious choice)? Or, how about naming the school after a local historical figure. Scharf's History, available in the local library, can give you a wealth of namesakes for that school."

"Now that I've read the article today that explains how we came to these 5 names, I'll go with naming the school after Pennington, even though I think it would have more meaning to name a place after someone who did great things HERE, in Washington County, instead of naming the place after some rather obscure figure in history that happened to be a slave here at some point in their life."

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