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Claycomo Plaza * 411 NE  US HWY 69 * Claycomo, Mo.  64119 * FAX 816-413-0176


The Courier, Findley, Ohio
September 5, 2003

 "Not all smokers are fortunate"


This is a reply to Fred Mengertís letter saying some smokers are still healthy.

 You are right. I know a few. But, do you know the ones who are not quite so fortunate?

 Probably not, as people with Emphysema have the distinct reputation of being invisible. Why? Many are so sick that they do not venture out to the restaurants and bars you speak of  because we dare not take the chance of breathing secondhand smoke. Our breathing is so obstructed that we do well to manage a walk to the mailbox and thatís on good days.

 

If one does not have an oxygen tank tethered to his body, you really couldnít tell if he was sick as he looks fairly normal considering that most of his lung capacity is gone. I do require supplemental oxygen so you would recognize my disability but you wouldnít have a clue what happened to me.

 

Did you know that COPD/Emphysema is the fourth largest killer in our country? Did you know that 30 million Americans suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) with 110,000 Americans dying each year? And, I havenít even mentioned lung cancer which kills and maims thousands every year. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. It affects your pocketbook, but not only with what you are spending. Each pack of cigarettes sold in the U.S. costs the nation $7 in medical care costs and lost productivity.  This is an epidemic and banning smoking in restaurants and bars would be a beginning to end the suffering brought on from smoking. I speak from experience. My brother died of lung cancer (he, too, fought in WW11, losing both arms for his country), my sister died of vascular disease from smoking and I smoked until my very life was threatened. I hope many Findlay residents who are still smoking reconsider their thinking on this ban and try to understand the consequences so many of us have to deal with every day.

 

Jeanette Vielhaber

Ohio Chapter Leader

EFFORTS (Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive