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Itís About Our Lungs, Not Yours

To the Editor:

In reading your recently published article, and many others like it in other publications, I keep finding that smokers seem to miss the point of New York stateís newly enacted Clean Indoor Air Act [ďAnd Theyíre Out,Ē July 31]. The point of the ban is not to make them quit smoking, although that certainly would be best for their own health. The point is that I, as a nonsmoker, no longer have to be exposed to their secondhand smoke. In the long term, secondhand smoke can cause illness and death in nonsmokers.

In the short term, Iím now free to go to the track or to a bar or restaurant or any other public space and not have to come home with eyes that sting, nasal and chest congestion and clothes and a vehicle that reek of someone elseís cigarettes. Even as a nonsmoker, I used to be willing to put up with this for the sake of a social life, until I became pregnant.

Itís difficult enough to get out when youíre pregnant, what with morning sickness, swollen ankles and general tiredness, but on nights when I wasnít plagued with those typical complaints, there were so many times that my husband and I wanted to go see a local band or had friends invite us to hang out with them at a local bar where I just couldnít go. I stayed at home nights for months, because, while I was free to choose not to drink, there was no way I could avoid exposure to secondhand smoke in the places that we wanted to go. My husband needed some social life and so chose to get out of the house periodically to hang out in smoky bars with his smoking friends. The resultómy husband was an ex-smoker, but it was too difficult to be around other smokers. He started up again and has since been struggling on and off to quit.

I love the new law. Iím thrilled that we can go out again. Iím thrilled that when I actually get an evening out I donít have to come home and expose my 6-month-old baby to these noxious fumes, which by the way are one of the key risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Iím hopeful that now that smoking is no longer allowed in his favorite hangouts, my husband can still see his friends while working yet again to kick this deadly habit so that he can be around to watch our baby grow to a ripe old age herself. And if either of us chose to seek employment at any of these establishments, we could do so knowing that we didnít have to put our own health at risk because of othersí deadly habits.

Again, smokers just donít seem to get it. Itís not about making the 25 percent of folks who smoke quitóitís about protecting the 75 percent of us who donít smoke from the deadly side effects of their addiction.

So you smokers can smoke íem if youíve got íemóbut thanks to New York state, I no longer have to share in the experience with you.

Cristina Dyer-Drobnack

Village People

To the Editor:

Iím reading your ďBest of the Capital Region 2003Ē issue [July 17] and thinking that what I really want to know is best dentist, plastic surgeon, internist, dermatologist, gynecologist, Pilates instructor, yoga instructor, blah, blah, blah. . . . You know, the important stuff.

What I see, in the Readersí Poll, under Best Village Idiot, is the name of my friend. Politicians and celebrities expect to be razzed, and I love to see that happen, but do you ever consider that someone nominated for such an insulting distinction might be vulnerable and unnecessarily hurt by it? Whatís your intent?

Joan Ross
New Baltimore

Editorís reply:

Our intent was not to hurt, but merely to entertain. We hoped that in publishing a large sample of responsesó20, in this caseóreaders would understand the random and subjective nature of other readersí nominees, and not take them too seriously. We apologize to anyone who was hurt or insulted by their inclusion in this category.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at

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