Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The real killers

There's a new "smoke shop" on the main street of of our town. I walk or drive by it every day. It's a busy place. People are popping in and out of it at all hours of the day and night. As a former smoker I know the addictive power of cigarettes; I know it real well. But I realize that it's a terrible thing. I know that it kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. Everybody knows that. Even so, people accept the "smoke shop" as just another business. How often do you see a letter to the local newspaper complaining of a business who sells a product that's a proven killer? How often has your local newspaper written about the real and documented human suffering resulting from cigarettes?

I wonder about this everytime I read another newspaper article about some family's dog getting sick after supposedly ingesting lawn chemicals. Heck, my son's beagle, Sparky, which I often have to watch, will eat anything — I mean anything! In fact I'm amazed at some of the things he will eat. In any event, accounts of dogs getting sick after a lawn is fertilized are almost always anecdotal as was the case is a recent article in a particular New York community. The families blamed lawn fertilizer, but not even the veterinarians were willing to make that claim. Even so, the event made big news.

Why is it that the public gives little thought to businesses that sell products that kill more than 40,000 Americans and cause billions of dollars in health care costs each year but gets bent out of shape about of lawn care products?

— Ron Hall

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