Letters to the Editor

E-cigarettes, smoking, KC Chiefs

Updated: 2014-01-13T23:29:02Z

E-cigarette vapors

So how do we deal with the new idea of inhaling nicotine without smoking (1-9, A1, “Clearing the air on e-cigarettes”)? Let’s be sure everyone understands what e-cigarettes do.

You take a cylinder (reminiscent of a cigarette) and suck on it. That action triggers a 450-degree heating element to boil a concoction of nicotine, glycol, “flavors” and other chemicals into your bloodstream (from two inches away).

Do we honestly expect those of us in the nonsmoking public to simply allow such an activity to occur where we work, eat or play with our children?

Do we think all the flavors, nicotine and glycol are completely absorbed by the vapor? There will absolutely be remainder products from the incineration of whatever chemicals the e-cig companies decide to put into their devices.

One e-cig vendor in your report even said, “Regulation could weed out the bad players. ... We don’t always know what is in it now.”

Although I applaud those who use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking, I will refuse to frequent any restaurant or other business that allows e-cigarettes.

They should be regulated and treated just like cigarettes. Period.

Joel Whitaker

Leawood

Harmful cigarettes

Any episode of the show “Mad Men” will give you a sense for how normal smoking used to be in America. Back then, smoking was common just about anywhere you can imagine.

Since then, the national smoking rate has dropped to around 20 percent, and smoking isn’t allowed in most public places.

The release of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Jan. 11, 1964, laid the groundwork for these important public health changes.

That landmark report forever changed the public view of cigarettes and tobacco products. They previously were thought of as a harmless vice, but the report clearly illustrated for the first time the serious harm cigarette smoking causes to people’s health.

The report’s effects continue to be felt to this day. Many important, life-saving policies such as Kansas’ smoke-free legislation might not have occurred without the first Surgeon General’s Report.

We need to continue to show the same kind of courage that it took to release that first report.

Let’s encourage Kansas lawmakers to invest in the three proven strategies that help people quit smoking: increase the costs of cigarettes, enforce clean-air laws and direct cessation efforts to help the more than 70 percent of smokers today who want to quit.

Tobacco users who want to quit can get free help at www.ksquit.org or 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).

John Stockton

Leawood

Democracy turnoff

Quite frequently, American citizens wonder whether their vocalization is at all necessary in a governmental atmosphere.

Perhaps it’s the massive scope of democracy that turns them off.

Maybe it’s a lack of education in political issues.

But one thing’s for sure, a primary cause of democratic miscommunication is the unintentional compartmentalization of the U.S. people into factions.

Although classes and social hierarchies are built into the infrastructure of most modern societies, such classifications aren’t justified just because they are omnipresent.

Explicit categorization of American citizens is a major deterrence from voting, attending politic-based affiliation meetings and other forms of democratic expression.

In order to demolish such a barrier, politicians and other influential figures (teachers, mentors, instructors) ought to encourage both equality of opportunity and participation in the U.S. democracy.

Americans should know that they aren’t required to live their lives according to tags placed on their life choices, socioeconomic status or other lifestyle components out of their control.

A functioning democracy comes from government by the people, and that cannot exist with arbitrary labels being placed on the true leaders of this nation.

Riley Peek

Liberty

Chiefs red inflation

It seems that it doesn’t pay to have supported the Kansas City Chiefs since Arrowhead opened in 1972.

The Chiefs recently boasted that most ticket prices will remain the same for 2014 and that they offer close to the lowest prices in the National Football League (12-30, B8, “Chiefs Buzz”).

Team officials presented those in my section with a 14.1 percent increase for the 2014 season. In 1972, the same tickets were priced at $7 per game, and now they are 19.3 times more expensive at $135 per game.

So, if a season-ticket holder earned $30,000 in 1972, his salary today (if he were still working 42 years later) would have to be $579,000 to keep pace with Chiefs inflation.

Oh, by the way, parking this season will be $50 per game.

John Walden

Leawood

Discipline in school

The Jan. 9 article, “School culture under scrutiny,” again throws educators under the bus.

The federal government does not have an understanding about discipline in the classroom. It is the obligation of parents to teach their children right from wrong.

As a retired educator, I saw too many children entering school who were not prepared academically or socially.

Part of this has to do with young parents of lower socioeconomic levels who need parenting classes. Teacher and administrators can only do so much.

Some parents feel it is the responsibility of the school to raise their children. The teacher is not the problem.

Let us not forget the attack on a kindergarten teacher in the Hickman Mills School District. Teachers and administrators are professionals who have been trained in educating and controlling the classroom.

I would think that most parents would want a child who is disruptive or violent removed from the classroom. Educators cannot be mental-health facilitators.

Educators are protecting the rights of the other students in their classrooms who want to learn.

Kathleen Moorman

Leawood

Drug crackdown

I am a student at Liberty High School, and last semester in our school we endured a crackdown on drug use and possession. I am not saying that the use of drugs by students in Liberty is not a problem, but the search for them by the school may have gone too far.

One day during the search all of the bathroom doors were locked in the school, save for the ones in the office. But to use these bathrooms, students were required to be searched by the office attendant and wait in the bathroom line of up to 10 people.

All this in order to prevent the disposing of drugs in the school via the bathroom.

As well as the bathroom lockdown, there were drug dogs searching students’ vehicles. Two of my close friends, whom I trust have no affiliation with drugs, had their cars searched.

Both of these individuals were caught with knives in their cars, one of which was a 4.5-inch pocket knife. Both were given 10 days of out-of-school suspension.

This left me with only one question: Why were their cars even chosen for search?

Coleman Howard

Liberty

Unwanted questions

Just a few weeks ago marked my 16th anniversary of when I came to this country. I joined my forever family, my parents and my older (by two years) sister.

As an immigrant, I upon entry became a citizen of the United States. Growing up in Liberty, the number of minorities was low.

Naively, people would ask such questions as, “Are your parents your real parents?” Or “Is she your real sister?”

Of course, my reply was always yes. And 99.9 percent of the time their responses would again include the question: “Are they your real real parents/sister?”

At age 5, I excused their ignorance for their lack of education.

When people would ask me these questions about my real family, they did not realize that they are my real family, just not biological.

Yes, I have a real family; it was just on the other side of the world.

Now the question is, When is it OK to ask these questions? The answer, never.

Madison Hayter

Liberty

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