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EDITORIAL: Bans against smoking are gaining momentum

Publication Date: 8/15/2006
  • Publication:(Hilton Head, SC) Island Packet

In a state that has a higher percentage of smokers per capita than the national average, South Carolinians are seeing public officials take steps to eliminate smoking and its detrimental effects on health.

On Hilton Head Island, a proposal to ban smoking in all indoor restaurants and workplaces seems to be gaining momentum. Town Councilman John Safay, who is pushing the ban, met with members of the Hilton Head Area Hospitality Association last week and found some support.

To their credit, members of the association who attended the meeting seemed not just open to the idea, but enthusiastic about it. Long-time island business leader John Curry, a hospitality industry consultant who knows the area's market as well as anyone, told Safay that he endorsed the idea...

This is a small step in a state that for several years hasn't allocated a dime to smoking cessation and prevention programs for youth. The new law will not be a silver bullet to eliminate a problem that would be an epidemic if it were classified as any other disease. But the good news is that the new law, along with more bans in public places, might serve as a deterrent to youth and adults. That is encouraging in a state that has so many severe health problems.

Smoking bans have been slow in coming to South Carolina because of the state's economic dependence on tobacco as a crop. But the financial benefit of tobacco long has been outstripped by the health-care costs associated with it.