Response to column on smoking

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By Terry Goldman

I am delighted to read (in “Our kids are on fire,” Monitor, Jan. 15.) that “As a math teacher, (John Pawlak) can safely say that turning a blind eye to the dangers [of smoking] just doesn’t add up.” I wish you could also tell the FDA that refusing to reduce those dangers – by allowing use of e-cigarettes which provide nicotine and flavors without tars and other carcinogens (including radioactivity!) — doesn’t add up either.

These replacements for conventional cigarettes may not be perfectly safe, but they are surely safer than the cigarettes they would replace.

I also agree about not perceiving the benefits of smoking, while recognizing that others do perceive them. To insist that they don’t exist is to insult otherwise intelligent and capable people because we don’t have the same view that they do. This is the same recipe that produces partisan gridlock in our political system and violates the fundamental American principles of freedom and mutual respect as least as much as smoking violates fundamental American puritanical values.

Terry Goldman

Los Alamos