Time for smoking ban

To the editor:

To ban or not to ban smoking throughout Hancock County brought out politicians, business interests and some employees of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort to address their concerns TO the health board on July 23.

Here are just some thoughts on who said what and what’s going to happen in real time.

If a person is 70 years old and gets lung cancer, who cares? If a 10-year-old gets brain or lung cancer, everybody acts like they care until it comes time to do something about the cause. Chris Kern, general manager of Mountaineer, was there to sell his product, gambling, with some misconceptions of doom and gloom if the county bans smoking.

His numbers on taxes and revenues lost have nothing to do with smoking. Competition from nonsmoking casinos in Ohio is a problem, with a new one opening in September – Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming, a racino 40 minutes up the river and 20 minutes from Youngstown.

Mayors, commissioners and you name them were there doing there job as politicians justifying smoking in the names of revenue lost, not lives lost.

The sad thing for the faithful work force that showed up: Don’t by fooled by comments that the smoking ban will reduce the work force. The merger of MTR Gaming Inc. and Eldorado Holding Co. LLC has been approved. When completed, the new company will reduce the work force with a “Sorry, folks, that’s the nature of the business,” without blinking an eye.

The five-member appointed health board, honoring a symbolic oath to protect the health of the public, should now do its job.

Join the movement that’s happening nationwide. A total of 28 West Virginia counties ban smoking. All Ohio casinos – with no exceptions – ban smoking, and Pennsylvania is coming online very soon.

With the playing field now being equal, let the private sector do what it does best – compete – and quit asking for corporate welfare programs.

Steve Kopa