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October 3-10, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Take It Outside

SANTA CRUZ CITY OFFICIALS have considered various pretenses aimed at hiding the existence of tobacco from youth, from a truly brainless (fortunately ashcanned) notion to rate movies depicting smoking as Restricted to the latest furor over hookah parlor zoning. The pointlessness of trying to hide smoking is this: the kids most at risk to smoke by far are those whose parents smoke.

My survey of 700 UC-Santa Cruz students published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion found that nearly all student smokers today smoke only occasionally. However, students whose parents smoked daily were four times more likely to be daily smokers and seven times more likely to smoke half a pack per day or more than students whose parents were nonsmokers. Every study I'm aware of (including another of mine of 400 Los Angeles middle schoolers) likewise has found that the people who most promote smoking to teens are adults around them.

Worse, the Surgeon General's 2005 report, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," declares in point after point that children and youth are the ones most harmed by being forced to breathe secondhand tobacco smoke, nearly all inflicted by parents. The devastating damage to kids ranges from permanent respiratory ailments to asthma, cancer, and premature death—ills from which nonsmoking adults have moved vigorously to protect ourselves.

So, here's my suggestion for the City Council and planners: if you're serious about this issue, drop the cosmetic panaceas and take a national leadership role. Examine the Surgeon General's report and be the first city to adopt an ordinance that makes it an offense for adults to smoke in the indoor airspaces of anyone under age 18, whether at home, in vehicles or anywhere else. Adult convenience should not take precedence over children's health.

Mike Males, Santa Cruz

Who Rocks? Garrett Rocks

JUST WANTED TO SAY great article about the Flinger's show ("Henfling's Punkfest," Muz, Sept. 12). Garrett Wheeler is a great writer—loved his witty observations. Great ending with the bumper sticker. Also, good to see some coverage on the local acts. Give him a raise!!

Doug, Santa Cruz

Here We Come

KEEP SANTA CRUZ WEIRD, the T-shirts and bumper stickers say. It's weird, all right: weird that a town that brags of being progressive should have the stingiest retirement benefits of any public agency in California. Weird that its "socialist-feminist" city council denizen should trumpet his union credentials while doing his best to prevent city and Metro union workers from negotiating just contracts. Weird that a community that prides itself on its social sensitivities should shrug at the fact that its own service workers can't afford to live in the city that they serve.

Yes, that's weird. Or maybe not, because hypocrisy isn't exactly an unusual phenomenon. So, let's print up some T-shirts that tell it like it is: Santa Cruz, Serf City USA.

Leslie Auerbach, Santa Cruz

Another San Lorenzo Market Fan

JUST WANTED TO ADD to your article "Market Places, a guide to farmers markets in the Santa Cruz area" (Cover Story, Aug. 29) that the Santa Cruz Saturday Market is also a wonderful market where you can get not only fruits, veggies, and great Asian food but also a great place for families to enjoy a day at the park. It is located at the San Lorenzo City Park by the county office and runs from the end of April to the end of November, 10am to 6pm with live music, arts, crafts, farmers, healing practitioners and a great kids' play area. I love bringing my family down to it. It has a great, welcoming mood. Please add it to your list of markets. I think your readers will greatly appreciate it!

Mary Drew, Santa Cruz

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