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Letter

If you follow the news, you’ve noticed night after night the vaping or e-cigarette segments. They’re calling it a national crisis. But even a greater national crises seems to be the inability of thinking human beings to prioritize.

How? There have been eight deaths related to vaping since the first e-cigarette in 2007. That is terrible. But there are 7 million deaths every year from tobacco cigarettes, 1,300 deaths every day. Vaping is terrible, but it does not compare to the effects of cigarettes.

Vaping has attributed to 530 illnesses, not deaths, nationwide. But one out of every five deaths in the U.S. is from cigarette smoking and its related causes. Tobacco cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths. Two-thirds of tobacco smokers will die from smoking, not just get ill. And for every tobacco smoking death, 30 more people will live with a serious smoking injury, 16 million people. In addition, tobacco smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Can you remember what you were doing 10 years ago today? Ten years is a long time to live. It’s a lot of life!

So how can humans beings who decide which are the important news stories to write and the politicians who make laws, decide priorities? Money talks. In 2019, states will collect $27.3 billion from tobacco taxes. Of this, they will use less then 2.4% on programs that can help stop young people and old, from starting to smoke or in helping addicted smokers quit. Seven in 10 adult smokers want to stop. Five in ten adult smokers have tried to stop in the last year, and fortunately, 500,000 have quit since 2012. That’s great news for smokers, especially if you’re one who is thinking you can't do it. You can!

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Non-smokers/vapers may be feeling smug right about now. Don’t forget you’re human, too. Think: unhealthful foods, alcoholic beverages, immoral movies, video game violence, a lack of meaningful help to those in need, etc. Don’t let me digress too much. One issue at a time, right?

Anyway, in closing: I’m still perplexed about smoking, any type of smoking. I’m perplexed why it is legal for me to smoke or vape, yet it is illegal for me to not buckle up? From 1889 to 2013, records indicate that there were 3,613,732 deaths. That’s a period of 124 years! Let’s compare that with 7 million deaths per year from smoking. Priorities? I’m perplexed, really really perplexed!

Mike Munsey, Victor

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