Officials’ comments on smoking, seat belts ‘less than responsible’

Published 5:59 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

I’m writing to express my support for a countywide smoking ban in Boyle County. In the July 16 issue of the Advocate-Messenger, Judge-Executive Hunt and magistrates Sammons and Short stated several opinions that I find to be less than responsible, especially considering their leadership roles in the government of our county.

Judge Hunt mentions that it’s “government over-reach” for the county to pass a smoking ban. I believe that the primary function of government is to promote the Common Good. Public health improvements that result from reduced exposure to secondhand smoke definitely qualify as promoting the Common Good, therefore, a proper function of government.

A business that is smoke free is welcoming to everyone, smokers and nonsmokers alike, resulting in increased revenue for that business. Health insurance costs are also reduced when smoke-free ordinances take effect. It IS a forward thinking economic development strategy to have a countywide smoking ban. Companies exploring the possibility of locating in Boyle County would find a smoking ban to be a positive feature of our community.

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There are laws and regulations that individuals may not agree with or “like” but which exist to promote the Common Good. Seat-belt laws are a good example.

Judge Hunt complains about seat-belt laws, stating that if he doesn’t wear one, he’s the only one it affects. If he goes through his windshield it’s his “choice!” I would remind Judge Hunt that head injuries sustained from car crashes are often fatal. If he survives, there are life-long disabilities associated with brain injury that would affect his ability to continue serving as judge-executive, thereby affecting Boyle County’s government, not to mention his abilities to participate fully in the life of his family.

Judge Hunt’s opinions could negatively affect the seat-belt use of young adults in our community because he is a person of influence that many people respect and admire. He has the right to hold any opinion he chooses about seat belt laws BUT I submit that, when speaking as judge-executive, it is irresponsible of him to state opposition to these laws in a public forum.

Jane S. Brantley