To the Editor,
The recent article regarding the smoking ban had a number of twists. I do have to agree with Health Department officials there hasn't been one shred of empirical data to support the claim of lost jobs and revenue, only innuendos. In the overall sense of things there will probably be a few impacts but not in a devastating way that business owners are suggesting. Everyone seems to be running around like Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling. This tells me everyone is afraid of change.
The right thing to do is implement a smoking ban on all indoor businesses regardless of a liquor license. Giving exemptions to those who sell liquor is saying continue doing what you're doing. Change is coming so either be prepared to change or maybe you shouldn't be in business in the first place.
I am also in favor of revisiting the outdoor smoking issue.
Has anyone stopped to think about what truly is going on in Hancock County? Has anyone given thought to why our young people never return to Hancock County after finishing school or college? The fact is simple; there are no jobs. To say we want to keep our families and kids here is simply ridicules. The majority of jobs are at Mountaineer and/or cafes all of which are centered on gambling, drinking and smoking. Boy, doesn't that make you want to come back to Hancock County - great job opportunities! Other cities have implemented smoking bans and have been tremendously successful. There are plenty of smart people in this county to create and reinvent businesses without the effects of smoking.
The solution to the problem is to think outside the box. You have to look at creating new opportunities at Mountaineer and the cafes to draw people in. Businesses can surely come up with ways to attract non-smokers. Opportunities can be found by remembering there are more non-smokers than smokers. However, if you allow smoking to continue nothing changes and eventually there will be a loss of jobs and revenue.