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Voice: End smoking in city parks

July 11, 2001

On a Sunday afternoon a father, mother and their asthmatic child go on a picnic at a local park. All is well as mom sets out the plates and dad brings out the ice chest. Their child, however, is playing with another child whose parents are smoking. They are several feet away from the children, but still the smoke gets in the children's lungs. The asthmatic child begins to wheeze and cough. His afternoon is now abruptly over.

Unfortunately, this occurs more often than not. As a youth in El Centro, I am not only angered at the thought that a child cannot enjoy a day at the park, I am disappointed. I am disappointed in our City Council because they were given the opportunity to solve this problem. The Imperial County Tobacco Education Project has gone to the council several times and so has the teen coalition, Teens Against Tobacco. The council eagerly rejected the proposal to prohibit smoking in parks and recreation areas. I feel the City Council has let the youth down. The council needs to disregard its personal views and look upon the situation as a whole. They need to remind themselves, "These youth will govern us in a short while." They then need to ask themselves, "How can I/we make their future better?"

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JENNIFER LEE

El Centro

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