Jordan Baer’s Letter Regarding the Smoking Ban

Dear Editor

From now until November 8th, Evansville residents have had the opportunity to go to the polls and let their voices be heard on a number of important issues facing the River City. I hope you will make sure to take a few moments of your time to go to the polls as well.

Some residents have expressed to me that they do not feel like it is important for them to vote, that no election has ever been decided by one vote, or that city leaders do not care about their opinions on key issues. These residents are wrong. This current election will likely be life or death for some of our residents.

As a child, my grandpa Hobert Cooper use to tell me stories about his construction job at Industrial Contractors. He talked about the blistering weather conditions he would have to endure to make sure projects such as Roberts Stadium, the Executive Inn, and the Westside Schnucks were built on time. He couldn’t afford to miss a day or these projects would fall behind.

But even grandpa was no match for the wickedness of cigarette smoking. By his late 50’s, grandpa contracted emphysema due to his chronic smoking over the years. He lived in an apartment complex that had 3 flights of stairs in it. Grandpa was never able to make it up all 3 flights without first sitting down on the bottom steps for over half an hour to catch his breath. In 1993, grandpa lost his battle with emphysema.
Many locals would argue that this path was his choice and his alone. Once more, they are wrong. Every restaurant, hotel, or other public venue he went to lit up a cigarette. Contrary to what the smoking industry wants you to believe, you can’t contain cigarette smoke. Comedian Rene Hicks, who is coming to town on November 5th, contracted lung cancer without smoking one single cigarette.

For four years, I attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Located in the heart of Tobacco Country, Lexington made a lot of people mad when they enacted their smoking ban. They thought Lexington would fall behind Louisville, and they feared many tourists and young professionals would avoid Lexington.

Today, all of those fears are non-existent in Lexington. Businesses are thriving, local residents are overwhelmingly satisfied with their clean air, and there is little to no opposition against the smoking ban. Lexington’s ban was so successful that Louisville had no choice but to adopt their own smoking ban.
Do you value your right to clean air? Do you take seriously the battle to eradicate lung cancer? Do you believe that Evansville should be competitive with Louisville and Lexington? If so, then take a stand by going to the polls and letting your voice be heard.

As a member of the group Smokefree Communities led by Martha Caine, we have had the following candidates take the following positions on an Evansville smoking ban…
All candidates were invited to attend meetings to voice their opinions, these are the candidates that attended or prepared a statement.


Rick Davis-Would sign anything the city council passed as long as it wasn’t weaker than current ordinance.
Lloyd Winnecke-Would push for strongest ordinance possible.

City Council

At Large
Connor O’Daniel supports a comprehensive ordinance.
Pete Swaim supports a comprehensive ordinance.
Michelle Mercer supports a comprehensive ordinance.
Jonathan Weaver is still undecided on the issue, but would want to exempt private clubs if he were to vote to strengthen the ordinance.
Dan Adams, submitted the statement from his website which reads as follows: As a retired cardiac surgeon and health care advocate, I fully support a smoke free-in-public policy for our community. I support this clean air concept not only from a health perspective, but also in an effort to promote economic development and tourism in Evansville

Ward 1
Dan McGinn supports a comprehensive ordinance.

Ward 2
Lon Walters supports a comprehensive ordinance.

Ward 3
Stephanie Brinkerhoff Riley supports a comprehensive ordinance.
Alan Leibengunth, although he had mixed beliefs and prefers “friendly pressure”, said he would vote for a comprehensive ordinance.

Ward 5
Brent Grafton supports a comprehensive ordinance.
John Friend supports a comprehensive ordinance

Ward 6
Shaun Short supports a stronger ordinance only if it exempted private clubs, but is open to change with further information.
Al Lindsey, supports a comprehensive ordinance.

On election day, fight for those who will fight for a smoking ban!
Jordan Baer

2 Responses to Jordan Baer’s Letter Regarding the Smoking Ban

  1. 292 Reply

    November 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Thanks Jordan. This nonsense of a smoking ban hurting business was started and is being promoted by the tobacco industry for their obvious benefit. We all know the dangers of tobacco use of all kinds. How much longer are we going to stupidly deny the fact that we are causing disease in ourselves and our fellow man not to mention robbing us all of millions of dollars a year in medical, pharmaceutical, governmental, and insurance, costs in addition to business productivity losses due to missed work. It is our health and our money. Think people.

  2. E. L. "Lon" Walters Reply

    November 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks Jordan. As you know I am a smoker but a comprehensive ordinance is the right thing to do. It is not about me, but what is right.

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