Get R!EAL sets record straight

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To the editor:

Although we feel your editorial in the March 5 edition of the Craig Daily Press had some valid points, we also feel that your information about our intentions was incomplete. We agree that the best hope for reducing the effects of second-hand smoke is to reduce the number of people who take up smoking in the first place. We realize that Village Inn isn't the only restaurant in Craig that permits smoking. However, we believe that Village Inn is highly prone toward family gatherings and we think they have really good food. We applaud Village Inn's efforts to reduce the effects of second-hand smoking with glass partitions and by not allowing underage youth in the smoking section without an adult. In addition, we concur with your idea of having a citywide ban on smoking in public places.

Although you say the intention of the editorial was not to discourage us, the members of Moffat County Get R!EAL felt put down, condemned, and discouraged from trying to make a difference. In fact, our intentions were not to violate anyone's individual rights, but to make a statement about the dangers of second-hand smoke. We have research that says that second-hand smoke kills 53,000 non-smokers every year in the United States and our intentions are focused around this.

The Get R!EAL movement is not against people who use tobacco. It's against the people who push tobacco. The tobacco industry spends $2.8 million every week promoting its deadly product in Colorado.

Our smoke-free demonstration was intended to be a peaceful one encouraging family and friends to pay for a complete sit-down dinner and be treated with dessert from Get R!EAL. Smoke-free dining makes CENTS. We have research that shows that restaurant revenues hold steady and may even increase after going smoke-free.

Your editorial implied that since we're too young to even buy cigarettes, that we're also too young to make a difference. However, we believe that although we may not be able to buy cigarettes, we do feel the effects of second-hand smoke. Your editorial suggested that we are too young to make a difference, but change starts with the younger generations.

Equally as important, the comment about our group being misguided is irrational. Get R!EAL has accomplished many activities such as picking up cigarette butts around town, encouraging teens to be smoke-free, presentations at Craig Middle School, doing research about product and sign placement at area convenience stores, monitoring tobacco use in the media, and sending members to state-wide meetings and conferences. Our smoke-free demonstration was part of a state-wide event designed to let businesses know that there are people who would prefer to eat and socialize in smoke-free environments and we have rights, too.

Sincerely,

Members of Moffat County Get R!EAL

(JoJo La, Sean Smith, Jordon Moncrief, Leticia Duarte, Deidra Gray, Amber Delay, Devyn Reece, Clara Stiefel, Heather Brown, Jenna Stiefel, Karli Bockelman and Katie Kinkaid)

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