Letters to the Editor


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Walk the talk and drop the butt

Everyone talks about giving up smoking cigarettes, but no one does anything about it. Even the scary new packaging graphics won't help. Who's afraid of the big, bad graphic? A government report last month revealed that of all the smokers last year who wanted to quit, only 6 percent succeeded — and 50 percent never even tried.

Here's a three-step method that worked for me and will work for you. Step one is to imprint on your mind a date you'll never forget, such as your birthday. For me, the date is Aug. 25, 1981, the day I quit cigarettes forever. Step two is to initiate on that same day two constructive but easier feel-good activities. For me, it was a short run and a change in my lunch regimen, a big salad and only that. It's do-able, satisfying, and most importantly, takes your mind off the biggie — ditching the ciggie.

Step three is to count the days every day and verbalize to yourself: "Today is the second day after I quit smoking." "Today starts the second week since I quit smoking." "Today I quit smoking a whole month." Say it every day. You can quit because you have a method with positive daily reinforcement — Step 3 — and a way of taking your mind off the cold turkey quit — Step 2.

It's always the right day to start. For me it was quite a few decades after I knew, after I knew without a doubt that I had to stop. My parents had made me aware of pioneering research at Johns Hopkins in 1934 that documented that smoking cigarettes resulted in a high incidence of lung cancer. Well, I finally listened. Now you listen.

You will thank me. But do not send money. Unless, of course, it's another easy feel-good action that will help you stay the course.

Norm Vance
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Anti-pot bill may help legalization

The governor introduced a bill — HSB 552 — that so blatantly ignores the role of actual science in our lawmaking process that I can't help but urge you to oppose it.

The bill is an overreaction to the 2010 decision by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to place medical marijuana in Schedule II of our state's law. This bill seeks to revoke the authority of the board of pharmacy to make decisions as they relate to medical marijuana and to reclassify medical marijuana as a Schedule I substance under our state's laws.

Make no mistake, for the seriously ill in our state, the decision by the Board of Pharmacy did not provide relief (as pharmacists are still unable to prescribe marijuana because of federal law), but it did provide hope. If our state's Pharmacy Board found no reason why the seriously ill shouldn't have access to medical marijuana, surely our state's lawmakers would react by removing criminal penalties for the seriously ill who use and possess medical marijuana under their doctors' recommendations, right?

Please oppose this bill. Politicians with no medical training should not undo pharmacological decisions made by qualified pharmacists. Instead, our lawmakers should seek to provide relief to the seriously ill in our state by passing medical marijuana legislation.

Trust our best pharmacists, oppose HSB 552, and support a sensible medical-marijuana bill.

Our elected officials obviously need to be better educated on medical marijuana and it's true benefits. Please help by contacting your representatives today.

Jason Kersten
Iowa resident

Come to the movies, discuss social issues

Everyone attending the free movie series at the Senior Center every second Sunday afternoon and following Monday evening is aware from the movies and following discussions that we find heterosexual people, lesbians, gay men, and transgender people in every tribe and continent and every century. In December, we saw Christians and how the various denominations treated their LGBT members in For the Bible Tells Me So. In January, we saw treatment of LGBT members of the Hebrew faith in Trembling Before God. On Feb. 12 and 13, we will see Muslim LGBT people from 12 countries, speaking nine languages (with subtitles, of course) in A Jihad for Love.

Sadly, from the news accounts, we have been led to believe that "jihad" means "war." But this movie reclaims the Islamic concept of "jihad" as "an inner struggle" or "to strive in the path of God."

In presenting these free movies, Senior Center staff and volunteers seek to bring both entertainment and information to 100 percent of the community, so that we can all understand and appreciate each other better and treat each other gently and fairly, with equality as human beings, residents of Planet Earth.

Everyone is invited, all ages, all sexual orientations. See you there.

Elsie Gauley Vega
Iowa City resident

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