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Cigar smoking is still?harmful to one's health

Currently the FDA is able to regulate cigars, but there is a push from cigar manufacturers to change wording in the bill that gives it this right to exclude many types of cigars. Cigars are a tobacco product, and this exemption should not happen. The only thing that makes a cigar different from a cigarette is its wrapper and the amount of tobacco in it. One cigar contains about seven times the amount of tobacco compared to that of a cigarette. It still contains addictive nicotine and cigar smokers are still exposed to the same-cancer causing chemicals that are found in cigarettes. Second-hand smoke is greater with a cigar too, so those near a cigar smoker are at risk for the same health problems associated with second-hand cigarette smoke.

Cigar smokers who are interested in quitting smoking can find help through the NY Smokers Quitline (1-866-NY-QUITS or www.nysmokefre.com). Smokers can also contact their doctor for assistance with quitting. Doctors can offer brief counseling and prescribe medications. Similar to quitting cigarettes , nicotine replacement therapies (the patch, gum, etc.) and prescriptions like Zyban and Chantix are effective and beneficial to those trying to quit.

Sadly, cigars are often viewed as being safer than a cigarette when in actuality they are not. Those who smoke cigars (and cigarettes) and would like to quit need to be made aware of what resources are available to them to help them quit.

Heather Lynn Bashaw, coordinator

Tobacco Cessation Center

Roswell Park Cancer Institute

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Public should not be asked?to contribute to wire walk

So Nik Wallenda is now asking for donations for his "daredevil" walk. To ask for money from an economically challenged region is pretty ignorant for one. $5 to $10 to get a picture of the walk or a poster, which might cover the cost of printing and distributing them. A hundred dollars will get you mentioned in an autobiography. He cites "many unforeseen costs" that have come up. Nik, maybe you should have covered all of this prior to committing to this "stunt." Ordinary people have to deal with this on a day-to-day basis, but we find ways to meet our obligations without asking for charity. I fail to see the draw in watching a man walk across a cable where he is attached to a harness. Where's the daredevil in that? Sure, it's a big event for the region but it should not come at additional expense to the public.

Bill Pitz

West Seneca

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Improving sand traps?wastes taxpayer dollars

In the May 27 article, "Rough Times at Amherst Golf Courses," News staff reporter Sandra Tan writes, "The [Amherst] Town Board also recently agreed to borrow money to end delays in bringing the sand traps up to par."

I think borrowing any amount of money to improve the sand traps at the Audubon golf course is a careless waste of Amherst taxpayer money. It is indeed the case that the sand traps at the Audubon golf course show years of neglect and are a disgrace they have not been raked in years and they are full of weeds and grass. What is needed to clean up the neglected sand traps, though, is not more money, but simply hours of labor and careful attention.

In the late 1980s, I was a grounds crew worker for the golf course at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. for about 2- 1/2 years. One of my routine tasks was to rake all the sand traps each day; this requires nothing more technologically advanced than a rake and a willing employee. If a sand trap is raked by hand at least twice a week, no weeds will grow in it. We had to rake approximately 140 sand traps and this filled an eight-hour day for about three workers.

The Audubon golf course has approximately 25 sand traps, so regular sand trap maintenance using two to three workers should take approximately two hours a day, twice a week. Such basic sand trap maintenance as this does not require any borrowing of money.

Victoria Wulf

Williamsville

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Questioning the victim?is never the right answer

I am compelled to respond to the recent letter writer who showed such insensitivity in unjustly questioning the actions of Alix Rice herself, her friends and family prior to her death.

Her questions targeted the wrong individuals. She should have asked, Where were Dr. Corasanti's wife and friends "who knew and loved him" when they allowed him to drive home intoxicated? Could not one of his friends socializing with him not driven him home safely? True friends, or a concerned spouse, take the keys from the person who has been drinking and offer them a ride home. . The writer's prayers were answered with the admission of Alix's distraught parents that they did not hate Dr. Corasanti for having taken the life of their only child. Maybe now adults will think twice before driving home drunk. Maybe spouses will no longer tolerate their loved ones "taking such risks."

The writer had the audacity to question Alix's mode of transportation.

Not all teens who have part-time jobs have the luxury of a vehicle, so they walk, bike or even use a long board to get to and from work. They should be commended for their self-reliance.

In closing, unlike the writer who hopes that Alix was half the person her friends remember her to be, I know that God did his judging and welcomed Alix into heaven with open arms. Now if Dr. James G. Corasanti is half the humanitarian that his defense attorneys claimed he is, he too will be welcomed into heaven when his time comes.

Alix, a truly caring, compassionate young woman will be there to greet him, with forgiveness.

Patricia A. Tambacas

Williamsville

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Health care is getting?more difficult to obtain

I am writing to protest the latest trend in health care, which is doctors denying treatment to patients because the doctor doesn't like the patient's health insurance. I contacted my doctor's office for an appointment.

While I was holding for the appointments desk, I listened to a recording telling me that they were no longer accepting no-fault insurance, so If I get in a car accident, I'll have to find a new doctor.

Someone else I know just had to change physical therapists because the one he was seeing no longer takes Independent Health. Another one had to shop around for a doctor who would accept workers compensation benefits. It seems like more and more providers are refusing to take one or more kinds of insurance.

It's bad enough when people can't get treatment because they have no insurance; now we're being denied treatment because we have the wrong insurance. We are supposed to have the most advanced health care system in the world, which is great, as long as you have the right insurance. But too many in this country are getting third world health care, or none at all.

Curtis J. Ahrens Jr.

Hamburg