Letter: Uncle Sam has no say in smoking

Editor:

I would simply like to remind Paul Olsen (“The right to smoke is guaranteed nowhere,” Feb. 6) that the U.S. government and the Utah government do not allow me to do anything. The function of government in a constitutional republic (not a democracy or fascist state) is to protect the rights of individuals, not to outline acceptable behavior.

The specific rights outlined in the Bill of Rights are merely a short list of the most important rights. My rights as a human are innumerable, and I would like to assure Olsen that smoking cigarettes is among them, along with whistling, turning cartwheels and writing letters to the editor.

Olsen is correct in his assertion that I do not have the right to harm others, but his assertion that smoking cigarettes necessarily harms others is not correct. I would like to add that all rights carry responsibility, and in the specific case of smoking cigarettes, it is the responsibility of the individual smoker to ensure that his or her smoke does not harm others.

Tyrel MarshallSenior, Physics