I just read “Smoking ‘rights’ don’t exist” (letter, Aug. 20), and the retired colonel makes some very good points.

He is right. The right to smoke does not exist, if you read the Constitution literally. Then again, the right to own a gun does not exist, if you read the Constitution literally. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Where does that say a 25-year-old should be able to own an AK-47 in the Bronx? Exactly what militia is he in?

Smoking makes me happy. The Constitution tells me I have the right to the pursuit of happiness. It does not give me the right to be mean or rude around others, so I have no problem not smoking on planes or in restaurants. But not being able to smoke in a bar on a military installation is kind of unfair. Soldiers cannot smoke in their barracks rooms, but married servicemembers can smoke in their government quarters. Aren’t they both federal buildings?

The other day I was standing outside by myself having a smoke, and some lady told me that my smoke was bothering her. If you do not smoke, leave us who do alone. Let us have our vice. And please don’t use the same tired argument as the colonel: “The debilitating effects of tobacco use are well-documented in health studies, right up there with the fiduciary reports dealing with any number or smoking-related cancers and other illnesses killing tens of thousands of nicotine addicts yearly.”

I don’t even know what fiduciary means, but I do know we all die. The trick is enjoying the time you live. If a legal cigarette makes me enjoy that time, shouldn’t I have that right?

James HardeeTorii Station, Okinawa

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