In response to "Smoking ‘rights’ don’t exist" (letter, Aug. 20), on the prohibition of tobacco in the U.S. Army, the writer is under the assumption that the U.S. Constitution must grant him rights. As long as they aren’t directly affecting the well-being of someone else, people have the inherent right to do whatever they please.

Oliver Wendell Holmes says, "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins." I don’t think people should be allowed to smoke indoors or in public places, but putting a ban on smoking in private places and outdoors is outrageous.

The writer is worried about carcinogens in the air? Show me a person who has gotten lung cancer from breathing outdoor air. It takes prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke to develop cancer like that. If the writer is so worried about secondhand smoke, what about the pollution created through the use of automobiles, lawn mowers, etc.?

It’s ridiculous to cite the Constitution lacking amendments that grant citizens the right to smoke when the people who wrote it were smokers. I’m sure if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had known that the federal government would become so intrusive, they would have stuck a one-liner in there giving us the right to smoke, or eat, or golf.

The argument on its health effects is moot. It isn’t the government’s role to tell me what to do, or how to treat my body. Its role is to make sure whatever I do doesn’t affect you. If the government did have an obligation to tell people how to live their lives, I would expect it to do something about the rampant obesity- and heart-related problems, because those are the real killers. Maybe limiting the food we can eat? Put a ban on McDonald’s? Where does it end?

Spc. Benjamin PinillaForward Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq

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