University of Minnesota Cancer Center study on hospitality workers shows the statewide smoking ban implemented in Oct. 2007 is not only good public policy, it's good health care policy. ... The results show the workers had an 83 percent reduction in the level of continine, and an 85 percent reduction in the level of NNAL. Continine levels indicate a level of nicotine exposure and NNAL levels show exposure to a "potent lung cancer-causing toxin" according to U of M researchers. ...

It's hard to argue that the "Freedom to Breathe Act" didn't or wouldn't have positive health impacts on those who work in bars and restaurants. But the patrons of those places also should be achieving health benefits as well. ...

The bottom line is the statewide smoking ban pays benefits immediately in lower health care costs for all Minnesotans. Although the smoking ban remains controversial, with some bars now trying to circumvent it with so-called "theater nights," it's clear the ban is good public policy that is saving the public money and protecting the health of workers.

THE FREE PRESS OF MANKATO, MARCH 27

Bachmann wrong to dismiss global warming

When we elect members to Congress, it's with the hope that they will serve with a firm grasp on reality and with a mind open enough to at least try to solve even our most vexing of problems. That doesn't seem to be the case with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., at least on the global warming issue. ...

Bachmann ... has introduced a bill with the light-hearted title, "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act." It's an attempt to repeal a nationwide effort to phase out conventional light bulbs in favor of the longer-lasting, more-efficient compact fluorescent lights, the Star Tribune reported.

Bachmann argues that she is trying to preserve homeowners' and others' rights to use whatever kind of light bulb they want -- even if it costs them more in electrical expenses. We're not going to fight her on that, although it's a little silly to discourage the use of more efficient bulbs. People probably should be able to have some choice in how they light their homes. But there are things behind Bachmann's bill ... that make us question her credibility. The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that Bachmann recently told a meeting of Sherburne County Republicans that any human connection to global warming is "voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax."

It is unfortunate to hear a congresswoman simply sweep aside reams of evidence under the rug of a conspiracy theory. It does not become her position, nor the debate. ...

MARSHALL INDEPENDENT, MARCH 27