Butt out

To the Editor:

I was surprised by the Town of Bar Harbor’s decision, with minimal input it appears, to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in the town parks.

These cigarettes have been responsible for a lot of people, including myself, being able to finally kick a very bad addiction.

While a lot of people continue to use electronic cigarettes with nicotine as they cut back, many eventually successfully quit by using non-nicotine filters or liquids depending on which type of electronic cigarette they are using.

They are odorless, leave little or no waste behind and are legal.

While I understand the concern of some that the long-term effects of using electronic cigarettes are unknown, the long-term effects of using real cigarettes are well known and deadly not only to those who smoke, but also to those who breathe in second-hand smoke. Electronic cigarettes are essentially water vapor. Nicotine in and of itself, while addictive, is not the carcinogen in cigarettes. I feel the decision was short-sighted and lacked research and input from those who use electronic cigarettes.

Terry Stanley’s letter to the editor in last week’s Islander regarding the request by the Mount Desert Island school systems’ director of special education for a paid leave of absence failed to take into account that stress can be a real illness. The employee in question appears to have requested the leave in the hope that she will avoid the possibility of long-term disability at a cost to the school system in insurance and other benefits.

While I agree that what the administrator asked for was excessive, the board asked that she return with a more modest proposal.

Perhaps a couple of written medical opinions would help the board make a decision that would benefit all. I have a lot of respect for both Stanley and the director of special education. I haven’t always agreed with either of them, but in the end, both were instrumental in my son’s education and his ability to go to college next year.

Contract negotiations should have nothing to do with individual circumstances.

Robin English


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