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About the author
Linda Kerr, whose letter appeared Nov. 7, has been selected as last month’s Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter during November.
Kerr, 59, is a nurse practitioner. She and her husband have two grown children and four grandchildren. Kerr says the fact that she is a former smoker herself has made her a passionate anti-smoking advocate; that includes volunteer work with children to keep them from starting the habit.
“I understand the addiction,” Kerr says, “and I truly know the freedom that comes from overcoming the addiction.”
Kerr received a gold-plated inscribed pen for her efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Linda Kerr’s anti-smoking letter made her November’s Golden Pen winner.

Golden Pen: November

E-cigarettes’ harms unknown

Sharon Kirkpatrick (Letters, Oct. 30) says it’s “incomprehensible” that the public should have concern over electronic cigarette use in a public place.

It is equally hard to understand why we shouldn’t. These are made by the tobacco industry, whose products cause the death of 438,000 Americans each year, hardly an industry to entrust with our health and well-being. The FDA warns that e-cigarettes contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. The health effects of secondhand exposure to the vapors released are not known.

Kirkpatrick took Olive Garden patron Jan Moore to task for quietly noticing when the restaurant manager asked a guest to leave because he refused to put an e-cigarette away while in the restaurant. She told Moore to “get a life.”

I know a bit about Moore’s life. She is a registered nurse and asthma educator. She has cared for children and adults with asthma for 18 years. She knows the harm and complications secondhand smoke and vapors cause. She works to make the air cleaner and safer.

E-cigarettes are merely devices to hold smokers chained to the addiction and as bait to lure kids ever closer to tobacco addiction.