Kick Butts Day was observed March 20, promoted by Tobacco Free Kids. This is a national activism day to empower youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco -- a worthy effort given the influence of Big Tobacco in our state and others.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, adults experiencing a mental illness or substance-use disorder smoke at a 94 percent higher rate than adults without these disorders. In other words, they alone account for nearly 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked.
But the connection may not stop there. Smoking in young adults is seen as one possible indicator of substance abuse, or at minimum, a gateway to substance issues. This may partially account for the increasing concern regarding smoking in public spaces and where families or youth come together.
Tennessee has a 1-800-QUIT-NOW helpline with free counseling and other assistance for those wanting one-to-one help quitting tobacco. While a free and quality service, Tennessee's quit line is greatly under-utilized. I would hope these counselors could stay busy. The need is great.
Makes you wonder whose "butt" is getting kicked.
KEVIN LUSK, Chairman, Tobacco Free Chattanooga
I have followed with great interest the articles concerning replacement/new schools in the Hamilton County system, especially those for Ganns Middle Valley and Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts. I was a member of the original faculty of CSLA in 1992 and taught there for three years.
The building was barely adequate then, and I taught music classes in a decrepit portable classroom, which is still being used. I have friends on staff at Ganns and have volunteered for their Arts Explosion week in the past and have seen the building's condition.
No doubt these schools need to be replaced if for nothing but health and safety. However, I have yet to see any call for a replacement of Soddy-Daisy Middle School, which my daughter attended. She spent every class in seventh grade in a portable classroom, with the exception of band. The building was constructed in 1960 and has the same problems as the other schools. It too, should be replaced.
ANNE HENDRIX, Hixson
I would like to thank the Chattanooga Times Free Press for the front-page article that was published on March 19 regarding the resentment Sister Mary Graham and the Lincoln Park residents feel about the Lincoln Park community being dismantled.
The TFP not only featured the views of former council member and city engineer Bill Payne, but you were able to capture the unjust, dictatorial and heartless manner the Lincoln Park community is feeling with this development to extend Central Avenue to Riverside Drive.
TIFFANY RANKINS, Secretary, Lincoln Park Association