Letters to the Editor

Sale of flavored tobacco products must be banned to reduce adolescent addiction

The recent disturbing reports on the rise of youth addiction to e-cigarettes and spike in serious medical complications from e-cigarette use lead the Midlands American Heart Association board to request S.C. policymakers curb this public health epidemic by banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes.

Adolescents’ nicotine addiction and use of e-cigarettes have gone up dramatically, threatening to erase decades of progress we have achieved. Right now, 25,000 teenagers are using e-cigarettes in South Carolina.

With their colorful packaging and sweet, candy flavors, today’s flavored tobacco products are often hard to distinguish from candy displays in convenience stores and gas stations. Nicotine’s addictive nature makes youth and young adult tobacco use particularly troubling. This is a critical period for growth and development where the brain is especially susceptible to the effects of nicotine. Studies have shown the younger one is when they smoke their first e-cigarette, the more likely they are to be a smoker for life.

As representatives of the AHA in South Carolina, we believe banning the sale of flavored tobacco products is necessary to reduce youth addiction and build a healthier community

Anil Yallapragada


Trump elicits concern, sadness and embarrassment

I’m a proud 89-year-old American who has been concerned ever since Donald Trump was elected president. In an Oct. 2 letter to the editor, Lindsay Smith accused the Democrats of wanting to “destroy Trump” and of “being on a voyage of hatred.” I strongly disagree. I don’t hate Trump. I do have many upsetting feelings about him! I pray we can recover from the damage this president has done.

I feel concern about Trump being our president because he has no governmental experience. I felt better when respected generals joined his team, but they are all gone.

I worry for our country’s future and our reputation because Trump talks fondly of cruel dictators and badly about allies. He stands beside Russia’s leader in Helsinki and says he believes Putin over our intelligence agencies concerning Russian’s interference in our 2016 presidential elections. People around the world are watching Trump’s rambling speeches and inconsistent policies and wondering what has happened to America.

I’m embarrassed by Trump’s behavior. He calls people demeaning names, uses foul language and attacks anyone who disagrees with him. We teach children not to call people names, bully others or be rude. This president does this regularly.

I’m sad for all the division and hate that Trump has caused in our country. Trump told Lesley Stahl in an interview that he uses the term “fake news” to purposefully discredit the media. He lies and encourages hate.

Instead of referring to a Chinese saying like the Oct. 2 letter, I relate more to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor (Trump) Has No Clothes.”

Glenna Ackerman

West Columbia

Graham should move e-cigarette bill to Senate floor

As we continue to read about the teen vaping epidemic, I am reminded again that Sen. Lindsey Graham is in an important position that would allow him to lead on this issue.

There are many pieces of legislation on the federal level that would limit teens access to e-cigarettes and vaping products. Legislation to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 has gained steam amongst Republicans and Democrats alike.

But there is another bipartisan bill that would also help address this national health emergency, and that is the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act. This bill would close a current loophole that makes it easier for teens to get these vape products online because there is no physical ID check when they get delivered.

This bill has been referred to a committee Sen. Graham is the chairman of, so he should move this bill out of committee and to the Senate floor for a vote.

Patricia Bezanson


Social media spreads untruth about Turkey’s Syria operation

Social media is riddled with misconceptions surrounding Turkey’s intervention in Syria. Perhaps the most circulated is that “Turkey is at war with Kurds.” No, Turkey is not at war with Kurds! Turkey is conducting the operation against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a radical leftist/Marxist organization which the U.S. State Department recognizes as terrorists. PKK’s suicide and terror attacks have cost the lives of more than 50,000 lives in Turkey over the past 40 years.

Claiming that Turkey is at war with Kurds because of its fight against PKK is as erroneous as saying that the U.S. is at war with Muslims because of the fight against ISIS. Unfortunately, the majority of media outlets perpetuate it deliberately by using the identity of the PKK members, Kurdish, whereas they always use the name ISIS, not the identity of its members, Muslims.

The 12 million Kurdish citizens of Turkey receive the same health care, education welfare and other benefits as the rest of the population. Turkey’s Kurdish citizens own and maintain large businesses across Turkey. In fact, the eighth president of Turkey, Turgut Ozal (1989-1993), was Kurdish.

In 2014, Turkey offered the United States cooperation to eradicate ISIS. But the previous administration rejected this and decided to prop up PKK. Replacing the second-largest member of NATO with a Marxist organization known for its rampant criminal activities and aspirations to destabilize Turkey has hurt America’s interests in the Middle East. Cooperation, not friction, is to the interest of both America and Turkey.

Ali Demirdas

West Columbia

Let impeachment process and democracy work

The impeachment process against the president of the United States is about Donald Trump and what he has done and is actively doing. It is not about Joe Biden or Hunter Biden. It is not about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The impeachment process is against Donald Trump and his illegal activities that imply he believes himself to be above our laws. It is not about President Barack Obama.

It is about Donald Trump and his actions that put our national security at risk. It is not about Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party.

It is about Trump and his quid pro quo interactions with the heads of foreign countries. I believe many voters did not vote for a man who now is using the presidency to enrich himself and his family. They voted for someone who promised to “make America great again.” America was already great, and the impeachment process is about trying to keep our country that way. Let this process continue in spite of the members of Congress who assert it is not necessary. Let democracy work.

Elizabeth Jones


Future diplomatic calls will probably go unrecorded

As a Bernie Sanders’ supporter, I see Speaker Pelosi is right, it’s a sad time for the country because in the future, every Congress will insist on viewing every conversation with every diplomat. Thus driving them underground on insecure, disposable cellphones for private conversations. Like private servers whose info can’t be seen, expect more of those. Meaning we will only know what they want us to. Everything else will be on disposable cellphones, unrecorded and unknown.

Yes, Nancy, your behavior is sad for the country, now they go underground.

Charels Moran


The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.