CVS deserves praise

for dropping cigarettes

Kudos to CVS for deciding to stop selling cigarettes, to side with human health rather than profiting from human death.

I speak as a former, almost lifelong smoker. I started at 14, and I did not quit for 47 years, encouraged in my addiction by countless outside influences. My parents smoked, as did my grandparents, my aunts and my uncles. Ads in magazines and on radio encouraged me to keep smoking, with slogans like "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco," "Call for Phillip Morris" and "Not a Cough in a Carload."

Opera stars like Rise Stevens assured the world that smoking soothed their golden throats and made therm better singers. Movies showed us all how to look cool with cigarettes in our hands. In college, some students made tuition money as tobacco company reps, who could always be counted on for little gift packs of smokes during exam week.

I was a faithful customer. I smoked at home. I smoked while driving. I smoked while I taught philosophy classes at Richard Stockton College. I smoked in faculty meetings. I smoked in restaurants and bars. Then, in November 1979, everything changed. A routine chest X-ray revealed a spot on my right lung. Surgery followed and then a very painful period of several months recuperating. Fortunately, the doctors got it all. I survived a possibly fatal addiction.

And I got the message. I smoked my last Carlton 100 on the eve of that surgery.

I am free at last. In restaurants, I don't have to have a cigarette as an appetizer and another along with dessert. I can gloat at convenience stores where a pack costs $6 or $7. I don't smoke either in front of my grandchildren or behind their backs, nor do I give them the notion that smoking is cool - and safe.

Corporations are not all evil. CVS has decided not to be a merchant of death. So drop by your friendly neighborhood drugstore and buy a pack of gum in gratitude.

ALLEN LACY

Linwood

YMCA needed

in Atlantic County

These days, too many local teenagers are involved in drug and alcohol abuse or criminal activities. Some are experiencing severe depression leading to violence or suicide. Crime rates among juveniles are particularly high in Atlantic County.

I believe having a YMCA in Atlantic County would promote healthier living for children and teens in the area.

Studies show that kids involved in structured social and recreational activities have a lower risk of becoming involved in negative behaviors. The YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. At the "Y," youths learn about values and positive behaviors. They can experiment with their talents and interests and realize their full potential.

By bringing this program into Atlantic County, perhaps it would lower the probability of teens ending up in Harborfields, our local adolescent detention center.

LAUREN COLELLA

Galloway Township

Volunteer to help

keep beaches clean

We need to make more of an effort to keep our beaches clean. We can help by volunteering to participate in Clean Ocean Action's scheduled beach sweeps April 26 and Oct. 25.

COA reports that each beach-sweep volunteer picks up approximately 55 pieces of debris each year. That means each additional volunteer would mean 55 fewer pieces of debris on our beaches.

For 2014, the beach sweeps are scheduled rain or shine for April 26 and Oct. 25. To register for the April cleanup, go to cleanoceanaction.org.

ERIN SEER

Erma

Consider how much

Christie cost taxpayers

Let's add up the ways Gov. Chris Christie has "saved" taxpayers money.

1. Losing $400 million in federal aid to education.

2. Conducting a special election for U.S. Senate in October, which cost taxpayers $12 million, rather than letting the election occur in November, when it could have possibly cut into his victory margin.

3. All the money that funded a new position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for his friend David Wildstein.

4. The $400 million to host the Super Bowl.

5. Misuse of a state helicopter.

6. The $650-an-hour fee for his lawyer in the Bridgegate scandal.

It's time for taxpayers to wake up.

MARCIA COLMAN

Linwood