NO LAUGHING MATTER

I, along with millions of other Americans, have enjoyed Dave Barry's columns over the years and usually find them to be painfully funny. Dave did not disappoint in finding the humor in the war on tobacco ["The Spoils of War," September 22]. I agree that having North Carolina spend $41 million of its tobacco settlement funds (funds earmarked for education and treatment to prevent tobacco use and to address its damages) to help the production and marketing of tobacco is so ridiculous that it's humorous. Despite this and other wacky state expenditures, there's actually a serious side to the fight against tobacco-related disease and death. If that money isn't used to fight back against the tobacco epidemic, we will lose a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wipe out the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease in this country.

While Dave has skillfully found the absurdity in the war on tobacco, the suffering and death caused by tobacco are just not funny.

Cheryl G. Healton

American Legacy Foundation

Washington

LOOK, DON'T TOUCH

The Fall Travel Issue [September 22] was a wonderful read. I was dismayed, however, to find, in the article promoting visits to the remote Utah desert ["Heart of Rock"], passages that indicate the author's children were encouraged to remove, and in fact did remove, artifacts they found on their hike. A primary goal of any responsible outdoor enthusiast is to leave the terrain just as they found it, so others may have a memorable experience as well. Instead, the author sent the message that it is okay to take whatever we want, regardless of ownership or appropriateness.

Jennifer Larson

Hyattsville

CORRECTION: The name Everett Ruess was misspelled in the "Heart of Rock" article.

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