Archive for the ‘Smoking’ Category

A Ban on Smoking, a Ban on Freedom?

August 8, 2007

Okay, so maybe my title is a bit over the top, but bear with me…

While working on some chores around the house, my dad tuned into one of his favorite conservative talk shows, something along the Limbaugh/Savage lines. I can never help but listen, even though the extreme conservatives such as these really disgust me sometimes (about as much as the extreme liberals do!). Anyway, I can’t remember which host was on at the time, but I recall a really great point that he brought up about the smoking ban. Cities that seek to ban smoking, even outside, are trying to control personal choice. Legislators are saying, “I don’t like what your choices are because they’re not the same as mine.”

Hm, kind of makes sense. I can completely understand why smoking is being prohibited in bars and restaurants. First of all, it’s just plain unpleasant for nonsmokers. I know personally that excessive and confined cigarette smoke burns my throat pretty badly and even makes my stomach hurt quite a bit. Also… it reeks. You go home smelling like and ashtray soaked in semi truck exhaust. Second, I can see that very concentrated cigarette smoke may make a meal somewhat unpleasant.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, research is showing that second hand cigarette smoke is very harmful to one’s health. This means that the servers, bar tenders, etc. that are working 6, 7, 8 hour shits engulfed in smoke face hazards to their health. Thus, to me it makes sense to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

However…banning smoking outside…. Hm.

Well that just doesn’t sound quite right to me. While I hate smoking with every inch of my being, I can’t say that it would be inherently fair of me to prohibit someone from smoking outside. I mean… come on. Out in the open air, it’s really not that big of a deal. Sure, a nonsmoker may occasionally get a puff in the face blown carelessly by a gentle breeze, but I can assure you, there are a lot worse odors out on the city streets than distilled second hand smoke.

I just feel that, as a non smoker, it isn’t my place to tell someone that he or she cannot smoke in the outdoors just because it causes me mild and momentary discomfort, and along those same lines, it is CERTAINLY not the place of the government to say that very same thing. In no way should the government be able to step in and say that smoking outside is banned as it causes no one extreme pain or harm… perhaps except for the actual smokers themselves. Ha.

So, my opinion, in short: Smoking ban indoors, good (due to health hazards and moderate/prolonged discomfort for others).
Smoking ban outdoors, bad (due to minimal health risks and discomfort for others).