It isn't just because I smoke...  

wellendowed553 37M
28 posts
7/6/2006 6:38 pm

Last Read:
9/26/2006 8:13 am

It isn't just because I smoke...

The surgeon general came out with the latest results regarding the health effects of second hand smoke…it made the front page of a couple of newspapers by me. This, in itself, is not ground breaking by any means. I think that you had probably lived in a hole for the past couple years if you haven’t heard something somewhere talking about how breathing second hand smoke is not healthy and can cause as many problems as smoking cigarettes themselves. I don’t dispute this fact. But the release of these “new” findings (it’s my understanding that researchers used data from previously published research, but this is still a valid research method) has re-ignited the smoking ban debate in many places. Several larger cities have already banned smoking in public buildings, workplaces, and in some cases restaurants and bars. Hell, from what I understand, you can only smoke inside your house in California.

Despite all of the arguments pro or against the smoking bans, there is one argument that I don’t really hear to often. Why does our government (local, state, or federal) assume that they have the power to tell us when and where we can do a thing? Let’s look at emanate domain, for example. If a city wants to allow a company to build an office building or a factory, but the land best suited for the structure is a citizen’s privately owned property. If the landowner refused to sell the company the land, the company would normally just say “Oh well…” and move on to a different town with a suitable building site. But if the town or county officials believe that having the company build in their town would have badly needed economic benefits for the town, the town/county can seize that citizens land for the purpose of selling/giving it to the company to develop. They may be obligated to give the landowner “fair market value” compensation for the land, or they may not have to give the landowner anything. This country was founded by people who were sick and tired of governments telling them what to do. America was one of the first countries that recognized private ownership rights. Now we are taking land from people because the economic gains of building a car plant or Wal-Mart out weigh the land owner’s right to possess private property? Is this something that should be happening in a country who believes in protecting it citizens so much, that the judicial system is based upon letting 10 guilty people go free rather than put 1 innocent person in jail?

We are all able to make our own decisions. If you go into a smoke filled bar or restaurant, you have the choice to stay there or to go to a different bar with out smoke. If you go to a bar with a small child (this seems to happen a lot around me), bear in mind that the kid may not be able to make the same choices that you can…and for the kid’s health, they probably shouldn’t be in a bar. Smoking bans in the workplace is understandable, but it should be voluntary. Bar tenders and wait staff may be subjected to second hand smoke on a daily basis, and some of these employees may not be able to readily find work elsewhere if they don’t want to be around smoke. Consideration needs to be made for these people who may not have too many other choices about where to work, an adequately maintained air filtration system could greatly reduce the risk to these employees.

We need to be extremely careful when it comes to issues that could lead to the government making laws about how private citizens lead our lives. The government does have a responsibility to establish laws regulating public/environmental health, but not individual health. Here is the way I see it…

If you don’t think that cigarette smoke (second or first hand) isn’t dangerous, you probably also think that this whole global warming thing is just a marketing tool used by swim suit industry. The warnings printed on the side of a box of smokes are all true, there isn’t something that the surgeon general of California knows that the rest of us don’t know. Smokers, albeit addicted, have a choice every time they light up. If smokers (and I’m included in this group) choose to smoke despite the warnings, then that is their (my) choice and no one should be able to tell them to do otherwise as long as they are more than 3 feet away. Capitalistic economics works…if consumers prefer bars/restaurants that don’t allow smoking, then more of those bars will become established and will be profitable. People do complain about how bars/restaurants have cigarette smoke, but there are alternatives for them. People who do smoke will probably still go to the bars that allow smoking. We don’t need laws telling us how to run our businesses outside the realm of monopolization and price gorging. I am hesitant to vote in favor of and law that eliminates choices that we as citizens ought to be making on our own, regardless of my personal choices on the matter. This extends to more than just the public smoking issue; it includes abortion, censorship, gay marriage, and illegal drugs. People making their own choices on these other issues do so after they weigh their options, and then they choose which option is best for them. We as a society should not be making these choices for someone by eliminating one of the options that they would have. For every choice we vote away and put into the hands of the government, we take one step closer to losing what makes this country great…our right to make our own choices about our lives. Just because potential laws may reflect your personal/religious opinions, does not mean that we all should have to live our lives according to your morals or values; that’s how a monarch system works, not a Republic.

feistybadgirl 45F
11 posts
7/6/2006 7:40 pm

I myself (without getting into the hour long thought process you had lol) think that the issue with smoking is this....if someone next to me has a beer, or a effects me in no way at all. If 3 people at a table 4 feet from me (if you get lucky enough to be sat close to the smoking section)light up a cigarette, I still have to smell it, inhale the smoke, and it ruins the taste of my dinner. So for me, thats the issue. When you light up, everyone around you has to smell it, or smell like it when they leave. Im not against smoking, I just dont want it around me.

wellendowed553 replies on 7/11/2006 3:54 pm:
Good point...I don't think that anyones habits ought to be pushed on someone else. I do think that the smoking/non-smoking sections of many restaurants are not adequately separated. Especially today when a lot of people are more knowledgeable about smoking and second hand smoke. Personally, I don't like restaurants where I think that my smoke may be going into the non-smoking sections and bothering people (or families...especially children). But my question would be...does the free market economy compensate for your dissatisfaction with your dining experience making a smoking ban a mute point? In other words...Do you go back to the restaurants that allow smoking knowing that it could possibly ruin your meal?

rm_B_O_H_I_C_A 54M
342 posts
7/10/2006 6:30 pm

Knowing several resteraunt and bar owners in Appleton, I think that no matter what type of business it is there needs to be a level playing field. Since Appleton and Grand Chute are often across the street from each other, the Appleton businesses are losing customers who choose to smoke in the other businesses. If there was a state-wide ban, all businesses would then be equal. To me, that seems fair. And yes, I'm a smoker.

wellendowed553 replies on 7/11/2006 4:03 pm:
Interesting thought...
Our economy is loosely based on the assumption that all businesses are on a level playing field, but the reality is that there are different playing fields depending on the size of the company. I agree that the bars/restaurants ought to be subject to the same laws and regulations. Hopefully it wouldn't be a blanket regulation, because I have always fantasized about opening an old style cigar bar...with leather furniture, walk-in humidor, and an oak bar. Well, making it a private club would probably be the way to go anyway.

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