Smoked out, revisited

Wow, this week’s post about Seattle’s possible smoke-free-ness for bars & clubs generated lots of good comments.  For the record, I wanted to address a few things.

  1. This issue is about restricting smoking in certain enclosed public spaces, not banning it outright, which would be silly (not to mention impossible).  This is not “Prohibition” like they tried with alcohol many years ago.  This issue also has nothing to do with carcinogens in the water supply.  Cigarette smoke would probably be low on the list if we were talking about environmental poisons in general…but we’re not. 🙂
  2. Yes, alcohol is a drug, and personally it’s my drug of choice.  However, sipping my drink does not affect everyone else around me…it doesn’t sting their eyes, it doesn’t make them cough, it doesn’t make them stink.  Of course, I’m talking about responsible drinking.  If I get completely shitfaced, things can get unpleasant!
  3. Figures on deaths from secondhand smoke have definitely been inflated, but since the health problems related to smoking are well-known, there must be some risk involved for me, the secondhand guy.  And regardless of the dangers, the smoke still isn’t pleasant to be around.

Having said all that, I gotta say that this is one issue that challenges my Libertarian leanings and makes me favor some kind of legislation.  Normally I’m not one to say “Why, there oughta be a law!”, but in this case I think there probably oughta be.  Anyway, today’s Seattle PI has reader responses which are quite interesting. 🙂

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  1. Having experience being both a smoker and a non-smoker, I see both sides. Also, I’m old, so I still remember the bad-old-days when people smoked everywhere – in the office, in supermarkets, in elevators, in airports, in airplanes, in restaurants… my high school even had a smoking area – for the students! I also distinctly remember smoking in the halls at my university and one professor who sat by his window while he lectured so that he could chain smoke.
    You have to admit, things are a lot better now.

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  2. This has happened in Australia, and I for one (being a non-smoker), think it’s great… why should I have to end up coughing and having a sore throat at the end of a night just because I wanted to see a live band?
    As you said… drinking, which is a drug which in some forms and quanities does us harm, is only affecting the one drinking it… unless I spit on those nearby every time I take a sip… it’s nothing like smoking.

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  3. It should be up to the bar owner whether his place is smoke-free or not. No middle ground either. No little two-booth sections that are non-smoking or just smoking. That way if someone knowingly goes into a smoking club they can’t bitch and complain about their clothes and hair smelling like smoke and about receiving secondhand smoke. The same way if a smoker knowingly goes into a non-smoker club they can’t bitch and complain about not being able to light up. That way, word would spread around in regards to which club is which and people would know beforehand what they are getting themselves into. Hell, even the local papers could have non-smoking, smoking sections for bar listings or a website you could go to and see before actually making plans for the evening. Someday I envision a society where people of difference, no matter what they maybe, can live hand-in-hand, skipping and singing along in a merry way. Also, someone should come out with Peanut-Butter Pop-tarts, why has this so obvious idea been ignored for so long.

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