Independent Voices


According to a recent study by the American Council on Science and Health, second-hand smoke has been implicated in many acute illnesses. Particularly concerning is the effect on young children, as well as for highly exposed co-workers, such as in a bar or restaurant. Evidence supports an association between “SHS” and heart disease and cancer.

Of course, for those who actually do smoke, we all know the hazards involved. If a smoker wants to commit slow death, so be it. But don’t kill me also.

Restaurateurs don’t know how to run cities, so why should we believe that governments know what’s best for restaurants? I am not a smoker, but most of my friends are. There are restaurants and bars they will not go to because they are smoke free. I also have friends that won’t go into a place just because it’s smoky. The owners should take it upon themselves to add air purifiers or ventilation systems. Besides, if a place is too smoky, you are free to leave. There are too many people worrying about what others do.

This seems to me to be two separate issues. I would like to see smoking banned in restaurants. It seems that when we go to eat out, the nonsmoking section is always full, while the smoking section is not.

More and more people are opting to be smoke free, and it is a fact that second-hand smoke is almost as dangerous as first-hand smoke. People should be able to go out to a public restaurant and not have to breathe in second-hand smoke.

A bar, however, seems to me to be a different situation. Smoking and the bar scene often go hand in hand, and people usually expect to find smoke in a bar. I don’t think smoking should be banned from bars.

Statistics as well as history indicate that legislating substance use is difficult and often ineffective. Since nicotine has not as yet been classified as a controlled substance, I believe the decision to allow smoking in bars and restaurants should remain in the hands of the establishment owners.

A restaurant or bar should have the right to say whether they want their establishment to be a smoke free environment or not. If they allow smoking, they should have to let everyone know.

“Smoking is Allowed Here ” Enter at Own Risk” should be prominently displayed in their windows and in their ads. Then I am informed, and I can choose to frequent that establishment or not.

Nonsmoking areas do not work. With today’s research regarding secondary smoke, we should at least be allowed to make an informed choice.

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