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December 12th, 2002

Public Smoking

One of the hot button topics in Chicago as of late is a proposed smoking ban. This ban would make it illegal to smoke in many, many public places – and one version of the bill would make it illegal to smoke in bars, as well.

The arguments against the ban? It’ll cost business owners good money to do this – fewer people will come in if they can’t smoke. And there’s the issue of workers who smoke. It looks like many are threatening to quit if they can’t have their cigarettes.

In California, where a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants exists, restaurants were claiming a 12% drop in business. But tax records show a revenue increase of about 5.9% at restaurants, and 5.1% at bars.

I don’t smoke, and I have no problem with the ban. Why? Because it affects other people’s health negatively. It’s not just something that affects the smoker; it affects the people around the smoker, too. Not wanting to be around smoke isn’t just a matter of personal preference – in which case, I would say the ban is silly. Smoking has real implications for those with weak respiratory systems, for instance – and why should those people be excluded from going places due to smoke?

Smoking is bad for everyone. It’s time to put it out wherever possible.

Posted in In the News

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 9:11:42 am
It's always amazed me that people would be willing to do things like quit a job because they're not allowed to smoke -- it's a mindset I can't understand. Perhaps I've just been lucky in avoiding addictions that have such a strong physical hold...



FROM: Mike
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 10:18:05 am
OK, by that logic let's go ahead and ban big macs, alcohol and everything else which is detrimental to the public health. They know what's best for us...



FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 10:21:14 am
Following the smoking in the workplace tangent...

Ever notice that the smokers in your office work about an hour less per day because of all the time they spend huddled outside the back door puffing on their cancer sticks? That has always bothered me.




FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 10:46:54 am
OK, by that logic let's go ahead and ban big macs, alcohol and everything else which is detrimental to the public health. They know what's best for us...

Big difference there, and a conclusion many smoking advocates jump to easily.

Big Macs affect no one else but the person eating the Big Mac. Alcohol affects no one else but the person drinking. If anything the person does as a result of the alcohol affects another person, that's the person's fault - at least in my mind.

Smoking has the unique ability to change the environment for the smoker and anyone near the smoker - and that's a huge, huge difference.



FROM: Greg
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 11:10:52 am
Hell, I'm just tired of coming home from a restaurant (after sitting in the non-smoking section) and having to burn my clothes because they smell so potently from smoke.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 11:26:26 am
Chris -- I've noticed that people that make use of "smoke breaks" tend to a.) spend more time away from their work than people who take "water cooler breaks" and b.) that they tend to break at the most innopportune times, when they're needed the most. Of course, that's a vast generalization that I probably shouldn't even make, but...

Greg -- I feel you on this, especially... I hate going to a club and coming home with the smell not only on my clothes but on my skin. I'm willing to deal with it for the occasional night out at a club, but coming home from a restaurant would be particularly irritating.

It's a tough line deciding how much the law should be able to restrict a smoker's "freedoms"... I think the way smoking affects other people so directly, though, makes it different from the right to drink (or do other recreational drugs in private, but that's a whole 'nother issue).



FROM: Mike [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 11:42:27 am
It's true that obesity or alcohol abuse generally only affects the user, while smoking affects others, but there are some interesting comparisions between the health risks associated with each.

With the chronic health problems this study associates with obesity, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that I'm paying more for health insurance than I would if obesity, considered to be an 'epidemic' by this study, wasn't thought of as such a health problem by medical professionals.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 11:51:14 am
Somehow, Mike, I knew that you would try to bring up the obesity angle.



FROM: Mike [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 12:04:48 pm
Just so it's clear, I wasn't the first 'Mike' comment.

I'm just playing devil's advocate. It's my personality that if I see a bunch of people agreeing on one thing, I try to see how the other side might see it. Oftentimes, I argue on the side of things I don't necessarily agree with, just to try to provide the whole story. That's why my dad says I talk like I have a paper asshole. He'd probably agree with everyone else on this issue, even though he's a smoker.

The link I provided above was surprising to me, and I thought it was relevant to where the discussion had gone. And I find it hard to agree with a blanket statement like 'Big Macs affect no one else but the person eating the Big Mac.' That's my opinion. We're allowed to disagree, no?



FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 1:41:43 pm
Disagreeing is NOT allowed. Fall in line!

Anyway, I didn't mean to lash out. It's really an email-based thang.



FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 2:13:29 pm
Big Macs are only a national health issue because our insurance system is so screwed up that nobody is paying a rate based thier actual risk factors. In that vein though, smokers are actually doing us a great service as they tend to die before they get to collect social security, thereby helping prop up the system a little longer!



FROM: C8H10N4O2 [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday December 17, 2002 -- 12:02:50 am
I think that smoking should be more restricted I dont know about you, but the smell makes me sick.



FROM: ryant
DATE: Saturday September 6, 2003 -- 11:09:35 pm
we welcome public smoking bans because we are not allowed to segregate anymore. Little by little the american public finds a way to infringe on the rights of one group or another. looks to me like we have now found our current scapegoat.



FROM: kate
DATE: Wednesday June 9, 2004 -- 10:54:07 am
chris, being a smoker and a bartender i do not think that the ban is all that outrageous-inside! But I gotta tell ya, if I am stressed out at work there is nothing like a good cig to help me regain my focus and if I can't even do that outside the place I work then there is where the problem lies for me!



FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday June 9, 2004 -- 10:59:21 am
But I gotta tell ya, if I am stressed out at work there is nothing like a good cig to help me regain my focus and if I can't even do that outside the place I work then there is where the problem lies for me!

Sounds like the real problem is tobacco addiction, to me.



FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday June 9, 2004 -- 6:51:49 pm
I think I'll take an air horn with me to bars and whenever someone lights up, I'll just start blowing the air horn. If they don't like it, they can put in earplugs or leave. The bartender can do the same.



FROM: Big Tobacco
DATE: Thursday April 28, 2005 -- 11:40:30 am
Yeah, smoking rules! I recommend you all try it and keep at it until your addicted because we all know quitters are losers. Don't be a quitter kids, be a smoker and be a winner!



FROM: Big Tobacco
DATE: Thursday April 28, 2005 -- 11:42:55 am
Hi friends, its me agian! Just wanted to let all you fellow smokers know that we hide the heroine in the filters, so smoke that thing to the tips of your stained fingers kids!



FROM: Big Tobacco
DATE: Thursday April 28, 2005 -- 11:46:47 am
I love to smoke! Smoking is best right after dinner with a few shots or a couple tall, cold, BEERS! Or on the ride home from work with your trusty flask in your other hand! But kids, if you do drink and drive, just make sure to drive straight home as FAST as you can!



FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday April 28, 2005 -- 12:38:30 pm
This just in: smoking makes one forget basic netiquette!



FROM: oh hell ya
DATE: Tuesday May 24, 2005 -- 8:37:43 am
mmmmm smoke err day



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday May 25, 2005 -- 10:54:23 am
I just got back from a trip to my second home town, New Orleans. It's been five years since I moved away to the Northeast. While I generally feel that New England pretty much sucks (overpriced, under qualitied, rat race, unfriendly) I do enjoy going to cafes, bars and restaurants and enjoying my food without cigarette smoke ruining it for me. And believe me, the food in New England is so bad, no matter what you pay for it, there's no reason to make going out to eat worse by having to sit in smoke.

On my trip to New Orleans, I really enjoyed the excellent food, as usual, but I had to get reacclimated to smoking being allowed. The food's so good there that even tobacco smoke doesn't ruin it--but I'd rather not have to deal with it.

Also, it makes for a stinky suitcase when you're dirty clothes make it smell like you packed a dirty ash tray.

But I don't support an all out ban on smoking in public places, either. I still do think that it's appropriate in bars. Alcohol and cigarettes go hand-in-hand with a lot of people.

But, I have to admit, I like it a whole lot better when no one smokes. I'm not surprised that the statistics suggest that business has picked up since the ban in whatever city was in place. There are a lot of people like me, who actually go out more since they don't have to deal with the smoke.

Now, if New England could only offer good food and reasonable prices, that'd be the icing on the cake. I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too in a smoke-free environment.



FROM: JM
DATE: Thursday October 6, 2005 -- 11:42:37 am
I know smoking is bad for my health, but truly, is it right to force someone with an addiction (that doesn't change your mind set and attitude like some illegal and prescription drugs I know of) into their own homes? How can you justify a law calling for self-enforced house arrest? I am a pack a day smoker, and I understand the non-smoking Diner's right to a smoke-free dinner, but outside, if you don't like the smoke, move down 5 feet. No smoking in bars? Because it's unhealthy? News-flash: So is alcohol. I'm sorry, but if you ban smoking, alcohol must follow so no drunk drivers will hit any innocent by standers. All a smoking ban will do is drive it underground, or into the governments back yard. I like my personal freedom, and I don't plan on giving it up without a fight.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday October 6, 2005 -- 4:10:35 pm
I like my personal freedom, and I don't plan on giving it up without a fight.

And I like my personal air, blah blah blah.

The smoking-in-public-places argument has gotten boring.



Al April 25, 2007, 3:41 am

Quit sharing your inhumane ignorance like the petty fools that you are(Ryan). People don’t quit their jobs because they can’t smoke, even if it may be a catalyst. The fact that people quit when they can’t smoke is simply because “the man” is infringing on their workers personal right and freedom. The fact that we have the choice to exercise these sort rights is what is making this country – i don’t know – this country isn’t really all that great anymore

sujay December 12, 2007, 5:07 pm

love the discussion will join tomorrow at same time.

Joseph December 12, 2007, 10:57 pm

I know what you mean, Al. But now that we can’t smoke at work, shooting our coworkers has caught on like wildfire. I hope they ban that soon.

You know, this site is just too much work anymore. I can’t get the stinking code numbers right. The lower case looks just like the uppercase. I’m trying the fourth time now.

No wonder I don’t post anymore.

Here goes . . .

4AV

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