A Non-Smoker Asks For No Vote On Smoking Ban
By Mike A. Bozarth
I quit smoking last night so I could say that.
Actually, I gave up buying cigarettes Ash Wednesday for Lent. So far “this time quitting” has worked a little better than the three times I quit last summer.
This time I’m relying on an electronic cigarette as a crutch instead of lozenges and patches.
I’ll admit I’ve cheated a few times. Whenever I see a friend with a pack of cigarettes my blood pressure goes up. I think the unspoken anxious anticipation of getting a respite of just one more cigarette is transmitted by mental telepathy. I’m ready and willing to hear “do you want a cigarette?” You bet! I don’t think that urge is ever going to go away. But I do–at least–refuse a second one…
When it comes to a smoking ban imposed on private business owners I am absolutely against it, whether I smoke or not.
Smoking is already banned in public places–City Hall, the Civic Arena, Missouri Theater, Remington Nature Center, Buchanan County Courthouse, Missouri State Office Building, etc.
No, this smoking ban would go much, much further.
It would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, pool halls, convenience and tobacco stores, and any retail store. It would even ban smoking in company cars and vehicles–even if you are alone in the vehicle and own it.
It has also come out the proposed ban would also ban electronic cigarettes–which do not even emit smoke! So even the crutch I’m using to try to quit smoking would become illegal inside too.
The Telegraph brought out the ban would also apply to people’s homes if they operate a business out of it where the public or any full or part-time employees will go in and out.
A lot of people operate small businesses such as beauty shops, insurance agents, real estate agents, accountants, computer technicians, service industry (trash companies, contractors, mechanics, the list goes on and on).
The ban would exempt only the casino gaming floor and a small percentage of hotel rooms.
When you hear many of the ban supporters explaining their reason for wanting a ban, they complain about smoke at eating establishments. The truth is, less than 10% of local restaurants still allow smoking. I’ve heard the figure is as low as 5%. So what is the big deal about letting 5% of the restaurants cater to the 26-27% of St. Joseph adults who smoke?
If people were concerned about clean, smoke free air they’d be a little more interested in our air pollution which also contains dozens of chemicals and carcinogens. A car puts out more harmful fumes than a cigarette. And studies on second-hand tobacco smoke are all over the board. For every study that shows second cigarette hand smoke is harmful, another amends their report or shows evidence to the contrary.
I’m not saying smoking is a good habit. I’ve smoked for 43 years–a pack and a half a day for the last 35 or so. I hope I can quit for good. It’s costly, it’s dirty, and I know it can be bad for my health.
But it remains a legal commodity. It has been a legal practice in America even before Europeans and others immigrated here.
It should be a personal choice as to whether or not to smoke; and a business owner’s decision on whether or not to allow smoking in their privately-owned business or office.
I ask for your NO vote Tuesday. It’s not just about clean air; It’s about freedom and property rights.