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Not blowing smoke

November 8, 2004 Smoke Free Comments Off on Not blowing smoke

Lost among the election last week was the news a smoking ban took effect in one St. Louis area municipality. Yes, Arnold Missouri now has a smoking ban in public places. For those not familiar with the St. Louis region, Arnold is located on the Southern edge and is very white middle class. Very white. Blue collar. Very suburban – land of Wal-Mart and trucks.

This is hardly the type of municipality that you’d think would be the first in the region to ban smoking but I applaud them for their efforts. If the good ole boys in Arnold can have a meal without a cigarette then why can’t the rest of the region. For that matter, why can’t we free ourselves of smoke in public everywhere?

I had lunch at McGurk’s patio over the weekend but I was unable to have a meal without cigarette smoke blowing past me as I ate. Yuk. A big part of living in a civilized society is getting along with others in society. Somehow my trying to keep from having their smoke in my face is an infringement of their rights. Bullshit. When their smoke enters my air then my right to breath fresh air has been infringed.

Back in Arnold a compromise was reached when the law was written. If a business creates a separate smoking area, complete with separate ventilation systems, then smoking is permitted within the smoking area. I’m not sure what the rights are of workers are in this case – do they have the “right” to work in a non-smoking environment or must they risk unemployment for refusing to work in the smoking section? Smoking advocates say the employee is free to quit if they don’t like it. How civilized.

Asbestos & lead are two hazards we’d never ask an employee to expose themselves to. Why? Concern for their health or concern about lawsuits? Yet most folks have little concern about exposure to cigarette smoke. Children are constantly exposed to second hand smoke. At one time you had tv stars smoking on their programs and it was normal for adults to smoke. Kids took up smoking. Now smoking is not OK and yet kids still take up smoking.

Banning smoking will not lead to a world free of smokers. But, it will allow me to go out and not inhale deadly smoke. I’m selfish that way.

For more information on a smoke-free Missouri click here.