Friday, November 12, 2010

Smoke on the Water

I had to drive Alex to work this morning because his back break lines were acting up and he was uncomfortable with the idea of driving his car in an unsafe way. All the way to the company, we listened to Bob and Tom, but in the last few minutes of my drive back home, I changed the radio to the local news channel. They were discussing a new law that has been sweeping through Northern Indiana for a few years now - the smoking ban. Apparently this struck a nerve this morning, because I got irritable about it!

The guest was a local bar/restaurant owner from Elkhart County and he was explaining how the City of Elkhart has instituted a smoking ban, but the county has not. Consequently, all of the city bar and restaurant owners are suffering because they are losing all of the tobacco-using clientele to the county businesses that do not have to abide by that law. Seems to me that some self-important gasbag started that law thinking they were 'helping the general public'. Like most laws that ban some sort of commodity, all it's doing is killing business for small business owners.

Just so you know where I am coming from, I was a diner waitress from age 16 to age 22. Yes, I smoked cigarettes, mostly because everyone around me was doing it, and it afforded me break time when I otherwise was not allowed to take any. I am generally not offended by the smell of cigarette smoke, unless it is combined with body odor, cheap perfume or just plain STINK, like some people have. I don't have an allergy to smoke, although I will say that I have known a few people who ARE allergic to smoke and I understand why it bothers them. I also think that there are a lot of busybodies who SAY they are allergic to smoke who really aren't.

My husband grew up in a smoking household and had some health complications due to second hand smoke, including high blood pressure as a teen. His dad quit smoking, as did other family members, and when we were dating, he told me that it bothered him enough to break it off with me if I was smoking. I quit. I have not smoked in 4 years.

Now, this is simply my opinion, but there is a helluva lot of judgement that goes around on cigarette smokers. They smell, they're dirty, they're giving themselves cancer, etc. All of these things are valid points. But may I also point out that the folks passing this judgement also have some vices that make them candidates for the same kind of judgement. Personally, I think people who overeat themselves in morbid obesity so that they can't even get out of their beds are disgusting. Much more disgusting to me than a cigarette smoker. I think women who dress in provacative clothing and have sex with whoever comes along are pretty disgusting too. I'm bothered by young men who drink beer and play video games until 5 am and then sleep all day without working a job or contributing to society. But all of these things are personal priorities and choices. Cigarette smoking is also a personal decision and a priority.

Do you really think that smokers don't know that what they're doing can make them sick and eventually kill them? And is it really your business to worry about it?

And does the government really have to pass a law saying that business owners cannot make a decision on who to allow in their restaurants/bars? This seems like a pretty big intrusion of freedoms.

There really is a simple solution. First of all, leave business owners alone. They're smart - they'll catch on to what is making them money and what isn't. If they allow smoking in their restaurant and you don't like smoke, DON'T PATRONIZE THAT RESTAURANT. See how easy that is? Go patronize a non-smoking restaurant or bar and support that business owner's good decision with your money and time.

The more laws we make against people's personal decisions and priorities, the fewer freedoms we have. People have a RIGHT to choose to fill their bodies with chemicals and garbage and JUNK FOOD (equally bad for your health!) and anything else. Smart folks figure out that it's bad for them and don't do it.

I agree with education. Please inform me that something may be hazardous to my health.  But don't tax me, ban me or treat me badly because I make that choice.

Just leave people alone. I really think most of the problem's in the world would be solved if we could simply mind our own business and leave people alone.

I'm treading on eggshells and probably offending someone, I'm sure of it. There are always going to be variables. There are always going to be situations that are subject to something greater and larger, especially if there is a chance that someone innocent is being hurt. By and large however, my argument is not toward that, but simply I am arguing that businesses, especially bars and restaurants, should be permitted to choose who they offer services to, without the government and some nosy busybodies making laws that diminish their clientele.

Humanity would be smarter if we always had to reap the consequences of our mistakes.

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