Smoking ban makes sense

Roxy Hammond

Roxy Hammond

I’m a big fan of reading the paper. After I scan through all the big news items, I always flip to the letters to the editor to see what new tangents people can bless us with that day.

Lately I’ve found a growing number of people who support a smoking ban. While South Dakota has no such thing, the idea has become an issue since both Minnesota and North Dakota have implemented some form of regulation, mostly banning smoking in restaurants.

Strangely enough, I have found myself agreeing with these letters. They speak of asthma and allergies, and a lack of non-smoking restaurants.

There are, of course, letters of opposition stating smokers have the right to enjoy a smoke while they eat, and restaurant owners have the right to choose whether or not to allow smoking in their restaurants.

Now, the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do side of me doesn’t really like the thought of regulating someone’s vices. Even more so, I don’t like taking away a business owner’s contol of his or her establishment. As my Nazi-Republican father will tell you, it’s their profit on the line, not ours.

Yet, if there is one thing that annoys me, it’s when someone thinks his or her right to do something obnoxious outweighs my right of not dealing with it. Granted, smokers have the right to enjoy a cigarette while they eat, but it’s not as if they are in their own little vacuum. Their enjoyment suddenly becomes me eating my steak quesadilla through my watery eyes and a runny nose. Then, to add insult to injury, their bad habit follows me home, forcing me to smell like an ashtray the rest of the night, and making me wash my clothes before the end of the week (that’s a sin in the world of a college student).

To me, it seems rude to smoke in the first place, especially in a restaurant. You’d be kidding yourself to believe that people enjoy the smell of your secondhand smoke, let alone the damage it does to their healthy lungs.

Just imagine if I went to a restaurant and sat in the booth next to you. As you enjoy the cuisine of your choice, I lean over and start passing awful, awful gas. Most people would get offended, start gagging, etc. Someone would probably come over and insist that I stop.

How is this any different than if I were to sit down next to you and light up a cigarette? The smell emanates over to you, affects the taste of your food and is way more toxic to you than some good ol’ flatulence.

It amazes me that we have something so legal and socially acceptable that negatively affects the health of others. We are uptight about drunk driving because it kills people, but apparently cigarettes do not. Am I missing something?

I know we have smoking sections in restaurants, but those are a joke anyway. Air doesn’t circulate or anything silly like that, does it? I once heard a quote that having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a pool. It really doesn’t make any sense.

But hey, I’m not a smoker. If you’d like to take years off your life, that’s your choice. However, since I have chosen not to suck on the end of a little paper cancer stick, I would appreciate it if you didn’t counteract my decision by being within breathing distance of me. If you need your nicotine, please do so outside-even if it entails freezing to death.

I guess that’s why they call it a bad habit, eh?

#1.884256:303082223.jpg:roxyhammond_cj.jpg:Roxy Hammond, Sarcastic Cynicisms:Charlie Johnson