Smoking in Public Places
Since I moved to Eau Claire nearly 20 years ago, I have sought refuge in a number of taverns, lounges and restaurants when I complete my business day. In fact, I have often looked forward to the time I can spend with associates and friends in a public setting, regardless of whether the fellow customers smoke cigarettes or not.
Although I do not smoke cigarettes, I know that second-hand smoke is part of the experience when I enter a tavern or nightclub. I also accept the fact that those who I spend time with may in fact light up a cigarette.
In the last 10 years, there has been a concerted effort on the part of some to limit and/or ban smoking in public establishments. There are 16 states that currently have passed legislation that outlaws smoking in restaurants, bars and other public facilities. Illinois will likely be the next in line to approve similar legislation. Personally, I do not think government should intervene in this issue.
I am so tired of the non-smokers who proclaim that their health may be at risk because they decide to patronize an establishment that allows smoking. I am the first to admit that I do not appreciate having clothes that smell like smoke when I return home from a night out with friends, but I know I can avoid the inconvenience of having cigarette smoke invade my privacy by electing to not patronize the establishments that allow smoking. Having said that, I still visit my local "watering hole", regardless of the fact that smoke billows in the air.
I understand why the state and other organizations want to ban smoking from public places, but I always revert to the pending legislation that would require all drivers to wear seat belts. Similar to anti-smoking measures, the requirement to wear seat belts is designed to save lives. I do not refute that theory, but if someone wishes to patronize an establishment that allows smoking, then it should be up to the individual as to whether they want to take the risk to be exposed to second-hand smoke.
For what it is worth, smoking a cigarette is not illegal. Until the government bans cigarette use altogether, then it should be up to the business owner to decide if he/she wants to make it a crime for their patrons to light up while in the public domain. I just don't understand how a governmental body of any sort can tell that business owner what to do.
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