A Certain Lack of Focus

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No-Smoking Laws

smokingI've been in debates before, over how constitutional it is to ban smoking, whether we really want the government interfering in our lives over things like smoking, because who know where it could lead... I agree that the laws are a little questionable as far as whether smoking is something we SHOULD be banning. But I don't really care.

I hate smoky rooms. Maybe it goes back to the fact that I grew up in a bar, and had to deal with it all the time as a kid. They banned smoking in Eugene about ten years ago and it was beautiful. True, many of the bars complained that all their customers drove over to Springfield, where they could light up in peace, my mom even claimed a few bars went out of business because of it. I never bought it though, "look at Doc's Pad," she said. "Mom, that place sucked," I pointed out.

But I have to admit that for me, this was never about what was good for the state, or what was good for small business owners, it wasn't even about good health. I'm selfish, and banning smoking made my life far more comfortable. So when Ohio put it on the ballot, I didn't even struggle with any ethical implications, or even possibilities of Big Brother getting a better hold. I was just glad that I'd be able to go into a restaurant and sit down to a meal without choking to death. smokingFor you smokers out there who think I'm being selfish (which I've already admitted) and say, "Hey, you already had a nonsmoking section," I'd just like to make it very clear that those shitty plastic partitions never kept me from inhaling your poison.

Since I'd already moved south a ways when the law passed, I didn't get much chance to experience the difference. Tonight Matt and I met some friends at the Kennleworth in Lakewood, and my first impression on going in was: wow, no cloud of smog... how nice!

smokingI guess the bottom line here is that regardless of the law, not allowing smoking in a particular area is a sure fire way to increase the enjoyment of that space. If it's not a law, it's difficult for many businesses to make that decision, because they risk losing customers, but since it is the law, they don't have to worry about it, and suddenly their business, which through that fog of stink seemed automatically seedy and low-class, is a notch or two higher on the classy scale. Even my mom, smoker since the age of 16, admits that she enjoys spaces without smoking better than spaces filled with smoke (unless maybe that's something I dreamed, inspired by wishful thinking), the only thing she doesn't like is having to go out in the rain to have a cigarette. One reason why she'd never move to Ohio. Of course, if she'd just quit, it wouldn't matter either way.

*All photos from Flickr and linked to their home.

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