Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Smoking Ban in Public Places

I recently signed up for a newsletter from the best news station in Wichita. Coincidentally, I worked for this station shortly after graduating from high school, but hated it. I turned from broadcast media to print, and still love it, even though, as my husband would say, print media is going the way of the dinosaurs.

One little item in the news recently has me all fired up. Those of you who know me know that I'm allergic to cigarrette smoke, so I am naturally attracted to the idea that smoking could be banned in public places, including restaraunts and bars. I've never been able to go to bars with friends because I can't be around the smoke that permeates the air.

Tonight, the Tobacco Free Wichita Coalition is supposed to speak during the public forum at tonight's city council meeting. The benefit to this is that the word will get out that people want Wichita establishments to go smoke-free. The bad part is that during a public forum, no decisions can be made by the council.

A web poll on KAKE.com asked people if they would be in favor of such a ban. When I cast my vote, I saw that more than 75 percent of responders were also in favor of the ban. I hope that's a good indicator that a ban would pass.

Restaraunt owners are afraid that they might lose business if they bend to such a ban, but I think that they might actually gain business that they otherwise might not have. I mean, how many people (nonsmokers) like to come home smelling so bad that their kids won't even hug them? The odor stays in clothing, in your hair, and is difficult to get out unless you wash your clothes thorougly and take a shower. It's especially bad for pregnant women both to smoke and to be around second-hand smoke. The effects on the unborn child can be devestating. Even after they're born, children whose lungs are still developing will suffer greatly if they're exposed to cigarette smoke. They're more likely to have allergies and asthma, too.

A few years ago, I worked as an intern in the Community Education department of our local Health Department. The west wing of the department had a doctor's office where people could go if they didn't have the money or insurance to go to a regular doctor. I absolutely sickened me when I saw pregnant women trying to finish their cigarettes outside the clinic before going in for a check up. I wanted to go up to them and say, "Do you even care that you could be killing your unborn child?" Personally, I believe that pregnant smokers are very selfish for putting themselves before the health and livlihood of their children. The same goes for parents who smoke around their children. If they truly loved their children, they would make every effort to quit and they would refrain from exposing the children to their nasty habit.

The world would be much healthier if cigarettes had never been invented. They don't make anyone look "cool" and they certainly aren't attractive to anyone with class.


Devona said...

I would love to see a Ban on smoking here in Ohio. California has it, why can't I. I also thought I'd mention a commercial I saw once. It was a bunch of waitresses and bar-tenders asking for a ban on smoking in public places. They mentioned the effects of second-hand smoke, and how smokers are forcing non-smokers to share in their decision to pollute their bodies. By the way, I care because I'm a pregnant waitress. But Erica already knew that.

Mrs. T. Swede said...

I am soooooo glad you agree, Devona. It's sad that some people feel that exposing others to a cancer-causing addiction is okay. Why do people feel that harming others by polluting their air is okay? It doesn't even make sense when you think of it that way!

The Terrible Swede said...

Erica - wife - let the market forces determine smoking or non-smoking preferences. I know if I was a business owner I would not appreciate the government telling me what I can or cannot do.

The Terrible Swede said...
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