Friday, November 04, 2005

They've Gone Too Far

I'm not a smoker. My father died of a smoking related illness at 53, so I have some emotional irrationality about my friends or colleagues smoking. Last year I applauded when smoking was finally banned from bars in Connecticut, primarily because I hated the way my clothes smelled after going to bars. The whole concept of smoking is bad to me.

Nonetheless, I also agree with people's basic right to choose. I will never criticize a person for smoking publicly. That's their choice, and they are aware of the consequences. I feel that we should give smokers their freedoms.

We banished smokers out of our drinking establishments, thinking it might discourage them from smoking. It did not. They stand outside on chilly nights, quavering in the wind as they desperately try to light their cigarettes. Their only solace is that they have the building, which they can bolt into the second they are through with their cigarettes. I admire the way they hang on to smoking despite how unpopular it is after high school.

So when I read about how we might take away their right to even stand near a building when they smoke, I get a little annoyed. For while it might be an inconvenience to walk by a group of smokers outside, I can't imagine it would be that harmful. There are millions of things in the air outside that can hurt a person's health, and secondhand smoke is probably low on the list.

The point is, when we allow the government to erode people's right to do something, even as small as smoking near a building, we are giving them free license to take away other freedoms. Lets stop the madness and allow our friends, the Smoky-Americans, to live the way they choose.

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