On a smoke-free St. Louis

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Over the Christmas holidays we got together with family, as people are prone to to during that time of year, for a meal at an area restaurant after church. It was Chris's family, and I can safely say that they are louder than my family which is a near impossible task as my family will laugh riotously for hours on end at fart jokes. I have video for blackmail, even. Yes, myself included, whatever. I have two young boys: if you can't beat them, join them.

Anyway, the restaurant that was chosen by the majority is one that allows smoking inside. It seems weird to me that people can still smoke inside. As this restaurant wasn't particularly big a "non-smoking section" was futile, as are many. You were going to be exposed to smoke nonetheless, regardless whether you were the one creating it. Our party was a large one and the thought was that we'd fill the place up, which we did, save for one table that was later occupied by a small party with children.

Despite having smoked a short time in my younger, childless days (I stopped when I saw what my grandfather underwent when he had a lung removed due to smoking-induced cancer) I am one of those ridiculously annoying nags when it comes to cigarette smoke because hi, my 7-year-old has asthma and someone else's cigarette smoke could provoke in him an asthma attack which ends up costing us $75 in emergency room fees, costs for both the inhaled and oral steroid medication he has to take to help with his recovery, plus doctor's bills. It's happened before. That's what the pro-smoking-in-public people don't tell you about when they talk about their "freedom" to smoke wherever they want; it's free for them, it costs people like us.

So we're all in this restaurant, the only one convenient for everyone that could take us at that time, we're eating our lunch and as I go to take a bite of my chicken sandwich the flavor is marred by the horrid stench of burnt ass emanating from the table next to us - the party with small kids. The smell was even more offensive than the word I just used. I glanced at Liam who was sitting across the room with his cousins; the smoke hadn't become so bad so as to cloud the room ... yet. I stood up, took out his rescue inhaler, and shook it furiously while dramatically fanning the air all around me because I figured that doing so was more polite than cramming the cancer stick down the guy's throat. As he sat next to his toddler. Seriously - WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, who smokes right around a toddler? While eating? It's like eating a turd with your meal.

Chris's cousin also noticed the smoke and began fanning the air around her toddler and preschooler. Both of our tables were right by the smoker's table. As soon as the smokers got a load of my crazy they politely extinguished their cigarettes and went back to eating. I stopped windmilling my arms and slipped Liam's inhaler back into my purse.

I know some people will think I'm beyond rude for doing what I just told you but seriously - it's thrice as rude to light up a carcinogen and force the people around you to share the habit. Sure, we could leave, but so could they. And as we weren't the ones polluting perfectly good air with a substance that is illegal for minors to purchase but apparently not illegal for them to unwillingly imbibe secondhand, I think the smoking party should leave. I'm also a bit aggravated that I can't do things like take my kid bowling (he's never been) because of cigarette smoke and I shouldn't have to drive nearly an hour out of my way to find a rare smoke-free type of establishment.

There is a movement here in St. Louis to make establishments smoke-free, which I whole-heartedly support. A person has every right to pollute their own home, their own air, their own health; their right ends when their activity encroaches on the health and well-being of others. To simply say that the issue is about individual freedom is both intellectually dishonest and ignores the plethora of evidence proving the dangers of secondhand smoke (not to mention the increase in insurance costs for all) and rights of other individuals. If they want the liability for the health problems that arise - like paying for a little kid's hospital bill, medicine, and suffering as a result of a health issue brought on by their actions - then we can have that discussion.

No one is telling a smoker that they can't smoke, just that they can't compromise the health of others with their smoking.  

I just feel that if you're unable to limit your habit's damage to just yourself, then you maybe should keep it in private. Don't you?
 

62 Comments

Uh, YES. I am the world's worst kind of ex-smoker: I'm a vigilant, anti-cigarette activist with propeller arms and the propensity to rudely stare down anyone smoking within ten feet of either a child or a pregnant woman. I get PROFOUNDLY sad when I see someone smoking around their children, because really? Is it worth it? No, it's not.

This is going to sound certifiable, but part of the reason that we had a less-than-perfect time in Montreal this summer was because of the rampant smoking. On the streets, in restaurants, in bars, outside of stores -- it was unavoidable, and sickening, particularly for newly-pregnant me.

I'm generally not a fan of regulating people's habits, but when those habits infringe on the enjoyment of other people's activities, not to mention their HEALTH, I become enraged.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that Illinois no longer allows smoking in restaurants and bars. It is so nice to go out for an evening, and not come home reeking of an ashtray.

BTW, I used to smoke. I know it's an addiction and I know it's hard to quit. One thing that helped me quit was knowing I had to stand in a snowbank to have a smoke.

As for bowling? Come over here and we'll take you, no smoking allowed.

I totally agree with this, Dana. I absolutely hate cigarette smoke. My late grandma and my still existing grandpa were/are heavy smokers. My grandma would have lit cigarettes in various parts of her house so she could smoke without carrying the cig with her. I really enjoyed seeing her, but the heavy smoke really made me dread going over there. I sort of disagree with you on the whole "keeping smoking legal in peoples' houses" thing, but I realize it could open the door to the government banning other things, like Hardees Thickburgers (Heaven in a wrapper!) and spying on people in their own homes (which I absolutely do not support). I guess, in theory I wish that smoking were completely banned, but in practice I don't see a way to implement it that wouldn't infringe on peoples' privacy. So it's sort of a struggle for me to just put up with it. What about people who light up at gas stations WHILE pumping gas? I remember yelling at some idiot in DeSoto to put his cigarette out because he was doing just this. It pi**ed me off to say the least. So I think what you did in that restaurant was right. I might not have had the guts to do it, but you did : )

I live in the UK and it is such an amazing change since it has been made illegal to smoke in enclosed spaces. Both my DH and I have asthma, his is more affected by smoke than mine, and it kept us from going out to bars and restaurants for a long time. Most bars now have an patio area outside with large umbrellas so they can smoke outside when it is raining. There was lots of grumbling from smokers when the law first came in to force but everyone has gotten used to it now.

Btw, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT made me laugh out loud.

Washington DC is smoke-free now and we are loving it. Everyone said business would suffer - but it is raging on as always.

Found you blog from Momversations. Like what you had to say on the Religion ep. Didn't think there would be a Christian POV in that discussion, so I was pleasantly surprised.

On the topic of smoking, we traveled through MO last summer and I couldn't believe the state still allowed smoking in restaurants. We've lived in 5 states in 5 years (military not nomads) and all but 1 had non-smoking restaurants. It is SO much better. I almost didn't know what to say when they asked me "smoking or non?" at the Cracker Barrel in Springfield! MO needs to get with it...even my tobacco growing home state has gone non-smoking and that's saying something. I can be a pain in the butt around smoke too, so good for you. Smoke all you want, just don't do it around me.

If you know anyone at Scott AFB, see if they'll take you guys bowling. You can't smoke in base bowling alleys. :)

If it weren't such a pain in the ass to smoke anywhere in California (including, according to one case, in your own condo if the smoke can travel into the one next door) I'd still be smoking a pack a day. But even though the weather is nice outside it's still a little bit shaming to have to excuse yourself from some public gathering to go steal a smoke break, and that kind of public pressure combined with a lot of other factors to help me quit.

Now I can't even sleep in my father's house overnight because the settled smoke haze bothers me so much. And that's how I grew up. I can't imagine doing that to my own kids, even if they never developed breathing problems. I don't know that I need legislation enforcing it, but since no one seems to have tried the free-market approach to smoking segregation legislation is all we have so far.

I think smoking around children should be illegal. But I'm crazy like that. Smoking drives me freaking banana-sandwich, I CANNOT FATHOM why people continue the habit and even defend it!

I think you hit the nail on the head with:

"...polluting perfectly good air with a substance that is illegal for minors to purchase but apparently not illegal for them to unwillingly imbibe secondhand..."

What more does one need to say?

We banned smoking here in Dayton, Ohio and it's wonderful. I almost never need to think about second-hand smoke anymore. No restaurants went out of business, like they want you to believe. Some still refuse to comply, but those places are skeevy rat traps that non-smokers would never go anyway. I hope you get some law in that town, soon.

I moved from St. Louis to Des Moines six years ago. One year ago, Des Moines became smoke free. When I'm home in St. Louis, I can no longer stand to go to restaurants that allow smoking (even in designated sections) because I'm used to clean air now.

It's about St. Louis gets with the times. Business actually goes UP for places that are smoke free first.

The only weird experience in Des Moines has been at the casino/race track. There, you can't smoke outside where the horseracing happens, you have to go INSIDE TO SMOKE. Needless to say, I've been to the casino once and dont' plan on going back until they fix that.

Add another item to your list. The smoke is irritating to your throat and now that you make a living from talking, you have to protect your money maker.

Matt and I could not believe how rude people around here get when it comes to smoking. We once had horrible service at a restaurant because we were seated too close to smoking and politely asked to be moved. They huffed and gave us attitude with a lot of eye rolling. I ended up getting food poisoning from that place. It still freaks me out, wondering if I was targeted.

I also notice a lot of attitude from hostesses in restaurants when we say, "No smoking and far from the smoking section, please." I've been told, "Oh you can't smell it in the non smoking section seats." I've actually had to argue with the kids who work these jobs, insisting we sit far from the smoking section. I'm always polite, but firm.And it's our money, we should have a say in where we sit.

The smell of smoke brings up bad memories for me. My father died of smoking related issues, as did my step dad and Matt's dad. The smell of smoke is death to me. I'm all for personal freedom and people doing what they want in their own spaces. But I have yet to find a restaurant where you can't smell the smoke from the smoking section.

Oh and HOORAY to the Zoo for recently banning smoking except in designated areas, as did the Botanical Garden. Here's hoping Grant's Farm wakes up and does it soon, too. It's bad for the animals and all the children who frequent those parks!

As much as smoke sucks, and yes I am a non-smoker, I am wholeheartedly opposed to smoking bans. I believe Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave over them.

Smoking bans create particularly the worst kind of "slippery slope" which leads to ridiculous things like NYC's ban on trans fats in restaurants, and now their proposed taxes on soft drinks and other "unhealthy" (in their opinion) items.

The worst kind of bans are those voted in by ballot proposition. They are a great example of why the Founding Fathers created a constitutional republic and NOT a pure democracy - in fact they regarded democracy as "mob rule" which is exactly what happens in these examples.

I'll close with this: "That government which governs least is best because its people discipline themselves." - Thomas Jefferson

and

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

i used to smoke a pack of straight-up marlboros a day and quit cold turkey on july 1, 1998. now? i can't stand the cancer sticks. i love visiting my family in IL now and having the choice to go to a completely smoke-free restaurant. i would love it if MO did the same thing. i can't stand even picking up a pie from cicero's. i have to shower when i get home.

AMEN.

I would have been right there with you doing the windmill arms. I don't care what people would think.

Frank -
"Smoking bans create particularly the worst kind of "slippery slope" which leads to ridiculous things like NYC's ban on trans fats in restaurants, and now their proposed taxes on soft drinks and other "unhealthy" (in their opinion) items."

Ah, but you eating trans fats or drinking a soda doesn't cause asthmatics to have problems breathing. It doesn't expose people to deadly fumes. Big difference.

To argue it from the position of individual liberty is logically unsound.

Unless smokers want to be liable for the damage they cause ...

I completely agree with this. You are free to do whatever you want to yourself, but when it begins to infringe on my rights a line needs to be drawn.

What gets me about this is the business's arguments against a smoking ban. Most say "People will leave the county where they don't have the ban." and bs like that. No smoker I know is going to drive 30-45 minutes so they can make the food they eat taste like cigarettes. Most smokers I know don't even smoke while eating for that matter.

St. Louis needs to get its act together and put this ban in place.

I'm conflicted on this because as a non-smoker I hate going to eat where there are smokers, but as a conservative, I'm against the government telling us what we can or can't do (within reason).

As much as I'd love to have a smoking ban, I don't know that it's the government's job to provide that for us.

Once you give up a liberty, it's easier to take others away..at least in my opinion. I find it more effective to voice your opinion to business owners.

Instead, I think the more vocal non-smokers can be and the more of us that can patronize businesses that support smoke free environment, the more likely it is we'll see more businesses adopt smoke free establishments. It won't be everywhere, but they'll be more common.

Wow, you've hit on my St. Louis is sometimes nuts nerve. Why DO we allow smoking here? If all of Missouri would go smoke free then it's not really hurting any businesses either. I'm not sure why smokers'rights are more protected than nonsmokers.

We're in Columbia, MO a lot on business and it is SO nice to have everything smoke free there. Makes us not even want to go out when we're back home in St. Louis. I read that the whole Mizzou campus is staging in a smoke free campus over the next few years. Inside and out. Good for them. Maybe less kids will pick up the habit.

Something like 28 states have banned smoking in restaurants and many have banned it in the workplace. Missouri needs to get on board.

As a former Illinois guy and a current Ohio guy (both smoke free states in public places) who is married to a severe asthmatic I agree 100%. My wife's life has changed dramatically for the better since buildings became smoke free. I could go on and launch into a rant here. But I'll simply say that I'm really glad that my bride, the one that was "911'd" out of a doctor's office once during an asthma attack (I thought THEY were the doctors? How bad off do you have to be for the doctor to call 911 from his office? Scary.) is still my living, breathing, loving bride.

Thank you Illinois. Thank you Ohio. And yeah, Blago, if you had anything to do with it, thank you too. The breath of my family over shadow's politics in my book.

I am an ex-smoker of little over a year, but I totally get you. You need to bring your boy across the river to my neck of the woods, Illinois. He can bowl to his hearts content and you won't have to worry about carrying the inhaler for him. My only gripe about the no-smoking in public places is the ban at casinos and bars. Too me, smoking kind goes with gambling and alcohol.

I am really lucky to live in the country I do, for smoking is outlawed now in all public eating places. It's been like this only since the end of '06.

And I tell you, its great because I hate smoke around my kids too

It must really difficult to deal with smoking environments in light of your son's asthma and I sympathize. I can understand your wanting to keep cigarette smoke away from your son in the restaurant, but as disgusting as the habit is, the smokers at that restaurant had a legal right to smoke and you did bring your son into a smoking establishment. I, too, would love to see smoking banned from restaurants, but until that time comes, I'll choose to frequent restaurants that voluntarily prohibit smoking.

I don't get the conservative arguments against smoking bans. I have a very conservative stance against gun control, for example, but as you would expect, I think it should be illegal to shoot those guns in, say, a public place, for obvious reasons. I guess I see smoking much the same way -- don't make tobacco illegal, or restrict its availability or private use, but regulate its public use, within reason, for public safety's sake. I don't think it's a slippery slope.

joniker - I totally ditto this.

I very much agree with you. And, as always, I got a giggle out of your spin on the topic. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?! I laughed out loud.

I have to agree with Frank on this one.
It is simply wrong to use government force to dictate what can and can be done at a small business establishment (or any establishment for that matter). Do we honestly want small businesses to lose customers because of a possible ban? What about blue collar bars? In the town south of me, they banned smoking and Ma and Pa diners frequented by smokers lost business.

Now, it's not always easy for me to take the free market stance. I was losing sleep because my neighbors dog was barking (and the dog was close to my bedroom window) part of me wanted to call the cops after this had happened several nights in a row. But after thinking about it, I realized it is my responsibility to talk to my neighbor and tell her about it before using government force. I'm sure you have the moxie to ask people to not smoke due to you sons condition. And I think most people would understand and comply with a kind request.

Freedom= responsibility. We do not need more government control in our lives. First it will be cigarettes, then food restrictions and so on.

My neighbor is lucky to live next to a libertarian :)

Frank, man...about that last quote from Thomas Jefferson. I don't think that last quote applies. Cigarettes are neither able to slake your hunger or medicate your body. Cigarettes are just nasty sticks o' death in a box. And in my humble opinion...that's a fact, Jack. Does anybody know whether there is some sort of Missouri law that bans people from smoking while pumping gas? I'm not sure, but it really pushes my buttons when I see people do this. I usually drive to a different gas station to get away from said village idiot.

Okay people I live in Reno, NV and even we have a statewide smoking ban in all establishments except casino gaming floors (most have smoke-free pits), bars that do not serve food and brothels. It has helped tremendously and has allowed me and my family to go out to the casinos for some food and fun without having to take a shower when we get home!

And as a pregnant woman I have no problem asking someone at a gaming table to put out there cigerette.

Good for you Dana!!!

On one hand I am all for small government and it being out of my business. On the other hand, this is not the same as eating trans fats- you are not just harming yourself by smoking in public. If you want to kill yourself with the things, great. But for me and my kids to have to breath it while we eat a meal is another story.

Should it be left up to each business owner rather than the government? I'm not sure. I'd lean towards saying that these days, knowing how harmful smoking is and that the majority of people support smoking bans, that most business owners would ban it anyway. It's gross and it's DEADLY.

Great post :)

I definately don't think you are rude for what you did. The town where I go to college at has no smoking in the restaurants and I love it. I never think that the seperated section really does anything to seperate the smoke. I don't have asthma or anything, but when smokers are buy me I don't try to hide my coughing or sneezing which I always start to do from the smoke. Besides, I don't think people should complain because someone wants to breath clean air.

Hi there, I'm a lurker but I'll chime in. Hey - I'm a smoker, hi! I hate that I am, truly, and plan to try to quit again soon.

I have ALWAYS made an effort to not smoke around kids/teenagers. Not only is it horrible for them, I was always the "cool" friend to my friend's kids and I refused to let them see me smoke. I so did not want them to think Cool = Smoking. No.

My city has banned smoking just about everywhere, but in the past, if I was in a smoking section and a parent asked me to put out a cigarette, I would.

However! (Getting to my point)...I am just going to get annoyed and NOT put out my cigarette if I have to witness the Huff Puff Arm Flap Giant Sigh Eye Roll Cough Cough routine. Honestly.

It really yanks my chain and makes the rebel in me want to smoke more. Really. Just ask.

Anyways. Another point of view. I'm going outside now (I don't even smoke in my own house - stinky!)

Dana you're my hero! I couldn't have said it any better!

Our town went smoke free and it is HEAVEN! Our son has horrific allergies and lung damage do to prematurity. If he is around smokers he will have a respiratory infection in 24 hours. You are exactly right, I am not telling people that they can't smoke, it is just that I feel my child has the right to live and their smoking could kill him. We haven't gone bowling yet, but oh we will now! Area hospitals are also reporting fewer hospitalizations for cardiac and lung issues since the smoking ban passed. I don't understand how people can ignore the evidence on smoking and second-hand smoke and think it is ok to expose other people. It is the ultimate selfishness to knowingly blow your nasty cancer causing smoke into the face of a child. Makes me so mad!

I'm kinda with Frank R on this one. And my sister is a lifetime asthmatic whose triggers include cold air and smoke. Also, my grandfather died of lung cancer. Also, cig smoke makes me cough, can't stand the stuff. But.

Yea, smoking sucks. And I can politely ask people to put it out, or I can leave. If a business chooses to allow smoking, I choose to not give them my business.

I live in Delaware and it is smoke free in restaurants and shopping areas. I have to say that I was worried about it law wise because I didn't think the governement should have the right to choose for a person, but as a mom and never smoker it is nice to eat in a restaurant free of smoke. Now when we visit other states adn they ask smoking or non-smoking it takes a minute because we just aren't used to it. It definitely is rude to light up while your eating in a public place, especially with little kids around.

I agree wholeheartedly. I, too, used to smoke in my childless days. Now that I have a kid, NO WAY! What a horrible, dirty habit to teach your child. I was always a closet smoker. I smoked at home and in bars (usually no toddlers there).

IL is smoke-free now. Bring your boys to the east side and take them bowling. They'll have a great time. I vowed to only gamble (on the rare occasion that we actually do) in IL so that I can avoid the smokers haze.

I was shocked when we moved back to STL 2 years ago. If we weren't sat "near" the smoking section then I had to wait in smoking areas for a table... with a small child. I was astounded that so many people still shared a dirty, nasty habit in public. Sadly, I wasn't shocked that they still smoked. I was shocked that it was so ACCEPTABLE in STL. Smoking was banned several years ago in Dallas. I don't recall any restaurants going out of business as a result. STL needs to catch up with everyone else.

I really, really wish St. Louis would go smoke free. I lived in Baltimore for a while (10+ years ago) and they were smoke-free in anyplace that served food (restaurants, bars, bowling alleys). It was pure heaven.

I live in Ontario in Canada and we have been totally smoke-free in restaurants, bars, etc. for several years.

At the time when everything when smoke-free, I was a smoker, and I just thought it totally sucked. I never thought about how my smoking effected others around me. I just wanted to smoke inside, especially in the cold Canadian winters!

I haven't smoked for several years, and the idea of being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places is so totally foreign to me. It's shocking to me that there are places in the US that still allow smoking. I really hope that St. Louis can go smoke-free soon!

I completely agree. The state I used to live in is smoke free. The state I currently live in is not. I hate going out for a drink because it leaves my clothes and coat smelling terrible. I also have asthma, and being in a smoke filled area is very hard on me. I think people have the right to smoke in their own homes, but public places are for everyone. I also think that anyone who smokes around children are idiots. I get outraged when I see someone smoking in their car (with or without windows cracked) with children in the backseat.

Dana,
You could use your media clout to make changes in your area. I'm sure there are activists trying to get smoking bans passed, both on regional and state level.

We moved from south Louisiana to Columbia, MO in 1988 and were thrilled about the nonsmoking rules. When we moved back to New Orleans in 1999 it was back to smoke hell. Now, Lafayette has smoking bans for establishments except bars that don't serve food.

I think the government DOES have the responsibility to stop polluters, whether it's an individual or a business.

All I can say is AMEN SISTER!!!

A-frakking-MEN.

My grandmother recently died of COPD (congestive obstructive pulmondary disease), and it was a nasty, slow, disgusting death, which took decades. She smoked for a disgusting 7 decades, and even when my brother (her favorite grandchild) asked for her to TRY to quit, for his Christmas present, she refused. She loved her cigarettes too much.

We weren't very close to her, partly because we couldn't visit very long in her house without coughing and wheezing, and she didn't like that she couldn't smoke in our house. The smoking just built a giant wall between her and her family. Isn't that sad? I have had good friends who I consider highly intelligent, and it boggles my mind that they actually CHOSE to start smoking, even with the warnings on the packages and everything. They didn't start in their stupid teenage years, either.

I also live in Dayton, Ohio, and it is WONDERFUL to have smoke-free buildings. Some buildings don't even let you smoke near the doors or in the area around the doors. 'Tis wonderful.

I agree that the smoking ban is nothing like the trans-fat ban. Smoking is a habit that has direct negative consequences for those nearby. Why should the right to smoke interfere with others' right for clean air?

Though it has already been said, I just need to chime in and reiterate that comparing a ban on smoking in public is very different from a ban on trans fats. Eating fatty food does not inject second-hand fat into the bodies of the people around you.

And for the argument that people can just stay away from establishments that choose to allow smoking - we have all kinds of health and safety regulations for restaurants and bars. I see this as simply being another such regulation. Otherwise, we should just get rid of all regulation. Which I know some libertarians would be in favor of - at least that would be consistent.

I agree to some extent that smoking should not be permitted in restaraunts; however, in bars I do not think that is all that fair. As a parent I don't want my son to be exposed to it plus it is gross smelling it while you are trying to eat. Still, it should be fair to those who do smoke to allow them a place where they can enjoy their habit and I think that bars are the most appropriate place. My two cents at least!

Frank's "slippery slope" argument doesn't work. It doesn't work because slippery slope arguments are always fallacies. No matter how easy or compelling it may look to you to find a slippery slope and use that slope to form an opinion about something, DON'T. It's irrational.

Maybe there are other reasons to not ban smoking in public places. But looking to a slippery slope can never be one of them.

I'm a non-smoker. I grew up around a family that smokes and I get way more smelly in my mom's living room than I do at any restaurant. I'm just against the government banning smoking. Sorry. I think this is a good place for private business to step up to the plate. If it really won't decrease revenue to have a no smoking establishment, then businesses should start doing that. I suspect there's a reason that most "family" blue collar places still allow smoking.

And I can't believe you went all passive-agressive dramatic and just didn't politely explain the situation to the smoker and ask if they didn't mind not smoking at the moment because of your son's asthma that is always triggered by smoke. Geez, I thought you'd have more chutzpa than that.

As a type I diabetic (which is NOT a life style disease, it is far different from type II and cannot be prevented or treated without insulin therapy), I hate to see otherwise healthy people smoke. As someone who will never be truly healthy unless there is a cure for diabetes, I hate to see people take their health for granted.

There is a HUGE difference between banning smoking and banning trans fats. When a person smokes, it affects everyone around them in addition to the smoker themselves. When a person eats trans fats, well, their neighbors don't gain weight. I understand that people can get "ban happy" but a smoking in public plances ban is a ban that, in my opinion, is worth it.

To answer the question as to why I didn't just ask the party: twice when I have done so I was vulgarly told, in front of my kids, to mind my own business. Secondly, I was told not to confront this party because someone was afraid of the response repeating itself, this time in front of family, creating even more drama. Also, I dropped virtually-shouted hints about smoking around asthmatic kids, which was when the cigarettes were finally put out. But yes, I've nothing against asking someone to put their cancer sticks away. ;)

All for non-smoking regulations in "pubic" buidings (offices, and such). Restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, etc. owned by private people: The owner has a choice to make it smoking or non; the employees have a choice to not work there; and customers have a choice not to go there. So I have a hard time with people complaining about smoke when they've chosen to go to a smoking establishment; just don't go. If enough people would "just not go", the owners would soon make their own decision to become non-smoking. If the government is going to regulate smoking; just make it illegal. But they'd lose too much money, so they won't do that; no matter what the health risks.

you should move to progressive oregon!
our new law went into effect jan. 1 preventing smoking in almost all restaurants / bars / businesses / facilities / public buildings. AND 30 feet from every door or window. the exceptions are "cigar bars" (there are like 3 in the entire state) and some specific rooms in hotels.

In response to Karla: I totally agree with you about a business's right to do what it pleases -- customers come as they may -- if it involves something like porn or loud music or whatever. something that doesn't inherently hurt a second party. but if you're doing something that can kill other people, sorry, all bets are off. and your point about workplace safety discriminatory. i'm an accountant, and no one would ask me to spend my day in an asbestos-ridden room covered in lead paint. it's like the idiots who say "it's my property, i can do what i want with it." oh really? how would you like it if your next-door neighbor decided to build a 5-story tower without expertise or code made out of plywood that shook violently in the slightest breeze over your baby's bedroom window? or install a woodstove improperly and burn you to death? or how about a runway in his backyard? how about a graveyard so when it rains pieces of bodies float into your yard? liberty is great and all, but public safety is, well, necessary.

Rebeccarose: My point exactly; make it illegal. But, as long as it is legal, private business owners should have the right. No one is forced to work there; no customers are forced to patronize. If it is such a public safety issue, and yes, I agree it is, then it should not be legal at all. The majority of examples you gave are issues that are legally regulated by code, etc. As far as workplace safety, there are many, many laws; yet none of them mention smoking, so the owners (and myself) are not being discrimitory. Which brings it back to -- make it illegal; add it to workplace safety laws, etc. Until then, I still feel that private business owners have the right to run their business as they wish, within the law.

I don't want to deter the topic off of smoking, but I seriously take issue with rebeccarose's comments implying that pornography "doesn't inherently hurt a second party." Saying that a business should do as it pleases "if it involves something like porn or loud music or whatever" is nonsensical, I think. Comparing loud music to pornography is like comparing apples to orangutans...can't do it. Loud music is just a nuisance that could potentially damage your hearing. Pornography IS harmful to second parties, ma'am. The proof is in the pudding. If the pudding contains the tears of victimized women AND men, the blood of those murdered in crimes of jealously and passion, and the remnants of broken trust and destroyed marriages. Just how cigarettes slowly destroy the body, pornography destroys the mind. It rapes it. I'm sorry, Dana for taking the topic off your original post. I just couldn't stay silent on this.

My husband is a smoker and he knows it's bad for him and gross and all of that. He knows I want him to quit, but I don't harp on it because he is so good about being considerate. He never smokes in the house or around the kids. When we go out, he always excuses himself and goes outside to smoke even if the establishment allows smoking.

I think a ban on indoor smoking would be great as long as it is the entire state. When Arnold banned smoking, businesses did lose out because people just went to the next town over. My family owns a restaurant and bar (which only allows smoking in the bar, btw) and times are tough enough without adding in a city or even county specific smoking ban.

You can bowl smoke-free (and alcohol-free) on the Campus of SIU-Edwardsville. (You don't have to be a student.) Bowling alley info here: http://www.siue.edu/MUC/lanes.html.

Enjoy!

I'm not usually one to hold a position contrary to The Dana, but since when was a private establishment public? We still have something resembling a free market system in this country. If a restaurant owner wants to allow smoking in his establishment, that's his business. If you don't want to be around smoke, don't eat there!

If there are enough anti-tobacco fascists where you live (and for the record, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, though on rare occasions I will enjoy a cigar), instead of pushing for nanny-state legislation, get together and open up a smoke-free business. Call it the "Smoke-free Diner" or something. All tobacco haters will flock to it, right?

In a free market system, you vote with your money. Punish businesses you don't like and reward the businesses you approve. Businesses will prosper or fail based on what consumers want.

I do not like to be around smoke. That's a personal choice. But if I walk by a smoker on the sidewalk, my day is not ruined. My wife and I have a newborn, and we will probably go out of our way to avoid smoke.

By the way, one of the main reasons that the anti-smoke agitators are pushing for tobacco bans is that Congress will not do it. Wanna know why? Tax revenue. Tobacco taxes are really high, and tobacco consumers are willing to pay. This Congress and the incoming Obama administration are looking to approve a budget with a $1,000,000,000,000 deficit. One trillion dollars. I don't know how much money federal tobacco taxes bring in annually, but with that bid a deficit, Congress and Prez Obama aren't going to shut down that revenue stream anytime soon.

I haven't seen the proposed legislation for the Saint Louis area, but I know that in other places where they have banned smoking, they also banned chew, also known as smokeless tobacco. Can you tell me whose health is affected by the second-hand smoke from smokeless tobacco? There is no such thing as second hand chew. The devil is in the details, and the anti-smoking crowd is likely being a little less than transparent.

And I have to ask: after they vanquish tobacco, what will they go after next?

PS - I agree that a smoking section in a restaurant is pretty much like a peeing section in a pool.

Please! Call or Write Mayor Slay!

He states on his blog: http://www.mayorslay.com/desk/display-print.asp?deskID=1169

"A reader of this blog wrote in to ask that I repeat my position on smoke-free restaurants in the City. That’s fair enough. I do not smoke. I prefer dining in smoke-free restaurants. I wish every restaurant in the City were smoke-free by its own choice. With that said, I would support a national, statewide or City/county policy that restricted smoke in restaurants. I would not support a local ordinance that put restaurants in the 62 square mile area of the City at a financial disadvantage to their unrestricted competitors in St. Louis county by requiring that only City restaurants install expensive air-handling technologies or banning smoking.

We need to tell him to ACT NOW to make St. Louis Smoke-Free. There is no reason to "wait for the county".

Mayor Slay's Contact Information:
Mayor's Office
City Hall, Room 200
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

Telephone:
314.622.3201

Facsimile:
314.622.4061

I remember sitting in a sports bar innocently eating my chicken wings and drinking a nice cold refreshment when this chain smoking woman-person began blowing her smoke over her shoulder straight into my table. So, as this was a smoking establishment, I pulled out a cigar I happened to have (and usuallu only smoke outside at my own residence). I lit up and sent the beautiful 2nd hand cigar smoke back in her direction in large copius quantities.

At this point the lady turned around at me and gave me a death-stare and started fake choking. Of course she was still puffing away at her cigarette. She loudly tells the women that she is with how rude it was for 'people' to smoke cigars in a sports bar. I about fell out of my chair. I spoke up to the whacko and asked her if she considered her cigarette 2nd hand smoke in the same way. With a straight face, she told me that cigarettes were different and acceptable. So, I continued sharing my 2nd hand cigar smoke with her until they finally moved. I just outsmoked her which she couldn't comprehend.

So, my advice is to carry a cigar or a can of bu**sh** spray with you for those offensive smokers who blow their smoke in your direction. Just blow something more pungant back and I guarantee you that they won't get it. I have found these type of smokers are the most selfish and self absorbed people in our society.

I ditto commenter I believe it was Jennifer:
It must really difficult to deal with smoking environments in light of your son's asthma and I sympathize. I can understand your wanting to keep cigarette smoke away from your son in the restaurant, but as disgusting as the habit is, the smokers at that restaurant had a legal right to smoke and you did bring your son into a smoking establishment. I, too, would love to see smoking banned from restaurants, but until that time comes, I'll choose to frequent restaurants that voluntarily prohibit smoking.
I am a smoker but I do not smoke in my house and my child does not even know that I smoke. If I take her out to eat, I LOVE to be in a smoke-free restaurant. I do think MO is behind the times in the smoking ban. However, there ARE cities that have banned it; Arnold, Ballwin, etc. And some restaurants have taken it upon themselves.

Dana,
I am a smoker and when I read your post I was appauled that a family with small children sat in the smoking section. I've witnessed that once and I just wanted to slap the snot out of the parents. I don't have kids, but that's just plain stupid. There's reasons why certain people shouldn't procreate...that's one!
I am a curtious smoker, I think....in my own car, if I'm with a non-smoker, I ask if it's alright that I smoke. And a couple of people have asked for me not to smoke. Okee dokie! No problem for me. Living in IL, I was slightly annoyed by the smoking ban, but whatever. I don't mind going outside, at all. I don't smoke in my own house...again, I go outside.
Bottom line is that I agree with your post and wish all smokers would be polite to those who don't smoke....I try. Plus, I'll support the ban in STL....don't bother me either way.

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