Puff On This

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

It’s Tuesday already and I’m still in a quandary over what say in the blog.   I suppose it would make more sense, then,  to just not write anything at all rather than ramble on. But I have found that rambling does sometimes lead to an occasional idea or two.
I know what I’d “like” to write about but doing so is just asking for trouble and I’ve been trying to dodge trouble here for the last few weeks.Let me just say that this month marks ten years since I quit smoking cigarettes. I did it on my own because I was developing a cough just like my old man and I didn’t want to go out like him tethered to an oxygen machine. Now, it appears that South Dakota lawmakers are going to pass a ban on smoking that will include bars and video casinos. I suppose, in light of my smoking history, I should be on the rooftops shouting “amen!” But I’m not. I know it’s hard..probably impossible..to win an argument on this subject in support of free enterprise, especially when emotionally-charged backers of the ban rise up en masse waving their official reports of how exposure to second hand smoke is killing off about 50 thousand non-smokers a year. No one seems to be interested in knowing how that figure was arrived at or which fatal ailments wind up being hung on the hook of second hand smoke.  Nope, it’s good enough that the surgeon general says there’s no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke. Breathing even a little of it, he says, can be harmful to your health. CAN be harmful.  The air in Los Angeles and Phoenix can be harmful too but families keep moving there and don’t seem to be afraid of keeling over when they walk the streets. I doubt if there’s a surgeon general’s report on smog related deaths. I also doubt he actually believes that if your child happens to catch a whiff or two of cigarette smoke that it will bring on disease or worse. That’s the trouble; he doesn’t make a distinction as to the amount of exposure that really DOES present a hazard to your health..which can only make one wonder how many other shocking claims about second hand smoke have been exaggerated for effect. But let’s be honest. Most people who want smoking banned in bars aren’t thinking about saving lives. They look at smokers as second class citizens who don’t have the sense God gave geese. Smokers need to be saved from themselves and if doubling the tax on cigarettes won’t do it, let’s see if we can’t make it illegal for them to light up in the very places where they hang out?  That’s what bothers me.  Smoking is not against the law if you’re an adult.It just seems wrong in this country to legislate away a business owner’s livelihood and the right to allow a legal activity in his own establishment. How can it be considered a threat to public health if nobody is being forced to work or play there?
When the ban passes (and it will) it’s going to be interesting to see how the state makes up the lost revenue from video casinos whose business drops off 25 percent when their smoking patrons leave. (and they will) Darn..I didn’t mean to say all that. Oh,well, flame away.

Leave a Reply