Friday, January 06, 2006

Sayonara cigarettes

It looks like a total ban on smoking in the workplace -- which includes bars and restaurants -- will pass the New Jersey legislature today. If it does, Acting Governor Codey will sign it in the next few days and the ban will take effect 90 days later. What seems to be the only controversial point in the bill is that casinos will be exempt from the ban.

First, I agree with the bill and think it should become law. I hope it passes today and Codey signs it next week. I'm all for people having the choice to smoke, but the rest of us shouldn't be subjected to their habits. I supported Mayor Bloomberg when he pushed it through in New York City (where I work) and it has not made the bars any less crowded. I hope that once passed and signed into law, the state will enforce the ban like New York did -- tickets to the smoker and the owner of the bar.

Second, I support the casino exemption and would support an exemption for bars and restaurants that have air filtration/purificiation (or whatever) systems like casinos. You don't notice the smoke in a casino nearly as much as you do in a small bar. If the bar has some system to constantly bring clean air in and dirty air out, I'll suffer a little bit (it better be a VERY good filtration system) so my friends don't have freeze on the sidewalk while sucking on their cancer stick.

I'm not usually a supporter of "nanny" laws (the government trying to be your nanny and telling you what is and isn't good for you). If you want to ruin your lungs on smoking, go right ahead. In fact, I'll drink to your success. But while I'm ruining my liver, I'd like to keep breathing.

And as for Messrs. Travia and Crater (read the linked article above) who think that "'the right to pursuit of happiness" should incorporate the right of men to have their beer and a smoke . . . . "And look at the girls,'" you can still do so . . . you'll just be looking in through the window from the sidewalk.

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