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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Letter to RedEye: Smoking Ban

Still trying to get published again. I'll let you know if anything comes of this one.

(UPDATE: Got published! As usual, everything in bold is what they printed - you get to see the entire unedited version!)

I think that the smoking ban is a horrible idea. Banning the use of something that is approved for sale is a ridiculous notion, even if it's for the supposed "greater good" of preventing secondhand smoke. The product can be sold at any establishment and is regulated by the federal government, but with this ban anyone purchasing that product is like a pariah. That makes as much sense as saying, "Here is your cupcake - now go outside if you want to eat that because you're offending the other customers with your cupcake-eating. You're putting them all at risk of being killed by getting crushed by a fat person!"

While I'm not going to turn a deaf ear to all of the scientific research about secondhand smoke and its effects, my gut is telling me that most of the secondhand smoke damage is done either at home over a prolonged period of time, or working in a previously-smoke-friendly location - not having to be in the same area as a smoker during lunch a few times a week.
My gut also tells me that I inhale more poisons into my body from crossing one traffic-filled street downtown than I would by spending an hour in the non-smoking section of a restaurant (even if the entire smoking section were filled with chain-smokers). And that's just one street-crossing. So unless the government plans on foolishly trying to remove all cars from the downtown area (oh wait, Alderman Burke proposed a downtown toll) or removing all the buses as well (oh wait, Doomsday in January's got that covered) - I'd prefer if lawmakers started focusing on real crimes and enforcing laws that keep real dangers from harming me. Stop taking away our liberties. Oh, and just for the record, I'm a non-smoker.

Aaron Samuels, 24, Bridgeport

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