Friday, May 27, 2011

No Smoking in NYC - It's About Time

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23: A sign at the entrance ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
There was quite a bit of discussion on the talk show yesterday about the New York smoking ban. Not only are smokers forbidden to light up in restaurants and bars and all enclosed spaces, now they're not allowed to smoke outdoors either - in parks or at beaches.  I can only celebrate!  Not that it affects me personally, but I can only hope that this spreads across the country.  Thankfully smoking is banned in indoor spaces here in Wisconsin, but those outdoor venues are still filled with smokers.  It makes it really hard to go anywhere.  The entire summer is filled with fairs, festivals, and outdoor concerts - and those events are always filled with smokers.  If I want to go out and have a good time, I have to subject myself to that.

According to WebMD, 22.9% of adults in the US (outside of California) were classified as heavy smokers in 1965.  That number had dropped to 7.2% by 2007.  In 1965 10.5% were considered moderate-intensity smokers, and that number had dropped to 5.4% by 2007.  So, my question is - why has it taken so long, and why haven't more of these smoking bans gone into effect?  So few people smoke, but the rest of us have been required to either stay home or subject ourselves to that smoke if we want to go out.  Every time smoking bans are discussed or go into effect, we hear all about how smokers' rights are being taken away.  Well, what about our rights?  Why do smokers seem to think their rights are so much more important than the rights of the rest of us?  They've taken away my right not to smoke every time I've gone out to a fair, festival, or concert, because there is just no getting away from that smoke - indoors or out.  Especially when smokers of every age spot me and try to get as close to me as they can, to share their smoke even better.  Why don't they look for other smokers to smoke around?

If smokers want to exercise their 'right to smoke' then they can be the ones who stay home, where that right doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights.  Quoting from one of the Related articles here: "Smokers in New York City have one more irritation to contend with" - Well, guess what?  Non-smokers have been contending with the irritation of second-hand smoke for quite some time.  It's about time those with the nasty habit make some adjustments instead of expecting the rest of us to just put up with them! 
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  1. I wish they'd extend the smoking ban to outside places here as well, but if they did the dirty smokers would complain about their human rights.. What about mine I ask, I find it off putting and revolting being near smokers!


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