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Smoking Ban
by Sandra McCloud


March 05, 2004

Recently I was approached by an organization working at making Ketchikan a smoke free community. They asked if I would be in support of their cause, and I said yes! I know it may not be a real popular thing to advocate the taking away the rights of smokers but what I cared about most was "taking away the rights of the non-smokers", so that's where I take my stand.

I hear that argument all the time from smokers that they have rights and should be able to exercise those rights. They choose to smoke and risk their own health therefore they should be able to smoke anywhere they want and risk the health and happiness of those around them as well? I am democratic minded, I believe in human rights, so long as they don't infringe on rights of others who are entitled to a safe, healthy, and happy life too.

I have a car that will go 150 miles an hour and I feel I should have the right to drive it that fast but can I? No. And why not? Because it is not only unsafe for me but unsafe for those around me. An infringement of my rights as an owner of a vehicle? Hmm.

I own a gun. I should be able to have target practice in my own back yard since it is on my property, I own it. Is it a safe thing to do since I have neighbors living around me, children walking past my house on the way to school, people driving by in their cars? Hmm.

Well, I have wracked my brain trying to come up with an analogy that would be perfect when confronted by one of those "human rights issues smokers" but haven t been able to come up with the perfect one yet.

The perfect analogy would be for a non-smoker to be in the company of a smoker. The non-smoker would engage in an activity that would cause the smoker to reek of a foul smell, would give him a splitting headache, would cause him pain in his chest for the next 48 hours, would cause him difficulty in breathing, would cause cold symptoms in his nasal passages for at least the next 24 hours, would make him nauseous and put a bad taste in his mouth, and would pass on carcinogens that could cause cancer, death, or at minimum other health issues like emphazema, asthma attacks, or other respiratory problems.

Personally, I think smoking anywhere but outside should be banned. I know that sounds aggressive but I m really tired of going to a restaurant to enjoy a good meal and have it ruined because of cigarette smoke that wanders across the room and into my space, my nose, my lungs, and makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me want to take a plate of steaming dog doo doo over and place it next to the person smoking with a note that says enjoy your breakfast . Would your breakfast be enjoyable if you had that wonderful aroma of dog doo doo going up your nose as you were eating? Well, there is no difference.

I'm tired of not going out and doing things I enjoy like dancing or playing darts because my eyes are burning, my throat gets raspy, I get a headache, and my fun is spoiled so I go home early. I get home, peel off my foul smelling clothes and put them in the washing machine, take a couple of Tylenol, and finish up with a shower. The next morning my chest hurts and I feel like I have a horrible hangover when in fact I have consumed no alcohol the night before. It's all from cigarettes!

Well then there's the argument you don't have to go where people are smoking ! I think YOU don't have to go where people are NOT smoking. You are the one with the unhealthy habit, why should you have more rights that the person who chooses not to have the unhealthy habit. Talk about a screwed up way of thinking!

Those of you who smoke may read this and think it's pretty funny, maybe even pretty ridiculous, but in fact it holds true not only for me but hundreds of others as well. If there was something someone was doing that caused this much discomfort, this much frustration, this much unhappiness in your life, I bet you would have something to say about it and I bet you would want to do something about it!

Sandra McCloud
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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