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Re: Smoking Ban
by Karen Ramsey


March 07, 2004

Good letter, Sandra McCloud! You've stated the immediate ill effects suffered by many non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke. You've also mentioned what many of us non-smokers miss, and that is being able to go out and socialize (or work!) in places like bars or restaurants where the experience would otherwise be enjoyable were it not for secondhand smoke.

I worked at a local lodge/restaurant for a little over seven years. I was the "safety director," among other things, for several of those years. I was required to attend weekly managers' meetings wherein several managers, including the general manager, smoked. After one particularly bad day (physically) for me after sitting in a small, smoke-filled room for two hours, I finally got the guts to tell my boss that I would no longer attend those meetings. She replied that that was just fine, because they were not going to quit smoking. At the end of the day, the g.m. produced a memo to all managers which stated that my presence at the weekly meetings was no longer required. There was no mention made that it was I who had chosen to stop attending.

This memo and the inequity of the situation offended my sensibilities! I decided to quit, and the following morning gave two weeks' notice. (At that point, I had been working in the administrative offices where smoking was also allowed.) At the end of my work day I was told that because my job as administrative assistant entailed making the daily bank deposits, I was now a "liability" to them, and my presence as of the next day was no longer desired.

To have been dismissed so suddenly gave the impression that I had been fired. Some people think that I was fired, since I was not allowed to work my final two weeks. Fortunately for me, I found work at another hotel/restaurant operation in town within an hour of leaving the other job. But that was small comfort after having been treated so poorly by my boss. I had been named "employee of the month" twice in the preceding 18 months, and I was considered a solid team player EXCEPT at the end when it came to tolerating secondhand smoke.

In retrospect, I should have taken the matter up with a lawyer, but I did not. You can guess which side of the debate I am on, though. I think smokers should no longer be allowed to impose their self-chosen poison on others in this town. At the very least, a person should not have to choose between their health and their job.

Thank you for allowing me this forum to tell my story,

Karen Ramsey
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

Smoking Ban by Sandra McCloud - Ketchikan, AK - USA




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