Smoking ban should be given careful consideration

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2005

Smoking will probably always be socially acceptable. For years, people have smoked in their homes and in restaurants, and it was even once O.K. to smoke in offices, airplanes, ballparks and classrooms.

These days, smoking in public is definitely more of an issue. Because research has proven the negative effects of smoking, more people are sensitive to second-hand smoke and more businesses and public places are banning smoking within their premises.

The most recent smoking debate is over whether it should be allowed in restaurants. While initially I thought this was a no-brainer, I do admit that smokers have the right to put up a fight.

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Smoking is legal, with only an age restriction. Alcohol is the same. Smoking in public should technically be legal as long as the consumption of alcohol in public is also legal.

I don’t smoke, and I am underage to drink in public, but of course I am still susceptible to the negative effects of these things. Honestly, I often get annoyed by the smell of cigarette smoke and the sight of an intoxicated person getting behind the wheel, and rightly so.

Unfortunately, smoking cannot legitimately be banned without also banning alcohol. It just wouldn’t be fair.

For those restaurants that do not sell alcohol, whether it is because they are fast food establishments or because they lack a liquor license, smoking should not be permitted. It is not only bad for the health of the smoker and those around him, but it is also just plain annoying.

For instance, everyone knows that a wall of air is basically the only thing protecting the non-smoking section from the smoking section.

Several Alabama cities have already placed a ban on smoking in restaurants. This restriction will most likely spread throughout

the rest of the state–eventually.

Though I can’t wholeheartedly support a ban on public smoking, I will enjoy the benefits of those restaurants that do happen to comply.