Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Years, even for you Smokers

Smokers, why should I feel bad for them?In Illinois, January 1, 2008 is No Smoke day. I was actually against this ban at first, but in the year and a half since my own hometown passed local laws prohibiting smoking, first in restaurants, then in bars, I've changed my outlook on the whole concept.

The Illinois Senate, unable to hammer out trivial things like budgets, found their time better spent railroading through lifestyle legislation. That's what I call laws like this No Smoking ban,
lifestyle legislation. Similarly with helmet laws and seatbelt laws. Our downstate legislators thought that by passing laws to tell us how to live, they could act as if they had done something for the people instead of for their small band of wealthy constituents.

I am not a smoker, have never been a smoker, but my parents both smoked, and I have many friends that smoke. I've spent most of my life just dealing with the smoke around me in the places I go to socialize, as have we all. It was never a big deal with me but I won't miss it.

What's amazing are the reactions from smokers. You would think we were jailing them, and having a contrast of towns and establishments just for this last few months has made me glad that the laws were passed, because smokers turned into a whole society of rude whiners. I would hope that a few sessions of standing in the cold would make someone rethink what they are doing, and if they have to do it that bad, why? Already, virtually every workplace has smoking bans, in the local hospital, they can't even smoke outside.

In the town where it was passed early, people complained and said they going to the other town so they could smoke, and came back after a few days realizing there was a reason they didn't go there before. In the town where they could smoke, every smoker blew out smoke at an unprecedented rate, like it was fresh air and they would damn anyone wanting to take the right away from them. It was worse than ever before, and I quit having breakfast at a restaurant there because of it.

It has occurred to me before that it would be funny to drive around and take pictures of people outside "enjoying" a smoke, and posting them. I'll probably do this now, driving to the town of old-timers who actually blew smoke at our table when we had lunch there lasy tear, with my infant daughter. Any other time, this would have been rude, but because they were being oppressed, the asshole that seemed to breathe nothing but smoke just kept puffing. That's another reason I feel no pity for them. If you have to smoke that badly in Illinois, you can go to the private clubs, which is why my American Legion membership is lapsed. It was bad before, now, no way.

I've written my own commentary on smoking many times before, and never posted it, so I'll post this early on New Years Day and go from there.

Happy New Year.

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