Smoking In Public Places A Fundamental Freedom


by Debbie Lombardi, Payson

This is in response to Jeanne Bench's request for feedback on her recent suggestion that all Rim country restaurants adopt a no-smoking policy. First, allow me to extend my sincere and heartfelt sympathies toward Jeanne for her illness, chronic lung disease. Secondly, let me establish that I am not, nor have I ever been, a smoker.

I do, however, happen to be highly allergic to juniper trees. I recognize that besides being beautiful, they are indigenous to the area. They were here before I was. This prevents me from demanding that junipers be banned from the area. I have no junipers on my property, and I try to avoid them as much as I can.

Although I firmly believe that automobile exhaust pollutes the environment, I still drive a car, as do most people. I know at least one guy, my boyfriend, who probably loves his car more than anything else in the world. For this reason, I doubt that I will ever demand that cars be banned from the area.

Despite the fact that I've read how bad outdoor barbecues are for the ozone layer, I still enjoy an occasional hamburger or hot dog, and an evening away from the kitchen. I have one neighbor who I don't believe has ever used his kitchen range. He loves to barbecue. For this reason, I doubt that I will ever demand an end to outdoor barbeques.

Lastly, I use an awful lot of electricity, knowing full well that there is a utility plant somewhere creating this electricity, either by burning nuclear fuel that we cannot dispose of safely, or by building huge dams that destroy a river's ecosystem forever. I doubt that I will ever demand a moratorium on electricity.

You see, Jeanne, I am one of a dwindling number of people who still believes in the fundamental freedoms granted to all of us in this great nation, one of which is the pursuit of happiness. This applies not just to some, but to all.

Before I would ask others to give up something that they enjoy, I would first look to see if my own behavior offends or threatens someone or something else. Then I'd ask myself how I'd feel if someone were to demand that I cut down my junipers, sell my car, give up my barbecue or pull the plug on the TV forever.

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