Proposed Ban Isn't About Quitting Smoking

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Smoking, like obesity, is one of those personal-choice pandemic social health issues for which, as a society, we pay.

Overeating and smoking tax the system, and collectively, we foot the bill to treat the cancers, the diabetes and related, but oftentimes preventable ailments caused by these behaviors.

So to maintain a sense of safety from our vices, we puff away on organic cigarettes and sip diet soda with our super-sized fries and double-bacon cheeseburgers.

Let's face it, the Camel Lights and Diet Rites aren't preventing anything. Most of us are quite well-versed in the dangers of cigarette smoking and overeating, but we still do them anyway.

Here's the difference: Nobody's going to die from the adverse effects of secondhand doughnut consumption.

The problem is most smokers are rude. They're going to smoke, and darn it, they don't care who else is around to breathe in their foulness.

That's why the government has to intervene. If it didn't, more of us would have mouth and lung cancer, ashen pallors, inhibited libidos and smell like ashtrays.

It's bad enough that we nonsmokers must shower to wash away the cloying smoke from our hair and bodies after an evening at the bar, and then spend the next day hacking from the polluted air we breathed in the night before.

Smokers like to balk at nonsmokers. They call us a bunch of prissy, intolerant tyrants who want to take away their cigarettes.

It's just not true.

Nonsmokers have just as much right to breathe in clean air as smokers do to enjoy their cigarettes with impunity.

We could throw out the facts and figures pointing to the dangers of secondhand smoke, but that's not the point.

To smoke or not to smoke is a choice. Some of us quit; some of us never started -- but we made a conscious decision to stay away from cigarettes. We're not telling smokers to quit smoking. In fact, smoke all you want -- it's your life.

But why do we have to compromise our own choices and health just so smokers can have their cigarettes?

We tobacco-totallers are not in favor of more government intervention.

We just hate cigarette smoke. We hate to have our dinners spoiled by the nauseating fumes produced by the smokers in the next booth. We hate to watch parents in their cars, windows rolled up, smoking as their children sit in the back seat. And most of all, we hate to watch, helplessly, as our loved ones hack and wheeze and die prematurely of preventable diseases.

That's why a limitation on smoking in public is something we can all live with.

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