Mar 12, 2009

Home of the Marlboro Man bans smoking in restaurants


In what surely must be a sign that the time has come for Michigan to enact a workplace smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants, Virginia became the 35th state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants when Gov. Timothy Kaine signed the bill into law on Monday.

Banning indoor smoking in Virginia is almost like banning gambling in Nevada. Virginia has grown tobacco for 400 years, and the home of the Marlboro man – before he died of lung cancer – is the home of the largest cigarette factory in the world.

The bill is far from perfect because it bans smoking in restaurants unless they have an enclosed smoking room with independent air ventilation. The bill was a compromise between health advocates who wanted an unconditional restaurant smoking ban and conservatives who hold the mistaken belief that this is a choice issue and that restaurant owners should be allowed to decide whether it is in their business interests to ban smoking. But it’s far better than what we have in Michigan. This favors restaurants that have more money to install the equipment.

The so-called “free market” people ignore the new studies that are constantly being released that show the deadly and harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

This is a public health issue, not a free market issue.

It’s time for Michigan to do the right thing and pass the workplace smoking ban.

3 comments:

loungedaddy said...

Smoking bans are indeed a progressive idea. National Socialists in Germany thought that smoking should be banned too. We need to criminalise more non-violent behaviours.

By the way, though. I do like your blog -- whether or not I agree with it. And Gingrich has taken a "left turn." Much of the GOP seems to have done that.

Communications guru said...

Thank you for the compliment. Too often the back and forth can get ugly, so I appreciate that. I don’t see this left turn by much of the GOP, but if it did it would be a good thing.

It’s too bad you brought up that ridiculous Nazi comparison. Smoking bans are nonpartisan, especially this one. Plus, this is not a smoking ban; it’s a workplace smoking ban. You can smoke all you want, but you just can’t pollute the lungs of the 80 percent of us who are non-smokers.

Hitler was a rightwing dictator; if he wanted a smoking ban he could easily have enacted one. Second, this is not about banning smoking. No one is trying to outlaw smoking. If you want to pollute your lungs, fine. I support doing everything possible to discourage smoking and providing all the help you need to quit, but I don’t want to outlaw a legal behavior.

Plus, Hitler’s aversion to smoking was firsthand smoke, and the smoking ban is about secondhand smoke. It’s kind of funny that they knew the harmful effects of smoking in the ‘30s, but it wasn’t until the ‘60s we saw the Surgeon General’s warning on cigarette pack in the U.S. Strange. We have known about the dangers of secondhand smoke for 20 years, and there are actually still people out there who do not believe the science. We are still learning more about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Healthy said...

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