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Smoking ban goes up in, well, smoke?

As this Beacon story (Smoking drifts back into area businesses) notes, several area establishments have quite literally been ignoring the new statewide smoking ban, which went into effect last Thursday.

I actually debated this with my father on Sunday. He (a smoker) pointed out that everyone was (and will continue) just ignoring the ban, so it didn’t even matter. Apparently, the bowling alley I used to work at (which was always a sort of shady place) is just telling smokers to pack the back party room and smoke there because they don’t want snow being trampled in all night. The smoke in the bowling alley alone probably took a year or two off MY life just because I had to breathe it constantly every night I worked. I remember guys would come up to the counter to smoke cigars. Cigars! I would literally choke while taking their order thinking “now, is that necessary?”

My father went on, “You think the bars in Kent are enforcing it? You’re wrong. Nobody is.” To wit I replied, “The ones I was in Thursday didn’t have a single smoker, and Ray’s yesterday and BW3’s today… nobody was smoking in any of them.” Perhaps because Kent was so close to its own ban, the bar owners resigned themselves to the inevitable. My dad’s argument to continue flaunting his cigarettes in public places was that it was a basic right. My reply? And not being exposed to pollutants that literally decrease the length and quality of my life, that’s not a right of mine? He then went into the old well “fast food is bad for people but they haven’t outlawed it” argument, and I quickly put that one to bed as well with a retort, “Well, if I chose to eat at McDonald’s then so I harm myself. I’m not hurting innocent bystanders or forcing it down anyone else’s throat.”

It’s not that my family and I don’t see eye to eye on most things, we do. It’s just that I am the one who sticks up for my position even when everyone else disagrees — probably because I’m the most informed. But seriously, as the article points out, enforcement or no enforcement, choosing to continue smoking is breaking the law.

In other unrelated news, this panda video is adorable.

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