I’ll be honest (sorry Mom): I’ve been seen smoking cigarettes inside of bars in Alexandria; it’s nothing I’m particularly proud of. In fairness to myself, I was young; it wasn’t something I did regularly; and I rarely go to bars. And kids, smoking is stupid; it’s bad for your health; it’s not cool; and seriously, it does choke up the available oxygen in a room. It’s never enjoyable to compete for clean air.
I have little sympathy for smokers who feel like their rights have suddenly been trampled upon. Seriously, if you need to smoke, then step outside; it’s not that difficult. Even if you dispute the science, you still have to admit that there’s a chance you’re forcing the people around you to share the air you may have made more toxic. So c’mon. Walk a few feet and light up outside. I think that’s more than reasonable.
I’m not making a value judgment: My maternal grandmother, who I loved dearly, was a smoker. She died of a lung disease at the age of sixty-four. She was also an incredible mother, grandmother, and a compassionate caretaker. And when she wanted a smoke, she went outside.
It’s not just about second-hand smoke; it’s about imposing a person’s toxic behavior on the rest of us. It’s a public health issue. In a bar, people can’t experience how drunk you get, but they can breathe your smoke. And it’s gross, and it may be toxic, which makes it pernicious.
On a final note, a commenter on The Town Talk incredulously wondered whether any of the supporters of a smoking ban had ever been to a bar, as if the definition of a bar was a place that allowed smoking. I have to respond: Have YOU ever been to a bar outside of Louisiana? Seriously.
Welcome to the 21st century, folks. You can’t just expose others to carcinogens in an enclosed space. As drunk as you may be, you need to hobble off of your barstool before lighting up a cancer stick. Get used to it.