By Van Carter
Cigarette smoke is a killer, there isn’t any question anymore. Even Big Tobacco was forced to admit it when the industry’s own research on the nature of addiction and smoking’s relationship to lung cancer came into the light.
Yet, we still allow workers in smoking environments to be involuntarily subjected to the effects of second-hand smoke. We still permit children to be brought into restaurants by clueless parentsto be involuntarily exposed.
It’s mind-numbingly stupid that we still allow people to smoke indoors in public places and hopefully Initiative-901 will pass and it will be a thing of the past.
I can hear the cries of indignation from affronted smokers and property owners already.
The Smokers: “We are adults and can choose for ourselves how we die!” The Property owners: “We should have the right to conduct our businesses how we want!”
Well, not in this case, smokers because you don’t have the right to make anyone jump off lung-cancer cliff with you. And property folks, your employees have the right to make a living without breathing in nicotine-laced carcinogenic poison.
Another argument heard frequently when smoking bans are mentioned is the loss of profit or revenue from the loss of smokers’ business. Well guess what? California and New York are two states that have had bans in effect for years and no one has conducted a study which provides conclusive evidence one way or another.
Supporting 901 from the positive side, what we gain for it, is the simplest choice. With the passage of Initiative 901 Washingtonians gain the right to go into restaurants, bars and other currently smoking environs and be guaranteed a lack of cigarette smoke – that simple and that cool. No more worrying about asking to sit in the non-smoking section of a restaurant and ending up right beside the smoking section. No more going to see a band and wondering why the band is using so many fog effects that you can’t see the stage, only to realize it is cigarette smoke.
For those of you more concerned about social issues and societal health the initiative offers these benefits. We can assume I- 901 will prevent some low-paid workers who lack adequate medical insurance from ending up on Medicaid and we can hope that some people which might otherwise become addicted to cigarette smoke will not end up exposed.
I-901 is a no-brainer. Smoking indoors is bad for everyone. It adversely affects our physical health, the fiscal health of our state, medical insurance rates, property values and property maintenance (yes, smoking is even bad for buildings). Vote yes for 901 and snuff out the issue now.
By Lisa Pratt
By now we have all heard of Initiative-901. It’s an initiative prohibiting smoking in public places or private property open to the public.
This is not just about the health of workers. It is a zealous act; by the health board which will control what you do or your own property. This ban will make it illegal to smoke in bars, taverns, non-tribal casinos, smoke shops and any other businesses or establishments open to the public.
This is not an issue about smoking in daycares, hospitals, churches or libraries. It is about our rights. It’s about personal choice and making a decision that is right for you.
Under this new act you will be limited as to where and when you smoke. You will be fined, ticketed and told to go somewhere else!
If this law is passed on Nov. 8 you will have no rights as a smoker. The major catch is the initiative’s 25-foot rule, not only will you no longer be able to smoke in your favorite tavern or coffee shop but you will be fined if you smoke within 25 feet of the building.
There are businesses that provide decks, patios or sidewalks for smoking, but under this law they are now off-limits too, on any city block good luck finding a place 25 feet away from a building.
The fact of the matter is that I-901 is unnecessary; the current law has been effective in promoting non-smoking areas for people who wouldn’t otherwise have a choice.
Although the majority of the general public doesn’t smoke, people in bars and taverns do. Well over 50 percent of patrons in these types of establishments smoke and in some areas over 70 percent of customers smoke. I-901 is not about having a choice to smoke or not to smoke, it is about making the decision for you, regardless of what you want.
This should not be a ballot issue, it should be up to the business owners to use their property as they see fit. And as far as employees go they should find a smoke-free job if they don’t like their work environment.
But really this shouldn’t be a legal issue, it should be a personal choice. If you don’t like the smoke don’t go in!