Some Thoughts on Indoor Smoking

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Thu, 12/22/2005 - 15:58.

        I have many thoughts on this topic, but let's start with the clear facts - secondhand smoke greatly increases the liklihood of a number of diseases not only for the smoker but all of those exposed to it.  So we can clearly prevent loss of life and years of people's lives who don't smoke by not allowing smoking in venues shared by non-smokers.  Having smoking and non-smoking sections cannot completely protect non-smokers- smoke diffuses across the border and still does harm.  And people in a rush will take 'first available' and simiply deal with the smoke or hope nobody actually smokes.

      Though it may be an inconvenience to make smokers go outside, especially in cold weather - this can actually have positive benefits for the smoker.  Not only will they likely smoke less, they will be more likely to connect with others as they congregate outside and finish their smokes.  I've seen this personally in States like New York where it is enforced as well as local establishments like AJ Rocco's, which incidentally was the first bar to go smoke free in Cleveland. 

     I don't mean to condemn smoking and respect the right of an individual to choose to smoke.  I personally believe in 'everything in moderation' - if someone smokes a pipe after dinner or has a cigarrette or two a day it likely won't have pronounced and horrible health effects.  However the nature of the smoking addiction, like so many others, is that people build tolerance to the insiduously addictive nicotine.  Over time one a day shifts from 'cigarrette' to 'pack'.  It is when nonsmokers like family members of smokers, patron nonsmokers, or staff of 'smokey' establishments suffer that we must draw the line.  The sad and actual fact is many smokers, just like alcoholics, cannot really choose anymore because they are consumed by their habit. For those people who genuinely want to quit and haven't, there are a multitude of options: patches, pills, gums, support groups and even hypnosis.

     Let's work to make all of Northest Ohio smoke-free (indoors at workplaces and establishments).  Entire nations (like Ireland and Scotland)  have passed federal laws against this.   If anything we can enlist more establishments to come on board wiith no-smoke policies via grassroots effort.  Legislation can follow.  Think of the children who are most succeptible - I've seen so many kids and even babies brought to bars with good food and kids menus.

       To all my buddies and colleagues out there who smoke a lot, I still love you guys - this is just about the others who don't- and respect for them.

( categories: )