In a few days, the issue of banning smoking in St. Joe will be addressed by voters. I, for one, will be voting "no" on this ban. Certainly, I appreciate all arguments from those who advocate for this ban; but when all is boiled down, we must forever err on the side of liberty.
I am not a smoker — never have been. I’m fully aware of what smoking does to the health and well-being of the cigarette, cigar or pipe smoker. I also believe said smoker knows what their habit does to them as well. Folks who smoke go into it with eyes wide open — choosing to bring into their lives nicotine and all its consequences.
The health of a city is at the heart of the reasoning for the smoking ban. I would say, conversely, that the health of a city’s liberty is at the heart of the reasoning for voting against the ban. As it stands right now, businesses in this town can either ban or allow smoking of their own volition. This custom should remain. This is liberty.
The bottom line for me as a voter (and taxpayer for that matter), is I’m extremely wary regarding policies proposed that are presented as being in the interests of the public or the greater good. I see the actions by the proponents of this ban as a sort of “health policing,” and while their intents are indeed noble, the ramifications of their campaign, should it succeed, will be an unadulterated infringement upon liberty in this fair city.
Join medical profession in voting for smoking ban
An important ordinance involving everyone’s health is on the ballot April 8.
The Mayo Clinic’s Health Letter states: “Heart attacks decrease with smoke-free workplace laws.” Their study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that smoke-free workplace laws are associated with one-third fewer heart attacks. The Mayo Clinic further states: “Secondhand smoke exposure is associated with coronary artery disease in non-smokers.” They advise: “Avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible, and if you have coronary heart disease, avoid secondhand smoke altogether.”
Legislatively, workers’ health and safety should trump all other considerations. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has omitted smokers and secondhand smoke from this important law. Both parties, the Republicans and Democrats, gave in to powerful tobacco lobbies and workers’ health was ignored.
Everyone with respiratory problems such as asthma, COPD, emphysema and others, is adversely affected immediately by secondhand smoke. The medical profession has proven that smokers and secondhand smoke shorten lives.
I agree that everyone has the right to smoke, just not wherever they want. One inconsiderate smoker can endanger the lives of the young and old who have respiratory or heart disease.
Dr. Jane Schwabe is chairing the smoke-free initiative. All of the doctors I have talked to are voting for this ordinance. It is not perfect, but no ordinance is. Compromise and collaboration are part of the process.
I would have preferred that the casino be included, but it is not. The many health positives outweigh the one negative, however. I am voting for a smoke-free St. Joseph. Please join me.
Let businesses decide themselves
I believe it would be much more sincere if the same people (Smoke-Free St. Joseph) who are worried about others’ health due to cigarette smoke would put that same effort into saving the life of an unborn child. Their talk seems hollow when you look at it this way.
Each of us knows smoking is bad for our health, as are numerous endeavors we have to hurdle each day. As an adult in a free society, that decision is up to me, I choose not to smoke, but for me to set a smoking policy in another person’s building of any sort is wrong, in my opinion.
I do not enjoy the smell nor taste of cigarette smoke in my home, but it is not up to me to set policy in another man’s business. If I do not like certain policies such as dress codes or the music played in an establishment, I choose to not enter into it. Contrary to the fantasy situation created by Smoke-Free St. Joseph, if you do not like what is going on inside of a business, you’re free to go somewhere else (you will not be tied down by the owner or bartender and have a cigarette stuffed in your mouth) — simple as that.
St. Joseph voters, please think about the loss of your right to run your own business as you the person with your name (alone) on the bank note wants to operate it. I hope that all of my family and friends choose to abstain from smoking. I love them all, but it is not their job to tell others how to operate a free-to-enter-or-exit business.