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By Scott Tibbs, December 20th, 2004

Let's ban the smoking ban

Well, the Bluebird is going smoke free early, before the ban on smoking in "public places" takes effect January 1.

I've been at the 'Bird three times, each time to see Junior Brown in concert. Each time, I disliked the smoky atmosphere. Smoking is a nasty, filthy habit. It is destructive to the health not only of the smoker, but also to those who are around second-hand smoke. I fully understand the destructive effects of tobacco smoke and I wish I could convince everyone who smokes to stop smoking. If I get an opportunity to see Junior Brown play at the Bluebird again, it will be nice to not be around secondhand smoke while listening to his music.

That said, it is not my right to dictate to a business whether or not they can allow the use of a legal substance on private property. As uncomfortable as it was to be around secondhand smoke, it was my choice to go into the club to see Junior Brown play. This is why, as the Bloomington City Council's ban on smoking in "public places" goes into effect two weeks from today, that I still oppose the ban.

No one is forced to go into a place of business where smoking is allowed. If someone goes onto private property (whether it is a restaurant, bar, or somewhere else) they do so with the knowledge that they could be exposed to secondhand smoke.

On my forum, Troubleshooter argues that "smoking should be banned anywhere people can be required to be, but not anywhere people have the option of not going to."

I tend to agree. Smoking in government buildings should be banned. In both city and county governments here, it has been for several years. No one with breathing difficulties should be subjected to secondhand smoke when doing business with local government.

But private property is another matter. The smoking ban is another example of the "nanny state" thinking it knows better than the common folk. I am 31 years old. I do not need nine people on the City Council trying to be my parents.