Thursday, November 1, 2007

Up In Smoke

There are about 49 million smokers in the U.S. That seems like a massive amount, but compared to the over 250 million non-smokers, they are a definite minority. Last time I checked, the United States was a democracy, a place where the majority’s decision mattered. Why then should our country’s non-smoking bar patrons have to put up with the toxic fumes filling our nation’s bars. A nationwide smoking ban in all bars and nightclubs would be beneficial to over 80 percent of Americans and should be instated.

Many states, including Minnesota, already have bans in place and they seem to be very successful. Why then shouldn’t every state follow the same type of rules. Each side seems to have plenty of arguments why the ban should/should not be instated.
Most people just seem to hate the smell of smoke that lingers in the bar and restaurants days after a cigarette is lit.

“I hate it when people smoke around me! That stuff reeks,” said Richard Bigelow. Many others dislike the potential health risks associated with the smoke.

“People should just smoke outside, I don’t want cancer,” said Goodhue native Sean Thomforde.
The loss of revenue in the nightlife area is one such concern. When people go out to drink and have a good time, they often have a cigarette. Opponents of a ban say that bars will lose revenue when the smokers no longer come to their establishment to drink. However, this doesn’t seem to be correct. People go to bar to drink, not to have a cigarette. Without cigarette smoke, more people will feel like going out to drink. The bar owners should not lose any profit. In fact, in some states where a ban is already in place, bars actually saw an increased profit.

Others argue that a ban would not be effective because there is no one to enforce the law. They say bar owners will be reluctant to tell any smoking bar patron to put the smoke out. There is a simple way to get around this problem. Regular checks of the air quality inside the bar would tell if smoking was going on inside. If it was, the bar could get a warning. Too many warnings, and the bar could be shut down.

It doesn’t make sense that only certain states have a smoking ban in bars. Do some states value the lives of its citizens more than others? That sure seems to be the case right now. If our nation cared about all 300 million of its inhabitants, the federal government would follow Minnesota’s lead and enact a nationwide ban of smoking in bars.

There are so many reasons that a federal ban of smoking in all bars would be beneficial to all 300 million Americans. The bars would actually see an increase in revenue, it would be easy to enforce, and it would show the government truly cares about the people.

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