WILTSE: This convert backs smoking ban

Jul 28, 2011

If anything, business in restaurants has seemed to increase. People who were offended at the stench of cigarette smoke seem to be once again enjoying eating out.

There have been a few die-hards who feel that their rights have been violated, but they have been shouted down by the vast majority.

Personally, I was delighted with the smoking ban. I guess you may say that I had the zeal of a convert, for there was a time when I would have been incensed by the ban. But I quit smoking about 16 years ago. Previous to that, I was an avid smoker.
In 1994 I had a mild stroke. That was the convincing factor that the habit was indeed detrimental to my health. Previous to that date, I estimate that I puffed my way through upwards of 330,000 cigarettes — not to mention a few thousand cigars and, for a while, several pounds of pipe tobacco.

While not the direct cause of my various debilitating illnesses (heart disease and peripheral vascular disease, principally), tobacco has certainly exacerbated them.

I was once an avid golfer; now I play once a year or so. I really miss golf, but I can’t walk. Even riding a cart tires me so that I can’t play more than nine holes at a time. This, I am sure, is due to smoking. But I thank goodness that I did quit when I did, or I’m certain I would not be here at all. I’m thankful for every day that I have.

I was an aggressive, even arrogant smoker — as most people who smoked at the time were. I didn’t care about those around me, for I wasn’t even aware that the cigarette smoke was as offensive as I’m now sure it was.

I had a bedroom I used as a study where I did most of my school work. My wife would complain that the clothes that I kept in the closet smelled of cigarette smoke. I didn’t believe her, for I couldn’t smell it, but I’m sure they did reek of smoke.

Then, one time about seven years ago (long after I quit smoking), I walked into the back door of The Rosebud restaurant. You must walk through the bar there, where there were several people smoking, as there usually were. It was in the winter and I could smell the smoke on my jacket for a week or so just from walking through the bar. So I’m sure that my own clothes must have had the stench of cigarettes from hanging in my closet during the time that I was smoking.

Previous to 1960, it was considered smart and suave to smoke. This is clearly demonstrated in movies of that era, when in restaurant scenes everyone was smoking and it was clear the room was blue with smoke.

By 1990, attitudes had changed so that people were beginning to look upon smoking with disdain.

I began to tire of my friends and colleagues and their sneering attitude toward smoking. So I quit. Cold turkey. That attitude together with my stroke was convincing enough to make it fairly easy to quit.

Nowadays, it seems that smoking appears to be almost criminal, and smokers know it. One never sees a smoker at a family gathering or at a party. Some attendees seem to disappear from the scene from time to time. They are outside smoking even in the winter, and they appear to be ashamed of it.

Thus, the time was ripe for the abolishment of smoking in public places, even in many private places. Had it been tried even as late as 1990, I doubt that it would have succeeded. There would have been a loud howl of protest (even from me) that it wouldn’t have succeeded. Enforcement doesn’t seem to be a problem and everyone seems to comply. 

New York City has even banned smoking on its streets. I wonder how that is going, and if it is enforceable. It would be nice to see cigarettes disappear entirely — but then I suppose nastiness, sin and self-destruction will always be with us.

— By Ralph Wiltse

Comments

ghmomma

If you want to smoke, smoke in your own home or your yard......DON'T SMOKE IN PUBLIC.....

tinaboppergh

You know it's not because us smokers feel ashamed that we smoke, it's because all you non-smokers think it's ok to decide what we can or cannot do. We have the same freedoms as everyone else yet we have to be SEGREGATED to smoke. How about all you non-smokers give it a rest if you don't like people who smoke then just stay away from them easy as that....

Harry Kovaire

It's not that non-smokers don't like smokers - we simply don't like to breathe your smoke. We CANNOT stay away from it when you insist upon smoking in public accommodations like workplaces, bars and restaurants.


I fully support your right to smoke. Don't deprive me of my right not to breathe yours. It was the inconsiderate behavior of the smoking minority that brought these laws into force.

tinaboppergh

well all you non-smokers weren't happy just having seperate sections for smoking and non smoking now us smokers can't go into oour favorite restaurants or bars and enjoy ourselves. I think that is the unfair part....I agree everyone has their right to breathe clean air but dang y'all could have left at least a few places where us smokers could go and enjoy ourselves.

Yaright

Don’t smoke, don’t like it. But, where are all the “individual liberty” types now? If a private business wants to allow it, I say let them. It should be their choice if they want to allow it or not. Is there a sudden flock of non smokers going to bars and dingy restaurants? I doubt it. So if you don’t like go somewhere else. That was the mantra for crosses and swastikas, at least be consistent.

Penguin

You don't have a right to breath clean air.
I know this I have asthma and had to deal with bad air for most of my life.
What gives you the right to say what you can breath and what you can't when I do not have that right.
Plain and simple, you don't. And you don't care about having clean air to breathe, you just want to be able to tell other people what they can and can't do.
I know this because the same people that say how much they deserve to breathe clean air drive automobiles and work in factories and use power that burns coal and pollutes the air and keeps me from breathing clean air. So why are you so selfish? Like I said, you just want to tell other people what they can and cannot do. And If you are reading this and say, no it isn't, think about this, it is you just do not realize it yet.

And as far as I am concerned all the people that wanted this law should hold their breath and not breathe at all, why, because I had a hard time with bars and restaurants having smoke, so I stayed out of them. Now a bunch of selfish jerks pass a Draconian law and I cannot even walk down the street because of all the people smoking on the sidewalks out in front of businesses instead of in them with air management. Thanks a lot, you have ruined my outdoor time with your petty desires. I would suggest you don't brag about this "RIGHT" you have in front of me, I just might exercise my right to breathe clean air and keep you from exhaling(bad poisoned gases) at all.
So when are you going to get all of the automobiles off the road, and all of the power plants shut down, and any factories that put out any pollutant? Oh, that is right, you are not really interested in "Clean Air", if you were these would not be in existence.
You make me sick, shut up, become a real person, and stop pushing other people around.

ghjhs

I smoke but I also support the no smoking ban in public places,I would like to see some exceptions for Bar's that have a efective air system I MEAN A REALLY GOOD ONE. when I go to the casino they must have really good ones I do smell some of it but not very much.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.