Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smoking Bans: Can We Please Stop Pretending It's About Health?

I don't write much about smoking bans.  I know, as a political blogger, you'd think it is some kind of prerequisite.  I choose not to talk about smoking bans, though.  It's not that I don't have strong feelings on the issue, because I do.  I choose not to spend time on it because: A) I think smoking bans are inevitable, and B) There's plenty of blogs out there talking about it and I'd just be noise.

So today, the day after the Indianapolis City-County Council has, for the second time this year, passed a enhanced smoking ban, I guess I'll touch on the issue a little.

I don't really want to talk about the ban itself, though.  I'm not going to focus on what's included, what's not included, who's applauding the vote, and who's upset with it.

Instead, I want to talk about why people want a smoking ban to begin with.  And let me tell you...it's not about health.  Not about the health of patrons.  Not about the health of employees.  It's not.

And I'm not going to get into whether or not second-hand smoke is dangerous.  Or third-hand smoke, which I've started to see little bits and pieces of mentioned in stories.

I'm not going to talk about any of those things because that's not why people want a smoking ban.  Some people are concerned about those things, but that's still not why they want a smoking ban.

People who support a smoking ban want a smoking ban for one simple reason: the smell.  They hate the smell of cigarettes.  They don't like going to bars and having to put up with the smell.  They don't like coming home and smelling the smell in their clothes.  They don't like feeling like they need a shower to get the smell off of them.

I get that.  There is a non-smoking bar near my house that I enjoy going to because I don't like coming home smelling of cigarettes. (Although I will sometimes smoke a cigarette or two while I am in a bar.)  But I don't pretend I go there because it's better for my health. I go to avoid the smell.

Why do I believe that it's the smell and not the health that is why people want a smoking ban?  A couple reasons.  First, that's what people bitch about.  The smell.  Not the impact on health, but the smell.  Second, there are plenty of other things that are plenty dangerous to people's health that you here very few ramblings about.

I'm not saying no one cares about the health aspects.  I'd bet, however, that if cigarettes were odor-free, then this argument would be a much quieter one.  I just wish that smoking ban advocates would be honest and say they don't like the smell.

1 comment:

  1. Why do they want to pick on smoking? Nothing is said about drinking. wow Nothing in life is good for one. Lets go for pollution from manufacturing plants. polluting our air. Chemicals in manufacturing plants killing our loved ones. People need to stand up and fight back.