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I Thought This Was America!

July 1, 2008 - Wes Burns
Can't smoke while I'm in a bar anymore, huh?


What happened? Long is the tradition of enjoying a cool beer (lukewarm for Europeans) in one of the finer, local drinking establishments while simultaneously enjoying a refreshing cigarette. Why can't this happen again?

Health concern? Of all the bars I've been to in my life I have yet to see a bartender that doesn't smoke. Now before I get inundated with a bunch of "internet tough guys" that will rattle on about how they are bartenders and don't smoke or about how their girlfriend's are bartenders and would never smoke: I'm not buying it. At the very least bartenders knew what they were getting into. Don't ask to meet the girlfriend either, she lives in Canada...met her at Niagara Falls.

Is smoking bad for you? Of course it is! So is drinking! So is yelling at strangers, dance floor shenanigans, and the rest of the myriad of bad things that happen at bars. That's what we have them for. Bars aren't supposed to be healthy institutions; any small trip into the restroom should quickly dissuade any notions of support for "clean living".

What about the restaurants? What about them? You don't like going out to a restaurant where they allow smoking? Don't go. This is the United States: you don't like something you don't participate. Simple as that. What about the people that work there? Too bad.

Does that sound cold? Its supposed to. A person can chose where to work and if they have problems with smoking then find a different profession. Nobody is being FORCED to work at Applebees. This isn't a health concern or a public safety concern; this is whining. You don't like it then go somewhere else, running to the government is a waste of some very important people's time.

Smoking is an adult activity; that's why you have to be 18 to buy them. Smoking should be dealt with in an adult manner like letting the business owner choose to allow smoking or to ban smoking. Simple as that. Personal choice and responsibility is an adult way to deal with the issue, banning a legal activity in public areas because of the mild discomfort of a few self-righteous patrons is childish.

Also: all of the anti-smoking arguments hit the wall when it comes to casinos. The health argument isn't legitimate because it isn't universal. Why should bartenders and waiters health concerns be addressed but not casino workers? Is it because everyone in the casino is of age? Then how did the underage kids get in the bar?

So this entry might be a little more angry than the rest. I wouldn't be so mad if smoking had just been banned in restaurants. Bars? Despite the behavior of some patrons during the weekends bars are places for adults. But it doesn't matter. I can no longer smoke in an Iowa bar. Thank God we didn't spend that Congressional time worrying about deficit relief or maybe some reinvestment in infrastructure. So hoist a glass non-smokers; if you need me I'll be outside.


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