A battle is raging here in SD to gain a smokefree state. It is finally being put to a vote in the November election.
I received a pamphlet in the mail from those who are fighting to keep smoking in business places – “It’s About More Than Smoking: It’s About Freedom” – complete with a picture of an American flag and a veteran’s photo and sentiments of fighting for our rights. I’m sorry, but I guess I don’t get it. Our soldiers fought for our freedom from danger, not freedom to put us in danger. I am deeply grateful for all our soldiers and veterans who sacrifice their lives for our safety and freedom, but what does that have to do with freedom to put others in danger?
Yes, I get it that property owners should have a right to run their businesses as they see fit, but why wouldn’t an owner want to respect the health of their workers and customers? When did “freedom” start contradicting respect for another person’s well-being?
If a person drinks too much alcohol, does he or she have a right to drive? Do they have a right to abuse other people around them? Just ask all the families who have lost loved ones because of a drunk driver or who suffer violence because of drunkenness.
Smoking has the same repercussions. The damage isn’t always evident immediately, but it is real and deadly. Actually, sometimes it is immediate. I personally have landed in the hospital when I was caught unaware in the path of a smoker.
I am not running down smokers. I don’t know firsthand how difficult it is to quit since I have never smoked, but I do know people who struggle with it or have struggled with it. Many wish they had never started.
The point I am trying to make is a need for respect for our fellow human-beings. Would we purposely place toxic gas in our homes or businesses?
No, I don’t think smoking in public places is about anyone’s rights or freedom. It’s about caring about others. It’s called common courtesy.
|What’s In a Cigarette?|