I am a fairly recent transplant to Austin so I had no opportunity to cast my ballot against efforts to legislate and control smoking by adults with the city limits. Austin prohibits smoking in restaurants, public buildings, and a bunch ofother places, including bars!
There has been all this panic about how dangerous smoking is and how second hand smoke is even worse. And one by one cities and states have surrendered to the rabid and fanatic crusaders who seem to think that their opinion is more important than mine.
I have always found it very telling that there has been very little effort anywhere to ban the sale of cigarettes completely. This country still subsidizes tobacco growing, for Pete's sake!! Sooo, its okay to grow tobacco and its okay to sell tobacco, but not to smoke tobacco?? How hypocritical!! All that lovely tax revenue, advertising money, etc. is a cash cow that the government freely and expediently takes and uses with no qualms. If cigarettes, cigars, and pipes would disappear, so would all that money! Can't have that! So instead, we'll just hound smokers every single day and label them pariahs and outcasts!
About 30 years ago, after Koop's diatribe against smoking, we smokers began accommodating the escalating demands of non-smokers. Since then we have graciously given up smoking in our offices, our businesses, stores, restaurants, bars, and indoors in general so as not to offend anyone. Many smokers have even stopped smoking in their own homes lest the "taint" that a smoker lived there adversely affect the resale of those homes! (Including me, I only smoke in my garage or outdoors at home!) And am I the only one who finds it fascinating to note how many people are smoking in cars! Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid "offending" others and to be "cooperative" and a "good guy", smokers have pretty much given up without a fight.
I recognize the rights of non-smokers to choose not to smoke, but I do not believe that means smokers have no rights at all.
Smokers' willingness to completely bend to the will of others has only fed the endlessly increasing demands by non-smokers! Like all bullies, the more non-smokers can intimidate others, the stronger and more unreasonable their demands become. It is time to stop this onslaught of one group of individuals' rights at the expense of anothers'.
Now I am not naive. I know we lost the war, the very first time some smoker agreed to put out his cigarette at the demand of someone else without protest. What doesn't make sense to me is that no matter what "victory" the non-smokers win, it is NEVER enough. Lots and lots of people do not frequent bars, taverns, saloons, bowling alleys, poolhalls, cocktail lounges, or casinos. In fact, a lot don't even frequent restaurants much at all. Never mind, some of them still voted to ban smoking in all those places! Why?? What earthly difference could it make to them?
While sitting in a legal smoking section usually in the bar, I have personally seen restaurant patrons separated by a glass wall and sitting as far away as possible, start to cough and fan themselves as soon as they see me pick up a cigarette....before its even lit!!! That is absurd! Truly! (I can't help but laugh, I mean, really!)
Now in Austin there is only one place left for us to go. Hooter's! No other place where it is still possible to have a meal, a drink, and a cigarette indoors, sitting down, and in peace! Great choice!! Excuse me, but I find Hooter's offensive. I don't want to support a place that treats women so horribly! I have been there. I have watched a bunch of drunken louts sit and ogle and insult the waitstaff women with their breasts spilling out of their "uniforms".
That's it though, only Hooter's is left of those places which were "grandfathered" out of required compliance. One, in a city of approximately 5,000 restaurants/bars!
If non-smokers don't like having smokers in the same building with them, then they should go somewhere else, just like smokers have had to do for years. Believe me, there are scores of places that are completely smoke-free! There are plenty of choices. One by one we smokers have watched as smoking sections have disappeared from their favorite restaurants. If an establishment is willing to accommodate the gazillion restrictions requiring separate ventilation, separate rooms, separate everything, let them do it in peace!
But no. We've all let the bullies take over. I really think they could have figured out that being in the proximity of a smoker is NOT an automatic death sentence. Even the experts agree that breathing in second-hand smoke becomes dangerous after exposure over a long period of time, NOT after spending an hour or so in a restaurant that has a completely separate smoking section!
Just outside of Austin, in the town of Cedar Park, TX. there is a Chili's restaurant and bar. Cedar Park appears not to have a no smoking ordinance. I have been driving the approximate 15 miles from my house to that restaurant for lunch several times a week for the past 2-3 years. I drive past about 50 other restaurants on my way, including another Chili's. Why?? They still have smoking allowed in the bar and it is legal. There is a separate ventilation device and a wall separating the bar from the restaurant. But as we all know (ha!) those measures are totally ineffective and folks who brave the smoky, smelly, unhealthy restaurant air will curl up and die of lung cancer before they can consume their dessert!
Last week Chili's posted a single piece of paper on the exit door, "As of March 1, 2010 Chili's will become a non-smoking restaurant." Based on complaints received and the abuse the waitstaff had to take, the Corporate Office decided to cave in.
So "Another One Bites the Dust." AAArrrrrgggghhhh! And again, the smokers go down without a whimper!
I wonder if anyone ever told all the fanatics the unpleasant truth. It's easy to avoid facing the facts, but no matter how much you bully others and ignore reality, the truth is....
100% of Non-Smokers Die!
And all those bullies, fanatics, rabid, frothing busybodies should beware. Losing freedoms is an extremely slippery slope, and sooner or later something you enjoy will be targeted by a different group of bullies and know-it-alls and YOU will become evil incarnate!! I can hardly wait!