Monday, February 15, 2010

"Another One Bites the Dust"

WARNING:  This post is about smoking, those of us who still smoke, and those who would grind it out of existence.  If you don't like smoking or reading about smoking, then don't read this!  

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!


  1. This was a very interesting post to me, Mellodee. I admit I'm in that anti-smoking camp, in general*. But reading the perspective of an unapologetic smoker was eye-opening and educational. So--thank you for writing this! I can't say that I agree with you on every point, but I do feel I understand you better.

    *While I'm not pro-smoking, I do think that private business owners should be allowed to decide what happens inside their own restaurants, bars, etc., so I don't really support ordinances that prohibit smoking in those places.

  2. I wouldn't expect my words to convince anybody to alter their views. But if it made you see it from a different perspective, well, I'm really pleased. I appreciate your open mind! There are two sides to every issue, thanks for listening to mine!


  3. Very good post Mellodee... I'm a non-smoker who believes if you want to kill yourself, it's your business.

    People do whatever the media tells them to do because it's easier than having original thoughts.

    I applaud you for your flipping the bird at all of us non-smokers who cause you inconveniences.

  4. i just want one place to eat, read, and smoke inside! Really doesn't seem like too much to ask.

  5. Hello I found my way here from Laurie's blog. I'm a non-smoker. My husband smokes, he dosnt do it in the house--he stands by the patio doors and smokes.

    Wisconsin just passed the no-smoking in public places..i believe in april it takes effect and no more in bars etc. I was LIVID at that. For one, when I go to a bar, I expect people to be able to unwind and do "adult" things..if they want to smoke,drink and chill, in my opinion its their right and their business. I know full well when I go into a bar what to expect. I feel no way should our government have ever had a say in this...its NONE of their business. If i want to avoid smoke I know how to do that on my own. Most restaurants have taken it upon themselves to have a place for non-smokers. Being a non-smoker and one that is heavily affected by smoke--I am still livid at this. I just am beyond tired of our government getting into our personal lives and thinking they do what they do to protect us...they could care less about everyday people, its all about votes and money. I only wish the "smokers" would fight harder and get this reversed.

  6. You have no idea how refreshing it is to hear that there are people out there that still have commonsense, a devotion to individual rights, and an appreciation of the concept of choice! Perhaps if smokers had realized early on how much interference in their lives would come from strangers who have embodied the concept of entitlement, they might have fought harder. But we didn't and now its probably too late!

    Thanks for stopping by. Come again! I promise not all of my postings are rants!

  7. My dad would have loved your post! Guess I'm one of those rabid non-smokers you hate. I do think, however, that there should be a FEW restaurants where people can smoke in peace. Non-smokers can easily avoid them. Now I'm going to go wipe the froth from my mouth and head out to dinner in a nice non-smoking restaurant!

  8. Sandi, The key sentence in your response is "Non-smokers can easily avoid [places that allow smoking]." That's my point. If you are a non-smoker you can go to any one of thousands of places where smoke doesn't exist. I'm not trying to force non-smokers into anything! May they all live long and prosper, just don't try to control everyone else!!

  9. Oh Mellodee, this post is fabulous! Well said, my friend! There is no possible way to regulate EVERYTHING that offends others or makes others sick. My husband is allergic to scents. I cannot wear cologne or perfume. There have been many times when we have been in public, and someone's strong perfume has sent him into days of coughing and sniffling. I'm sure he's not the only one who is affected by smells. Shall we ask that perfume, scented candles, etc. be banned from public places? I do not believe that most non-smokers think that the second hand smoke is killing them. I think it is offensive to them, and it may irritate their eyes. You're right, we smokers went down without a fight, because of our shame over this horrible habit that has been legal, accepted, and even promoted in our country! (I recall having an ashtray by my bed in the hospital after I gave birth!) The final straw for me was that there are no longer smoking rooms in hotels. At least, they used to keep us segregated from those good non-smokers (maybe even gave us our own floor in the hotel). Now they tell me if I want a cigarette before I go to bed, I have to go outside, in the dark, unescorted, and smoke it! Whew! You got me on my soap box! Good post! laurie


Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It's really nice knowing what you think!! Besides, comments keep me from feeling like I'm here all by myself!! :)

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