Supports Some of Smoking Ban

RECEIVED Wed., April 20, 2005

To the editor,
    OK. After considering several arguments in the Chronicle in favor of the smoking ban I feel compelled to restate my arguments against it. The first issue is the health issue. Opponents say that they are drawn to live music venues for the music and deserve not to have their health put at risk. I can't argue with that and so I'm willing to support a ban on smoking in live music venues. But what about straight-up bars that are there solely for the purpose of providing a space to indulge in perfectly legal adult vices? Are we really convinced that it is OK to deny bar owners the option of catering to adults who prefer adult pleasures because we believe no one ought to have a business catering to those adults who prefer unhealthy vices over “wholesome” pleasures? What a bunch of paternalistic, puritan crap! Why are some folks so unwilling to even consider a compromise? I'll tell you, part of it is that people who push this sort of thing are puritans. It's an “I like a healthy lifestyle so everyone has to live that way” kind of argument. I also believe that a compromise would test the “smokers aren't an important constituency in the club scene” argument by seeing which clubs end up with the crowds. And I think most really know what would happen. If it's true that the majority of people who go to clubs and bars want them smoke-free, then why hasn't the marketplace provided those options alongside more traditional venues? Where are all of those healthy alternatives that so many are demanding? Perhaps it doesn't exist sufficiently and therefore the puritans must impose it upon us all.
Thomas Boggs
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