Smoking Ban Imposes on Many

RECEIVED Tue., April 26, 2005

Dear Editor,
    The worst argument I've heard for supporting the smoking ban is its purported inevitability. We're told by proponents that to oppose the ban is to stand against the current of progress. We're reminded that there used to be smoking on airliners, in movie theatres, and in restaurants, and that banning smoking in bars is the next step in society's relentless march forward.
    This overlooks the obvious difference between bars and other public places. No matter how tony the decor or the clientele, bars still exist primarily as dens of vice. Whether they are music clubs or not, bars exist to sell booze. They already are gathering places for adults engaging in unhealthy behavior. They are not family environments like movie theatres or restaurants. They are not part of a regulated transportation system. They are private businesses selling alcohol to people who patronize them of their own free will.
    People who support the ban suggest they should have the freedom to go to a bar and not smell cigarette smoke. There is no such freedom. The freedom you have is the choice to go into the bar in the first place.
    I would like to add that I am a nonsmoking, working musician. If the honky-tonks I play go smoke-free because the patrons give up their habit, I'll be plenty happy. But if they go smoke-free because someone who would never darken their door decides they should, that will just be wrong.
Tom Umberger
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