Does the Smoking Ban Work Against Itself?

RECEIVED Fri., May 6, 2005

Dear Editor,
    If Onward Austin's main goal is to protect the public's health, then isn't a smoking ordinance working against itself? The proposed ordinance still permits people to step 15 feet away from the open doors of clubs to light up. Essentially, this pushes the problem into a public area. It is that 1% of private businesses that contains an existing demographic's “dirty habit.” Pop that bubble, and the noxious atmosphere won't go away; it will pollute open air, which children walking down the street will be forced to breathe.
    If this ban passes on May 7, Onward Austin will have succeeded in doing two things:
    1) Potentially killing hundreds of small businesses throughout Austin. To those who “poo-poo” the idea of a ban's economic ramifications, I refer you to a recent and comprehensive study, produced by Canada's FAAC and one of America's leading economists, Michael Evans:
    2) Taking a problem that was already contained in a private area and spreading it all over public streets, thus exposing the children they claim they are trying to protect to a greater risk. Onward, Austin!
    This country's laws were founded in the interest of protecting the little guy. Let's get rid of “majority rules” rhetoric. If this were the reality, black people never would have made it out of America, circa 1950 (attention, Mr. Ahart).
    Over a few months, a variety of nudniks have poured their inept brains across your pages, and inadvertently stumbling through un-American sentiment. One reader laughably suggested that already-struggling businesses that succumb to a loss of revenue caused by the ban don't deserve to exist anyway. By that logic, the planet's surface would be populated purely by Starbucks and Britney Spears. Whatever happened to that Chronicle staff that rallied behind Michael Moore's lampoon on airport security? Liberty is liberty. It isn't black or white. You cannot pick or choose.
    As for the matter of a lifestyle, smoking is a preference, just as one's sexual orientation is. People my age had DARE baring down on our lily-white butt cheeks since grade one. Our generation is far more educated on tobacco than you might give us credit for. Many, despite obvious red flags and warnings, choose to smoke.
Max Dropout
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