Saturday, August 7, 2010

Keep your 2nd hand smoke away from me while I eat!



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


NEW YORK - When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg first proposed a ban on restaurant and other public venue smoking there was a hue and cry from some restaurateurs who predicted that it would drive business away. But, as it turns out, it actually helped business. Because people like me, who don't want to mix other's cigarette smoke with my meal, started eating out more.

My cigarette smoking friends have suggested I've gone over to the other side. As in, with the Nazis. Their rights are being trampled. The restaurants, they argue, are private property. The owner has the right to decide whether he or she wants to permit smoking. And I, as a customer, have the right to eat there or not.

But what of those who need restaurant jobs but don't want to be assaulted by second hand smoke? They have the right to choose as well, my friends say, whether to work there or not.

All of this is pretty stupid to me. Create a smoking deck, or an area outside the restaurant, for those who can't make it through a meal without ruining their taste buds without taking a smoke. Besides, it makes smoking sociable. They can stand around with other smokers and bitch about people like me who forced them outside.

I guess I must have a greater percentage of smoking friends than most - or perhaps they are just more vocal than my non-smoking friends about this issue - because sometimes it seems that I'm in the minority when it comes to smoking in public places. But, apparently, I've been wrong about that.

A new Gallup poll concludes that 59 percent of Americans want smoking off the menu at restaurants. That puts me in the majority on this issue.

So to my beleaguered smoking buddies who keep assaulting me with their arguments about how I favor the loss of their freedoms - I say - take this poll and stick it in their pipes and smoke it!

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Photo: Kansas Sebastian under Creative Commons license

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