Letters: Closer look at the smoke

The NIU editorial on the proposed smoking ban hardly gave an accurate account of the issue. The article claims that smoking in a public place is a personal choice that does not directly affect those around the smoker, but that is exactly the issue, and the writer had it dead wrong. The reason cities are considering public smoking bans in the first place is because the choices of smokers are directly affecting others. Non-smokers are made to inhale unfiltered second-hand smoke, endure an unpleasant smell and carry that smell with them in their clothes and hair. The ban is not meant to end a person’s freedom to smoke, but protect another’s right not to.

And I doubt the state would lose much money from cigarette taxes. Smokers won’t be able to quit just because they can’t smoke in a restaurant. They’ll still smoke in other places. Casual smokers who only light up at bars don’t represent a significant enough portion of tobacco purchases to make a huge difference.

That being said, this isn’t a no-brainer. Many businesses, especially bars, could stand to lose a lot of customers if smoking was banned, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy or especially fair way to deal with that (separating smoking sections doesn’t really contain the smoke). This is the main issue facing proponents of a smoking ban.

Ben Chase

junior in LAS