Friday, July 8, 2011

Smoking Ban in Springfield, Mo. and

The voters in Springfield Mo. Passed a law this Summer which said no one could smoke in a public place. I have been told that the law used to say people could smoke in Smoking Areas of restaurants and bars, and within fifty feet of any public building. Of course, this new law is already being tested in the courts.

I don't smoke and don't like breathing in other people's smoke. I was glad when restaurants started having non-smoking areas. But I wonder why the people of Springfield voted in this law.

Was it new medical information on what is now being called, "third-hand smoke?"

I approve of the new gross warnings about the effects of tobacco on cigarette packs. Maybe they should put similar gross pictures of domestic violence, car crashes, vomit, etc. on alcohol packaging.

But for all of my dislike of smoke and drunkenness (which is different than a truly Occasional drink) I could not have voted for this law. If I go to a restaurant, I sit in the non-smoking section. If I go to an outdoor event where people smoke I move away. Bars, I usually skip because I can neither breathe well nor Hear well inside them. The only advantage this law brings me on a Personal level is that I could go to see blues performers in Springfield, if the bars are smoke free.

My concern about this law is it seems to go too far in regulating personal behavior. As I understand this law, people can now only smoke in their cars in public parking lots and in their homes and yards and the homes and yards of friends. Regulating behavior in public is hard to enforce, if it isn't threatening, criminal, or very obnoxious. Don' our police in Most places have Enough to do? Springfield is a college town, how will such a law be enforced on campuses?

I don't like rules against Muslim women wearing bourkas and face veils on public streets.

No, the two behaviors are Not the same. One is a personal choice to risk one's health and the other is a personal choice to express one's religious beliefs by dressing in a particular way. The motivations Are Different. But Both of these laws, one in Springfield, Mo. And the other under discussion in several European countries impinge on personal freedom too much for me to be comfortable with either of them.

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