Gerry, I am an adult. I am also an American. I smoke...I know that it’s bad for my health, but I have made the choice to continue, in spite of that knowledge. As an American Adult, I reckon that I have the Right to make that choice, whether others agree with it, or not. I do not need , or require, the permission of the state, the community, family or friends. It is my business, alone. I am not without compassion for those who dislike smoke...I try my best to not bother anyone with my Cloud. At cafe’s, and whatnot, I stay in the Smoking Section, where one is available...a rare occasion, these days. Where one is not available, I go out of doors...despite the often inclement weather....and endeavor to not bother anyone with my habit. The same consideration is not afforded smokers. There is a very vocal minority who have taken up the sword, as it were...to “stamp out smoking”....to make it illegal to smoke anywhere. There is even a city , in California, where they have attempted to outlaw smoking in one’s own home. There can be, it seems, no compromise. Consumers of Tobacco are taxed at a disproportionate rate...ostensibly to provide health care. Anyone who knows me can see the irony, I’m sure. This was once the United States of America, before it was transformed into the Homeland(Das Heimat)...our freedoms, Rights and Privileges have been eroded, chipped away, for many years...under the auspices of “Protecting Us”...from various “Bad Actors”, and even “from Ourselves”... Long ago, a vocal minority succeeded, for a time, in Prohibiting the consumption of alcohol.( and they had to Amend the Constitution to do it, by the way) This was such a colossal failure that the effort was abandoned, in favor of common sense Regulation. Another, ongoing, example of this same sort of thing is the Failed (and likely Unconstitutional) “War on Drugs”, which has utterly failed to achieve it’s stated aims, while Chipping Away at Our Constitutional Protections and Militarizing Our Law Enforcement. The Crusade against Tobacco is of the same species as this. Where does the busibodiness end? Soda is demonstrably Bad For Us...should we outlaw that, as well...will there be “Sneak and Peek” searches to ensure that no one is smoking (or drinking soda) in their own homes? The current talk of an AntiSmoking Ordinance, in Mason, includes the words,” Public Places”. Will this include cars on the highway? My front porch? The River? The Park?...if not now, then at some future date? These type of things have a way of growing and creeping well beyond where they were originally intended.(the proverbial Slippery Slope) Again, where does it end? Where does the conversion of “My business” to “the Government’s Business” stop? As a Liberal Libertarian, and as an American, I think we should be talking about Reclaiming the Rights that have already been taken from us...not inventing new ways to further eviscerate the remaining Rights we enjoy. For all the Small Government Rhetoric we’ve been subjected to, one would think this would be a no-brainer. Non Serviam!
Josef D Pinter