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sean mcdaniel

just to keep you fired up...the city of san francisco is considering banning smoking on city beaches...and chicago is talking about banning trans-fats...


I'm not neccessarily for or against the ban, but as an ex-Pittsburgher who now lives in Suffolk County NY (land of no smoking in bars/restaurants) I hate going to bars when I'm back in the burgh.

You come home smelling like smoke. It's funny, I barely even noticed when I lived in Pittsburgh...but now that I've moved and come back, you definitely notice and it is so much nicer without the smoke.

Heck, most of my friends are smokers here...and they prefer it too. They don't mind going outside to smoke and then come back in. No one here complains.

Sam M


Thing is, I am right with you all the way. Almost.

See, I don't smoke. I quit quite some time ago. So did my wife. Except she will light one up when she's out. Drives me nuts. Not because I am one of those annoying reformed smokers who can't stop lecturing people. It's because I want one, too. So it's easier for me to be at places where the wife can't indulge.

It;s a good thing for me there are mnore than 170 places in Pittsburgh that are already smoke-free. I can go to those ones. Or go to a place that allows smoking and suffer.

My call.

I just don;t see how I have any right to dictate my wishes to bar owners and patrons who have a different idea of the good life. Or the bad life. Whichever one they want to lead. None of my business.

To be clear, I am not one of those guys who predicts that a ban will kill bars. Or one of those guys who insist second-hand smoke is harmless.

Instead, I argue that it's the bar owner's bar. People can choose to eat, drink or work there if tghey want. And if enough people like you and I start preferring nonsmoking environments, more and more owners will make the switch. Not out of concerns about public health, but an eye for the bottom line.

It;s a fight we will eventually win in most places. And are winning. I just see no place for dictating the terms or insisting that EVERY SINGLE BAR in the state maintains an environment I prefer--any more than I expect them to offer the food I like.

For instance, I prefer Vietnamese to Chinese cuisine. Not so heavy. Probably better for you. I suppose one could make a public health case for forcing the switch. And I think once people tasted Vietnamese, they would agree with me. They would not complain. But that's a pretty dangerous standard for judging the acceptibility of a given proposal.

Long and short: There are a lot of nonsmoking bars already. If I want more I can open one. Or pressure my favorite places to switch. Some of those places won't switch. And if it bothers me that much I should stop going.

Seems like a pretty simple solution.

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