Monday, March 20, 2006

I don't smoke. But neither do I care if someone else enjoys their cigar, cigarette, or pipe. It's their life, let them find pleasure where they want. So when a group of smokers gather in a tobacco shop and light up, over a cocktail or and some beer nuts, why would I care? "Have at it," I say:
Many patrons on a recent evening were enjoying the lush atmosphere and freedom, they said, from dirty looks from nonsmokers. […]

Sitting in the lounge, Clay Beardshear and Clay Achee said they had traveled along the West Coast for several months recently and had a hard time finding a place to have a cigarette with their beer or coffee, because most of the cities they visited had smoking bans. […]

A group of young women who meet at the lounge every Tuesday evening said they are tired of getting heat from nonsmokers and are happy to have a place to relax among their own.
The problem is, the tobacco lounge is also serving the smokers snacks and drinks. And that galls the anti-smoking crowd.
"It's just another example of tobacco companies skirting the law," said Kevin Tynan, marketing director for the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

Last month, city Alderman Edward M. Burke introduced an ordinance to close the loophole in the smoking ban, stating that venues that serve food and drink cannot be classified as tobacco retail stores. […]

"We certainly expect them to try to put these in other cities with bans," said Annie Tegen, program manager for the group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "This is just another slimy trick by Big Tobacco to circumvent the system.
Oh, they claim to be interested only in protecting the rights of non-smokers, but that's not really what they are about. After all, what non-smoker's "right" has been harmed? No, the the real interest of the tobacco Nazis is in using the law to impose their idea of proper behavior upon a segment of the population whose habits they abhor.


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