Saturday, November 28, 2020

Put out smoke proposal

I don’t smoke, nor do I find any interest in doing so. I tried it once for a two-week period during my sophomore year of college, but quit because it didn’t do it for me and I found that my workout sessions weren’t as prevalent since my lungs were less capable of doing their duties.

I can’t speak for Ingham County, but one thing I have learned is that no matter how many ads are printed in magazines and no matter how many of those “truth advertisements” appear on television, people are going to smoke cigarettes.

The proposed county-wide ban of smoking that would remove it in all public indoor establishments including bars, restaurants, recreation areas and public and private work sites is a good idea, but it won’t change anything and will decrease revenue for business owners.

It’s a harsh reality that nearly 430,000 Americans die each year from smoke-related illnesses and they cause 20 percent of deaths in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

The lung association suggests businesses will not lose profit from this proposal - I beg to differ. A good portion of restaurants in the area offer sections for both smokers and nonsmokers. Many college students associate with their friends after the long day and have a smoke together. If this ordinance is accepted, people will just find another place to light up and won’t visit businesses, resulting in a loss of customers.

The Michigan Restaurant Association and area restaurant and bar owners are highly opposed to this proposal, and for good reason. They claim the idea violates Michigan’s Constitution and infringes on business owners’ and individuals’ rights.

Bill Zaagman of the restaurant assocation said that state law governs smoking in restaurants and the ordinance would serve no purpose in stopping people’s smoking habits.

California is the only state where smoking is prohibited in public places with certain stipulations. In 1997, the city of Marquette tried to adopt a similar ordinance and was taken to court by the restaurant assocation and lost. The case has since been appealed.

There also would be a lot of confused patrons of these restaurants since Lansing is in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. People would be able to smoke in some parts, but not others.

It should be up to the owners of the establishments whether to allow smoking.

I respect the lung association’s effort to promote nonsmoking, but it is not going to stop people from doing it. It would be great if it could, because I hate to see people slowly killing themselves every day, but it’s the “truth.” Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, but the lung association is really wasting its time because most people won’t quit with the snap of its fingers because they are either addicted beyond control, or simply don’t care.

I’m not saying the lung association is worthless, because its programs have helped both adolescents and adults kick their habit. The lung association’s premier teen anti-smoking program “Not on Tobacco” reported a 21 percent quit rate among teens in 1999.

Instead of banning it in the area, restaurants need to make smoking and nonsmoking sections totally secluded from each other. I’m not going to name any particular restaurants, but it doesn’t do any good to have two different sections right next to each other without a wall blocking the smoke’s path. That is disrespectful to customers and invades their rights to a nice, clean meal without secondhand smoke.

The proposal discusses banning smoking in bars as well - come on. A lot of people I know only smoke when they consume alcohol. This eviction will result in more house parties around campus, which could cause more trouble.

Dan Julian, a State News intern, can be reached at julianda@msu.edu.

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