Dare to Ask: Are smokers huffing and puffing over
By Phillip Milano
Do non-smoking facilities offend smokers?
Jay, Bluff City, Tenn.
I smoke, and I don't find them offensive; however, if they designate a
smoking area outside the building, I find it offensive if they don't cover it.
While it's become very PC to despise smokers, they are people, too.
It's been shown fairly conclusively that the unfiltered "sidesmoke" from
cigarettes is pretty dangerous to those around you. Most smokers are pretty
understanding about that. That said, I'd say an awning is only fair, but there's
probably a bit of an unconscious reaction against people who demand, loudly and
rudely, the "right" to smoke whenever and wherever they want.
Jason, Bloomington, Ind.
Anti-smoking laws deeply offend me. This is the government stepping in and
discriminating against those who light up.
Tiberious, 24, Cincinnati
If a smoker is offended, it's illogical. A smoker chooses to smoke, but there
are times when non-smokers have no choice but to be around smokers. In a
situation like this, since a non-smoker never has a need to smoke, smoking
should be avoided.
John S., 23, Lake Charles, La.
I am getting upset that everything is geared toward non-smokers. They don't
have to stay at a restaurant with a smoking section. Why do smokers have to
Ms. Levity, Pennsylvania
Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Nolan is national director of
the Citizens Freedom Alliance, which says on its Web site it fights for
economic, taxpayer and smokers' rights, among other things. Though, truth be
told, smokers don't really have rights, Nolan says. Nor do non-smokers. Property
owners have rights.
"If I have a building and want it to be smoke-free, I should have that
right," he said. "I'm upset with government mandates to make restaurants and
taverns adhere to an agenda to ban smoking based on junk science."
The EPA "cherry-picked" data to support its 1993 report that secondhand smoke
was dangerous, and U.S. District Judge William Osteen voided it in 1998, Nolan
"It's a slam-dunk it's [secondhand smoke] not a problem."
Osteen was a former tobacco lobbyist, according to The New York Times, and
his decision was overturned in 2002 on jurisdictional issues, but let's not butt
On smoking bans, Nolan says let the market decide.
"How would customers respond if the food wasn't good or music was too loud?
They wouldn't go back. (If customers didn't like smoking at an establishment),
the owner would get the message to switch to non-smoking."
His personal take as a smoker?
"I'm not offended by bans unless I know it's mandated by the government," he
said. "However, I can get angry if it's a cold day, and I've been forced to
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
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