Two weeks ago Fort Wayne, Indiana’s City Council passed a smoking ban 6 years after the last smoking ban went into effect.
The last smoking ban stated that restaurants and bars could allow smoking. this was contingent upon designing separate areas for smokers and nonsmokers. This would enable non-smokers to breathe clean air. It also stated that if the eatery was a private club smoking would be allowed.
Establishments swung into gear. Some spent thousands on separating their restaurants in order to accommodate the smoking and non-smoking patrons. Others actually named their restaurants private clubs to use a loophole in the ordinance. Recently, Frank Gray of the Journal-Gazette interviewed a pub owner in Fort Wayne. The owner of the neighborhood bar stated that the days of a man getting off work, stopping for a beer and a smoke will soon be gone. His business has been taking hits from the government from every angle. He is certain that denying his customers their right to smoke will force his business into bankruptcy. He also stated that he felt that the days of the neighborhood bar is over. Gray indicated that this would be a loss to the community.
During the city council discussions concerning the passage of the new ban, Tim Didier, a city councilman said, “All these men want to do after a day at a job they hate, is go to their local bar, have a beer and a cigarette, and go home, is that too much to ask?” But the Council Magnificent 7 as some journalists have begun to call the group of council members, swept away his one dissenting vote. A new smoking ban was approved. The guys will just have to do their drinking and smoking at home!.
It would appear that smoking ban issues raise the ire of all populations. Enough so, that during the City Council meeting approving this years smoking ban – a resident yelled to the council, ” Go to Hell, all of you!” There has also been a lively discussion taking place in the Letters to the Editors section. “Smokers are bullies, and they don’t care about other people’s health and only care about their next cigarette.” – Letter to the Editor, Scott Dickmeyer, Journal-Gazette. “Recently, I was in Fort Wayne eating in a restaurant. I chose to sit in the smoking section, which was completely enclosed and had vents to draw the smoke out. While there I got a headache, my throat started to feel scratchy, and with every word I spoke, I had to cough and clear my throat. It wasn’t from the smoke; it was from someone’s talcum powder!” Letter to the Editor, Cameo Moody -Journal-Gazette
Smoking bans serve wider audiences than Fort Wayne, Indiana. In fact, the smoking ban issue has given birth to groups’ nay or yay all over the world. Since drinking and smoking go together, a website known as Sminker.com has been developed by Mark Buckman. This site brings together those people who still want to have a place to vent and release their frustrations about the government role in the repression of their “sminking”.
Several months ago I read an article stating that smoking bans become important issues when government officials have nothing else to fill their plates. The Fort Wayne city council members have passed the ordinance. On June 1, 2007, it will become a city regulation. One more step on the road to Tobacco-Free Fort Wayne. The bar owner is one step away from bankruptcy. At least, that’s his take. The guys who want to have a beer and a smoke after work will have to go home and kick the dog instead. Tim Didier will become a champion of the underdog in Fort Wayne. The gal who yelled out “Go to Hell!’ will be forever banned from other City Council meetings. And Cameo Moody will give up talcum powder.
Those who read this article probably have deeply felt ideas about the smoking ban issue as well. Tell me, do you think city government should tell you whether or not you can smoke in a bar? Do you think a small group, such as a city council of 7 men, can force people to curb a practice that is legal? Do you think that smokers do not have the right to smoke where they please because of the well-known health hazard that second-hand smoke causes? Tell me, and after you do – write your councilman!