Smoking 'harms no one but the participant'

Posted: Monday, August 06, 2001

Alaska has traditionally been the home of people who are strong individualists. The weather, terrain and geographic isolation make this a difficult country to live in; those who believe in taking care of themselves have always done the best.

But is seems we are now turning into a Nanny State, passing laws to say what you must do. Many approved when smoking was banned in many places as no one claims smoking is a healthy thing to do.

Only a generation ago most people smoked; the generation before regarded smoking as a moral issue. That attitude was discarded along with Prohibition. Then the health issue was raised in 1964 and once again smoking is outlawed in most places.

Now, on the flimsiest of evidence, a small group is trying to force a smoking ban on the entire town. To criminalize an activity that harms no one but the participant seems about as un-Alaskan as is possible.

People vote with their feet. If they find a store or restaurant full of smoke and it offends them, they can leave.

French fries are not healthy either; shouldn't eating them in public also be banned?

If fumes are a problem, why are tour busses allowed to idle on downtown streets?

Find the smell of smoke off-putting to the appetite? What about watching those who demonstrate terrible table manners in restaurants?

Seriously, with all the real business the Assembly has to attend to, should they really be bothering with an issue that intrudes upon private property, private decisions and adult lifestyles? One of the joys of visiting Europe is the freedom found there to act as an adult and make choices as an adult. (By the way, in the range of world health, virtuous United States ranks in the middle.)

Dee Longenbaugh

Juneau



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