Don't be surprised

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2001

Many debating the smoking ban in Juneau are apparent hypocrites. They are portraying themselves as something they are not. Some of the same people standing proudly in front of the Assembly, writing opinion letters and answering poll questions in support of Juneau's proposed smoking ban are some of the same people passing teens smoking without a word and serving our kids pizzas and coke in school everyday. They do not have the convictions to reproach these children publicly or recognize their own part in America's obesity issues nurtured in our schools in the name of lunchtime.

The increased tax on tobacco is already recognized as a sham by many. The minuscule amount of generated funds that are directed toward "education" are used to ridicule, denigrate and humiliate a targeted segment of the population in front of all, giving license to those strangers who find it easier to reproach adults. Even the tools used to kick the habit are made more expensive through taxation. If the habit is as addictive as heroin, why is it just about every other malady qualifies for an insurance write-off and/or mandated government program to alter lifestyle "choices?"

It is said we smokers have made the wrong choice regarding smoking. So let us remove the option. If there are so many more in favor of a smoking ban why don't we simply make the product illegal? Because everyone agrees this is impractical. As many as there are who may oppose tobacco there is not sufficient numbers to carry the vote. So let's remove the option another way and pass a city ordinance in the name of "health issues" even while we reduce the required PE credits to graduate school.

This "vote" is about control and people will hide behind uniformed police and tickets to enforce it. As usual the burden of enforcement will be placed on the business owner and employer. No longer does anyone need to take an active role. One will actually have to drive out of the parking lot during breaks and lunch to have a smoke because of the parameters drawn, even if second-hand smoke is not an issue, because a city ordinance has granted the employer power to actually terminate someone after several infractions. The private property owner will be facing fines and possibly lose his/her license to conduct business after too many infractions. Hard to believe? Not really. Our police do not have the resources to arrive every time a non-smoker is subjected to a violation of the law. And where will the generated funds be directed? You guessed it.

Many people have made other unhealthy life "choices" as well. Should this public chastising continue, don't be surprised to hear from the rest of us. Believe me, you will not enjoy the public humiliation.

Pamela Dunker


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