No 'right' to a smoke-free bar

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003

Smoking is offensive and it emits carcinogens harmful to humans into the air. However, I can never recall a situation in which I was exposed to secondhand smoke that was not either voluntary or that I could not escape from, had I wanted to leave. I worked at Marlintini's Lounge as a bouncer because I chose to do so, knowing full well that I would be exposed to secondhand smoke and the risks inherent.

Further, coming down on smoking as a public health concern, with respect to bars, makes no sense; I actually find it humorous. Seriously, you're going to tell a business owner who runs an establishment primarily for the consumption of alcohol that allowing smoking in their business is a public health risk. Ummmm, what is alcohol then, considering alcoholism is rampant in our state? If people go to a bar to have a drink and then drive home to smoke after tying a few on, what kind of public health risk does that create? So if we outlaw smoking in bars, do we outlaw drinking in bars next? Perhaps after that we can outlaw groups that lobby to take matters of personal choice away from people, because they give me a headache and I find them offensive.

A bar is a private establishment and no one has a "right" to be there. If you choose to be in a bar then you choose to be exposed to secondhand smoke, and as an intelligent and informed adult are aware of the risks. Owners of bars in Juneau have chosen not to cater their businesses to a non-smoking crowd, knowing that non-smokers will choose not to patronize their establishment. That is their choice and it should remain their choice.

Brandon Lawrenson


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