Normally, I try really hard to support a person's livelihood. However, since we are all voicing opinions about the proposed smoking ban in all restaurants and bars in Juneau, I thought I would put my "two cents" in.
I was once a smoker. I smoked to my heart's content. Then I found out a family member was dying from smoking. My grandmother died from smoking and my great-grandfather (her father) died of lung cancer. So I quit. You would not believe how hard it is to be a quitter and want to go out dancing with my spouse, only to have it surrounding me. Why would I want to quit smoking if I have to risk dying anyway just to have a good time in Juneau? I had to miss out on a lot of fun with friends because I didn't want to inhale the stench and slowly kill myself anyway.
This reminds me too much of the lunch room in high school. Not being able to sit with a certain group of people because I wasn't "one of them." I can't go anywhere in Juneau to dance on a weekend without having to go to a smoke-infested place where I have to inhale the toxic chemicals to have a good time, just because I don't smoke. Why do I have to give up the fun because I don't want to die?
In the past, on the other side of the pancake, when I was out dancing and drinking (responsibly of course), I smoked. I enjoyed being able to sit down with friends and smoke. When we went out to coffee, we smoked at our table. However, I wasn't thinking of the people, including children, I was harming with my bad habit. My selfishness could possibly be killing someone and I didn't have a second thought about it. Why should they have to be evicted from a restaurant because I have a bad habit? I didn't understand then, now I do. Can't there be a smoking area with closed doors and a ventilation system that blows the toxic smoke outside or a covered area outside or on the roof of these businesses?
I don't know how to solve this issue but the fact remains, smoking kills. If you want to kill yourself, don't involve the rest of the world. We all have the right to be in these public establishments, but we all don't need the risks or the discrimination because we all want to have a good time and support our local businesses.
Joey J. Tillson
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