Thursday, May 31, 2007

Alberta-wide Smoking Ban

YAY! The Alberta PC government caucus just approved Minister Dave Hancock's smoking ban proposal, which no longer allows smoking in all public and work places, which includes bars, bingos, and the like.

Party members agreed, also deciding to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies and on post-secondary campuses, as well as outlaw promotional and so-called "power wall" cigarette displays in retail stores.

For someone like me who suffers from chronic sinusitis, I loathe cigarette smoke. Since Edmonton has had such a ban, I have enjoyed going to the bar again, my clothes don't smell like an ashtray, and I can breathe without nearly vomiting.

They don't have a state-wide ban in Kansas, like they do in California, and it sure is noticeable when I head to the pub here in Topeka.

There is one thing I do not like about the bylaw in Edmonton is it does not allow smoking on bar patios or in outdoor beer gardens, which is really odd for two reasons:

1) When the popular Fringe Festival is on, for example, adults are not allowed to smoke in the outdoor beer garden, yet children walking with their parents around the Fringe grounds outside the no-smoking beer gardens are subjected to public smokers.

2) These laws often do not have requirement that smokers are not allowed to gather right outside the door of a building, which in the winter time usually entails a swoth of stinky smoke when you enter and leave a building. Not only that, especially outside of bars and niteclubs, the amount the cigarette butts (that smokers think are biodegradeable) which are left on the cement or nearby sidewalks has dramatically increased. Since Edmonton has had a smoking ban, I've taken notice of this disgustingly massive increase in making Edmonton look dirty and grose. This is littering. I guess more covered ashtrays is the solution or bylaw enforcement will have to step up and fine businesses that do not clean up their patrons' crap.

Regardless, although I'm a libertarian at heart, smokers have crossed the line with my health and enjoyment of fresh air too many times to count. It's not about us non-smokers being whimps or intolerant, and don't give me that "cigarette taxes pay for health care" bullshit, when we all end up paying for your lung cancer surgery anyway. Many friends of mine who've quit always tell me that while smoking, you don't really notice the smoke until you're a non-smoker.

And because we all share in the burden of increasing healthcare costs in Alberta, it's time we all shared in the prevention.

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