Dr. Frederick P. Zuspan (non-smoker)
While I realize this response may be a little late, I would still like to put in my two cents, if possible. While I was reading all of the responses to your article, I was becoming more and more upset by the one sided opinions so strongly biased against smokers...until I read what Paul had to say. I believe it is very important to look at things from all points of view, in any situation. In this situation, the smokers should be acknowledged as having a right as well. As Paul mentioned, for whatever reason, people do start smoking and it is a very hard habit to break, but it is a form of relaxation for many, so ponder this ....Why do people go out to eat? Mostly it is to relax. I do not believe that people who smoke should be deprived of their rights of relaxation. The idea of a smoker being able to relax in a restaurant, enjoy a nice meal, and light up is something that should not be taken away. I think it is and has been very possible to maintain smoking and non-smoking sections in restaurants without conflict. Why does this have to change? If you have not been able to tell, I am not even a smoker myself, and in fact I even hate the smell of smoke and what it does to people. It is terrible. However, it is a personal choice for those who smoke, and the right of smokers to light up when they please should be acknowledged, as long as it doesn't affect the non-smokers, and as I have mentioned....it has been done.
My name is Allan Chapman and I am a smoker And what you wrote makes a lot of sense to me . I also am a chef and see on regular occasions smokers and non-smokers clashing in my dining room.
I do smoke but I also respect non-smokers I do not smoke in public places unless I am with other smokers and there are no non-smokers around I do not smoke around my children because they deserve to have a chance for healthy lungs. I am hurting myself with these cigarettes I don't want to be responsible for hurting anyone else especially my children.
It would be a God send if smoking were band completely maybe it would make it easier for me to quit.
I am not proud of smoking I just haven't found the courage to be able to quit.
I am a Respiratory Therapist who is adamant about NO SMOKING.
I just wanted to tell you a story about my sister who is a smoker. She complained to me about her mother-in-law who lives next door to her and is not allowed to smoke in her home, per her husband. So she comes over to my sisters house and smokes at my sisters. Her complaint is that she comes over to her house and sits down at there dinning room table and smokes a cigarette while they are eating dinner and how rude that is. I told her that's exactly how I feel when we go out to a restaurant and sit in the smoking section, to accommodate her after dinner smoke, and the person at the next table lights up.
I also really dislike the littering of cigarette buts on the ground and thrown out of car window. It also makes me crazy when a person smokes in a car and thinks that because they crack there window no one is getting any of their smoke.
I enjoyed your story.
In further response to your article regarding smokers in restaurants:
The majority of smokers also demonstrate a lack of respect for society in other ways. Not only is second-hand smoke a killer, viewing the world as an ashtray is equally boorish. While generalizations always have their exceptions, rarely do I see a smoker outside actually walk the three extra steps that would be required to extinguish and deposit a finished cigarette in a trash receptacle. (Any smokers reading this who have NOT flicked cigarettes onto the ground, out a car window, or onto a sidewalk, I applaud you.)
Each morning and evening I walk five city blocks in Chicago between the train and my office. During that short five block walk, I see several smokers discarding their lit cigarettes with a flick onto the sidewalk -- seemingly oblivious to litter laws and acting as though it is their god-given right to uglify the streets and sidewalks upon which the rest of society travels. On occasion, a flicked cigarette has even skipped across my shoes -- showing further inconsideration for others.
The same thing has happened to our beaches and wilderness areas -- cigarettes and other trash have invaded the most prominent and the most isolated reaches of our landscape (of course, much of this is the fault of smokers and non-smokers alike). Although banning smoking in public places entirely may seem a bit extreme to some, perhaps litter laws should be enforced more stringently with steep fines for litter of any kind -- including cigarette butts.
As for inconsiderate behavior in restaurants, smoke has become so irritating to me that unfortunately my wife and I have become dissuaded from going many places we once enjoyed. We no longer enjoy live music because of the smoke, going to the local pub to shoot pool is out of the question, and many clubs we once danced at are too smoke-filled to enjoy. And, many an otherwise enjoyable meal has been ruined by an inconsiderate smoker.
Furthermore, why is it that smokers cannot wait until they are out in the open air to light their cigarettes? In many places clearly marked "non-smoking," smokers proliferate. For instance, while exiting the train into a crowded train station, many smokers are inconsiderate enough to light up even though those around them have no escape. The same is true in the underground pedway in Chicago. On many a miserable day in Chicago, the pedway could offer a welcome respite from the cruel wind, precipitation, or temperatures. Instead, smokers have become so common that the air has become unpalatable, and sometimes nauseating to the point that it dissuades many from taking advantage of the shelter that the pedway offers.
While smokers may feel put-upon by the majority because they are relegated more and more to the nooks and crannies of society, the spill-over costs to society in terms of second-hand smoke, the social and fiscal costs of treating smoking-related diseases, and the litter we all now endure greatly outweigh any right smokers might claim to enjoy their habit.