What it comes down to is this: if your actions hurt another
person, the government is going to be more likely to regulate that
For example, you can drink yourself stupid, but when you climb
in a car the government is going to take action because what you
are about to do will directly harm another person, when your car
smashes into their car.
Similarly, as of today, you can smoke yourself into an early
grave in the privacy of your own home, but you can no longer do it
in a bar, restaurant or other public place. This is not because the
government is trying to oppress you or create an overly regulated
society, but because when you smoke in a bar, you are impacting the
health of hundreds of people.
Even if they don’t keel over that evening (and some of them may
if they happen to have asthma, as 14.6 million people do, according
to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease), you
are impacting their future lung health, contributing to lung cancer
20 years down the road and causing infections and lung disease in
Smokers say they have the right to go out and eat in a bar.
True, but we also have the right to not risk our own health to go
to the same bar. Pregnant women are not able to go out to bar with
smoke in it because it can seriously harm their unborn children. So
your smoking is keeping them from being able to eat out. And for
the three or four weeks before a new mother realizes she is
pregnant, she can do irreparable damage to a fetus without even
As a smoker, you can go out to eat, step outside for the five
minutes it takes to smoke a cigarette and step back in. When
non-smokers wish to save their lungs from second-hand smoke, they
can’t just step outside because they can’t ever go inside.
Not smoking is not harming anyone, it is just a minor
While it might not be an ideal solution (to smokers), your right
to smoke and our right not to breathe your smoke have to be
evaluated. The right to continue to breath comes out on top.
Further, it isn’t like the Fort Collins City Council dropped
this ordinance on us out of the blue. Over several months the City
Council heard arguments for and against the ordinance at meetings,
opened e-mail accounts and phone lines for feedback and, by all
evidence, made an informed decision that reflects what the citizens
of Fort Collins want.
A study conducted by the Larimer County Department of Heath and
Environment and other groups found that 75 percent of people agree
that the “city government has a responsibility to protect the
public’s health.” Another 91 percent agree that second-hand smoke
harms adult’s health.
While the percentage drops slightly to 59 percent in favor of a
standard forbidding smoking in all public places, that is still a
majority of citizens in favor of a smoking ordinance.