Mar 042002

I feel like I’ve just eaten a carton of smokes. My hair and my clothes repel my senses with the foul and moldy odor of cigarette smoke. My lungs are heavy and my throat raw. My eyes burn. And I don’t even smoke.

The following is not an argument to ban smoking in public areas – just control it – giving non-smokers their long overdue right to healthy air.

Currently, both ASCSU and the city of Fort Collins are exploring the option of banning smoking in public areas /_” ala the People’s Republic of Boulder and California /_” making it illegal to for any public establishment to allow smoking without a separate room or special ventilation system.

Right on.

If implemented, this law would undoubtedly have the biggest impact on Fort Fun’s many fine drinking establishments. And while all you cancer stick-sucking-fools out there will argue that “no one forces non-smokers to go to the bar,” or “it’s our rights as Americans to have a smoke while drinking a beer,” or “it should be the right of the establishment’s owner to decide how his business is run,” you’re still blowing stale smoke.

The fact of the matter is that inhaling second-hand smoke has been proven to be more dangerous than actually tokin’ on a sin stick. Believe it. All those hard working, quality human beings called non-smokers don’t have the good fortune to possess a paper filter between their lungs and the many evil toxins flowing from lit coffin nails.

Of course, I fully believe people should have the freedom to practice self-destructive behavior, but don’t bring me down with you, because believe me, I’m taken care of that just fine myself.

A system that segregates smokers and those who choose the righteous path will not make bars become a yuppie wasteland of jonesin’ addicts gnawing on Nicorette and spritzer-drinking squares.

The only difference will be smokers will have to get off their barstool to blaze a fag (as they say in Australia), and the rest of the bar patrons will be able to toast to their healthy lungs and poison their livers in peace.

I’m assuming my bias toward nicotine kissers is obvious by now. I’ll admit, I’ve always despised cancer slims and their sinister powers – they are an axis of evil all their own. But the concept of smoke segregation is not about oppressing those already enslaved by the mental shackles of Marlboro, Newport and Virginia Slim /_” this is about respect.

My whole life I have been surrounded by friends, family and loved ones who smoke nic sticks. Out of respect to the people around them, none of these people would smoke in their own house or apartment; if they needed a fix, they went outside.

Simple enough. This should be no different at a bar just because a smoker might not know the sorry sap sitting next to him who’s absorbing his habit.

Observing the segregated smoking system down in the People’s Republic of Political Correctness, I realized that although those tofu and sprout eating Boulderites might still be a long way from freeing Tibet, they have been successful in giving hope to those hopelessly trapped in a smoke-stained world.

In fact, forcing my good friend Brodie to smoke in the cancer capsules that are the bars’ smoke rooms guided him to see the light and quit.

Revoking smoker’s “privilege” to smoke ’em if they got ’em in the Choice City is not another case of the government abusing its power /_” it’s a commitment to the doctrine of respect, and a healthy model for future generations.

Zeb’s column appears in the Collegian every Tuesday. He’ll admit that smoking is indeed a great way to socialize, meet chics, look cool and obtain a raspy voice.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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