James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, J.D. Salinger’s novels and the 1950s all seem to go hand-in-hand with cigarettes. The prominence of smoking is something that many of us feel is hard to fight. It is a norm that many times gets looked over no matter how harmful it may be.
On Dec. 17, 2002, the City Council of Fort Collins passed an ordinance that prohibits smoking in all indoor buildings, except for bowling alleys and bingo parlors. This ordinance will go into affect on Oct. 1, 2003. However, establishments that earn less than 25 percent of their gross income from the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks are exempt from the ordinance.
This ordinance seems to be a step made by the City of Fort Collins; 64 percent of Fort Collins citizens believe there should also be laws that protect employees and 75 percent of people believe there should be laws to protect the public from secondhand smoke, according to smokefreefortcollins.org.
We feel this ordinance isn’t taking away the rights from anyone, but giving rights to people. The rights of a non-smoker were non-existent. There wasn’t anything that a non-smoker could do if the person next to them lit up. It was an issue that seems too hard to fight.
Now, a person who does not smoke has full right to go out and enjoy an evening at a restaurant without the worries of health risks from secondhand smoke (because they have already made the conscious choice to not smoke).
We feel like everyone has the right to choose what it is they do to their bodies. Whether they choose to smoke is entirely up to them; however, if they choose not to smoke, then why should their right to choose be taken away by the choices made by another individual? The government is supposed to stop citizens from harming other citizens. This ordinance keeps those who choose to smoke from harming those who choose not to smoke.
It is a proven fact that secondhand smoke is harmful. An estimated 60,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke inhalation, which is the third leading cause of death in the state of Colorado, according to smokefreefortcollins.org.
So before people get upset because they can no longer smoke in public buildings, they need to remember that they can still smoke outside. Never forget that the non-smokers in public are inhaling the carcinogens that smokers inhale, too. And the unfiltered carcinogens in secondhand smoke are up to 100 times higher than the smoke inhaled directly.