Ban should go up in smoke

Hurry up and take that drag from your cigarette. It could be your last legal one.

A proposed smoking ban was one of many issues discussed at the DeKalb City Council’s workshop Monday night, which heard presentations from the DeKalb Smoke Free Coalition, 12 Health Services Drive, and the DeKalb Environmental Commission.

The simple fact that such an issue is being raised, however, leaves the possibility open that such an ordinance may be passed.

While it is good to raise questions on such a controversial issue and for people to speak their mind, the simple fact that a smoking ban is being proposed is inappropriate.

At a time when personal freedoms are continually under attack, the right to smoke indoors at a restaurant or bar should not be the next thing to go.

Choosing to smoke is a personal choice and the decision of whether or not to smoke should be left up to the individual. All individuals who start smoking know the health risks involved with it.

The government should not step in and declare it illegal for an individual to engage in those risks, given it is no more hazardous to individuals now than it ever has been. Numbers of smokers nation-wide have actually decreased in recent years.

It also is ridiculous to think that smoking may not be allowed in a bar. Many individuals go to bars solely to enjoy a cigarette with their drinks. This would mean bars and restaurants would lose money if a smoking ban was passed, as restaurants already cater to smokers and non-smokers by declaring certain sides of a restaurant as smoking and non-smoking sections.

Also to be taken into consideration is the loss of money the state of Illinois would sustain in lost taxes from cigarette sales. When the state is facing a budget deficit, as it is now, it cannot afford to lose more revenue from taxes.

After Monday night’s meeting, the City Council needs to request that an ordinance to ban smoking be placed on the next City Council agenda for an all-out smoking ban to be considered in DeKalb.

It takes at least one City Council member to get the item on the agenda for future meetings and if the item lands on the agenda, there will be a chance for the public to make statements.

Americans are given personal freedoms and privileges to accept some risks to their health as long as they are not directly affecting those around them. There is a reason such freedoms exist-so we can make our own decisions and learn from them.

The consequences from smoking should be carried by the individual who chooses to engage in it and they should be able to make that choice on their own. And so the businesses of DeKalb should also be able to make their own decision to allow or ban smoking on their premises.

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