Smoking to be banned because its gross

First of all, I noticed how you tried to get people all riled up about [DeKalb’s possible smoking ban]. The first four paragraphs of [your editorial] made it sound like the city council was trying to ban smoking all together in DeKalb. Way to get people mad at the council for the rest of the article. Nice not-so-subtle tactic. I hope no one fell for it.

Now, as for the arguments raised in the article: I like to go by the motto, “Your rights end where mine begin.” I have the right to breathe. When someone lights up around me, I can’t breathe. See, I have asthma pretty badly. It’s hard to even get to and from class because everyone smokes right in front of the entrances to the buildings. I literally have to hold my breath while walking in and out of buildings. Not good for an asthmatic, but it’s better than inhaling the smoke.

But, you know what? I respect people’s freedom to smoke. I really do. Heck, I’m even a proponent for the decriminalization of marijuana, even though I would never smoke it. But the people exercising these freedoms should not infringe upon my rights by interfering with my health.

As for the restaurants making smoking and non-smoking sections, my fiancé has a nice little saying. He says, “Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.”

There may be one area where it’s more concentrated, but it will eventually filter out to the rest of the restaurant. I know this firsthand. I can’t sit in a restaurant that allows smoking for any longer than 30-45 minutes, or I start having problems breathing, no matter how far away from the smoking section I am.

Restaurants and bars (especially bars) would not lose money if this ban passed either. People who smoke will still want to go out to eat. They will just have to wait until they get to their cars to light up.

Illinois will also not lose tax revenue. Most people who smoke are addicts. They will smoke outside, they will smoke at home. They will still buy just as many cigarettes as they do now. Limiting where they are able to smoke will not make them suddenly quit.

You said it yourself: “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.” Let me emphasise: “as long as they are not directly affecting those around them.” Smoking does directly affect those around the smoker. It makes other people smell bad, it makes asthmatics and those allergic to smoke not able to breathe, it burns people’s eyes who are not used to it, and the health risks of second-hand smoke are well documented.

This is why they should not be able to smoke in places open to the public.

Kristen Hart

Senior, Child Development