A response to the comments made on yesterday’s post:
To Sweaty –
I was not trying to imply that all smokers are disgusting, vile creatures who purposely try to inflict smoke on others. I was trying to say the opposite, where I thought many smokers realize that it makes sense for them to have to smoke outside or in designated areas. My closing line about peeing on someone is more directed to those people who believe that their smoke does not bother others or does not infringe on the comfort of others, but it was a bit out of place.
And yes, if you are allowed to smoke in a bar, why wouldn’t you? When it’s 20 degrees out, of course you’d rather stay inside to smoke.
When I said it was socially acceptable, I only meant that it was a commonly accepted practice. People think that smoking in bars is OK, only because there has always been smoking in bars.
To Ian –
While a restaurant or bar may be a private establishment, it is a private establishment that serves the public. And therefore, they are subject to regulation and control. Just because they are privately owned does not give them free reign to enact whatever policies they want. If you don’t see the difference between the two scenarios, then I don’t know what to say.
Bars and restaurants being subject to government regulation is not a new thing, nor is it a bad thing. One of the main things that the government requires of a restaurant is that it provides a sanitary, healthy environment to its employees and customers. The government does not have to list everything that a restaurant is allowed to do. But if they identify a practice that is causing an unhealthy environment, then they do have the right to put a stop to it. In this case, they determined that smoking causes an unhealthy enviroment, so they’re stopping it.
Back when regulations about handwashing were introduced, should restaurants have been allowed to say “It’s up to us to determine if our employees should wash their hands?” After all, they’re a private establishment. Shouldn’t they be allowed to decide for themselves?
It’s easy to say, “If a restaurant didn’t require handwashing, I wouldn’t go.” Or “If they allowed public urination, I wouldn’t go.” But what if those practices had always been in place? What if it had always been common practice for bars to allow public urination, and it was pretty much done everywhere? Are you sure you wouldn’t go? When people want to go out and socialize, they will put up with quite a bit. For instance I know many people who can’t stand smoke, and yet these people will regularly go out to bars, despite the presence of smoke.
The bottom line is that the government is stepping in to make bars and restaurants healthier places for its employees and customers. They’ve always done this, and we should be grateful that they do. Maybe you’d prefer to live in a world where each restaurant is left to determine their own levels of cleanliness. Maybe you’d rather have to research a restaurant’s sanitation policies. Personally, I find it much nicer to go out to eat or drink and take for granted that doing so won’t make me sick.