Before I go off on this rant, let me just state for the record (are you paying attention, Adam??) that I am fully aware of the holes in my argument. You know what, though? I don’t much care, because smoking is one of those issues that I feel very strongly about on a purely emotional level. So, there…deal with it.
OK, now that we’ve been able to get those minor housekeeping details out of the way, the movement to marginalize smoking is ever-so-steadily moving closer to The People’s Republic of Seabrook. Soon, perhaps in our lifetimes, the act of smoking will be so marginalized that smokers will be viewed in much the same way that we view child molesters today. OK, I recognize that this is rather harsh, and it is by no means directed at individuals who smoke. Nonetheless, today is a good day to be living in Kemah- or next door in Seabrook.
Patrons at Kemah restaurants will no longer have to chose between smoking and nonsmoking if a smoking ban discussed during Thursday’s City Council meeting is passed.
Nothing is in writing yet, said Councilman Wayne Rast, because the council is waiting for the city of Houston to unveil the language of its no smoking ordinance.
Rast hopes Kemah’s ordinance would resemble Houston’s as much as possible.
Smoking would be banned in indoor restaurants, he said. Smoking in bars and at outdoor restaurants and cafes could be allowed.
Remember the old anti-Vietnam War posters that said “Won’t it be a great day when the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber?” Well, won’t it be a great day when we can go to a restaurant or other public gathering place without being assaulted by someone’s second-hand smoke? Won’t it be a great day when the law finally recognizes an individual’s right to breathe clean air instead of the tobacco smoke generated by others? Won’t it be a great day when smokers have to go well out of their way to be able to smoke?
OK, I realize that this is probably coming across as rather arrogant, but I really am tired of being assaulted by secondhand smoke. If I want to go to a restaurant, I should not have to deal with being forced to smoke vicariously. Your right to smoke ends at the end of my nose. Yes, perhaps that is arrogant, but smoking is a voluntary act. Breathing is not. If you as a smoker feel victimized and marginalized by the growing onslaught of anti-smoking laws, so be it. Those of us who do not smoke deserve to be granted our right to breathe clean, non-tobaccofied air. I choose not to increase my risk of lung cancer.
The risk of illness because of smoking to not only the smoker but to those around him influenced Rast to pursue the ordinance.
“If it was just the person (who smoked), that would be one thing,” he said, “but the people who don’t smoke, they have a risk, too.”
Rast said he has encountered very little resistance of the ordinance thus far.
Because of a changing culture, he said, many smokers understand that there is a time and place where their habit is acceptable and times and places when it is not.
“By and large,” he said, “smokers have become much more considerate.”
By passing the ordinance, Rast hopes people in Kemah’s restaurants will be able to eat in peace.
Kemah is about to become a much more pleasant and enjoyable place, thanks to Rast and the rest of the Kemah City Council. A TPRS tip o’ that hat to all y’all! This is what government SHOULD be all about.