August 28, 2007 6:57 AM

Doing the right thing for the right reasons

Ruling keeps Houston’s smoking ban on track

A federal judge on Monday rejected bar owners’ complaints about Houston’s comprehensive smoking ban, allowing the new restrictions to take effect Saturday. After a daylong hearing in which the bar owners sought a preliminary injunction against the ordinance, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller found that the city can regulate alcohol-selling businesses to protect the public health and welfare. Miller said the plaintiffs, Crazy Frogs Saloon and the Houston Association of Alcoholic Beverage Permit Holders, did not meet the legal burden required for an injunction. He also rejected claims that the city’s ordinance, which extends the current ban from restaurants to the indoors of most public places, including bars, improperly or unfairly regulated the businesses. He also dismissed claims the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague.

Strike another blow for the rights of non-smokers. No, Houston’s anti-smoking ordinance is not a perfect solution. Only a complete and absolute ban on smoking in any sort of public gathering place would be perfect, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Before any of y’all get on my case for make an allegedly illogical, emotional argument, let me just state that I’m aware of the alleged logical fallacies inherent in my militant anti-smoking stance…and I don’t much care. If I’m breathing, then I have the absolute right to breath non-tobaccofied air. Your nicotine addiction and the resulting need to light up does NOT trump my right to breath clean air. I refuse to assume the risks inherent in breathing second-hand smoke simply because you must feed your addiction. You don’t have to like my attitude or even agree with it. Just understand that if you light a cigarette in my vicinity, you will NOT like me. Generally speaking, I’m a rather easy-going, laissez-faire sort…until someone decides it’s time to feed their nicotine addiction by polluting air that I must breathe in order to live.

Y’all will just have to pardon me while I celebrate another victory for the lungs of non-smokers. No, I’m not trying to marginalize smokers and turn them into second-class citizens. What I am trying to do is to celebrate the recognition that the lungs of non-smokers have rights that supercede the “rights” of smokers to pollute the air that we, the non-smoking majority, must breathe in order to live. We deserve to be able to go to a bar or restaurant…or really ANY public venue without having to be assaulted and forced to breath second-hand tobacco smoke.

Welcome to the brave new world, y’all…where people can actually breathe. Party on….

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on August 28, 2007 6:57 AM.

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