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State smoking ban would be welcomed

Lots of people smoke, and they are certainly entitled to do so. The act has become a hot topic over the last few years, however, as many cities and states across the nation have passed bans on smoking in public places.

There’s no disputing evidence that shows second-hand smoke is harmful. But where do you draw the line?

Should anyone that visits an establishment that serves alcohol simply expect to breathe in other people’s smoke? Is having a smoking section in a restaurant sufficient if smoke can still drift over into the non-smoking section? Or should the act not be tolerated any time it might affect a non-smoker?

The Hoover City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a smoking ban that will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2009, according to the Associated Press. City officials put the issue on hold for more than three years, waiting for a statewide ban to come out of the Legislature. That didn’t happen, though officials for our state’s chapter of the American Cancer Society said they expect a ban in the next legislative session.

Under Hoover’s ordinance, smoking is outlawed in stadiums, offices, malls and parks. Cigar shops, bars, pubs and restaurants with smoking sections are still fair game for those that light up.

This seems fair, except that we’d like restaurants to switch categories and become off limits for smokers. If a non-smoker can so much as smell the delightful odor produced by smokers, then it’s a problem because that probably means the non-smokers’ lungs aren’t feeling good about themselves.

We hope the Cancer Society is right about the statewide ban. It would save non-smokers from a lot of inconvenience, not to mention health problems. It also might help smokers give up the habit. Maybe there wouldn’t be anywhere left to light up except in the home or in the car.

It’s unfortunate that anyone has to be inconvenienced, but we’ll all be healthier when fewer cigarettes are smoked every day.