You might smoke them or hate them - love them or berate them - but regardless of your position, the government has decided to ban smoke from more and more bars, restaurants and cafes across the US. The smoking ban seems to strike a nerve in everyone. The news is either met with extreme glee or extreme irritation - all depending on whether you smoke, don't smoke, own a bar, feel a ban infringes on your rights or wish the government instituted the ban years ago.
Quite a few controversies surround the smoking bans and smoking in general - and everyone seems to have their own opinion on whether the move towards no smoking was right or wrong:
Non-smokers: almost all non-smokers are happy for the ban, and encourage the government apply it to more places, including cars and homes - so that the children of smokers will not have to suffer in a smoky environment.
Smokers: the majority of smokers feel as though the public is prejudiced against them. There are even a few who argue that the negative side-effects of smoking are not solidly proven by science. There are less and less people to support this stance as more and more information is published about the risks of smoking.
Business Owners: business owners who had to suddenly enforce the ban in their businesses, restaurants, clubs and bars have mixed feelings about the new laws. Some claim that there has been no change in the number of patrons - while others have been completely devastated.
Politically Minded: a surprising number of smokers and non-smokers who oppose the ban simply because they see it as an infringement on their rights. They argue that once the door is open to government regulating the behaviors of the public, who knows what other rights will be taken away.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In my opinion, all sides of the smoking ban argument raise legitimate points. Undoubtedly there are benefits to the smoking ban - the obvious being the improvement of public health. On the other side of the card, there are some negative points negatives like the number of business owners who can no longer pay their bills because their patrons have fled to the few, smoke-friendly clubs.
As I've researched this article, I have also found some completely unforeseen, border-line weird side-effects of the ban. For example, the statistics on how the ban has impacted drunk driving fatalities, spawned a generation of "healthy" cigarettes and linked barbecues to some of the same chemicals as smoke.
This article will give you a breakdown of my take on smoking bans including "the good, the bad and the ugly".