Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Elgin smoking ban?

Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared today that the evidence is now "indisputable" that secondhand smoke is an "alarming" public health hazard, and warned that measures like no-smoking sections don't provide adequate protection. (New York Times 6/27/06)
Smoke is a genuine health hazard, especially for the waitresses and others who are exposed for hours at a time, five or more days a week. I think there must be a way to implement a smoking ban in Elgin that would satisfy most people. One idea would be to ban smoking in restaurants only, exempting bars--temporarily, at least.

If downtown restaurants want to be exempted, perhaps they can also be exempted. My guess, however, is that there will be as many new customers as a result of a smoking ban as there are lost customers. Some people who now don't dine out because they are sensitive to smoke or don't want to be around it, will now be able to dine out. I also think that the number of people who absolutely have to smoke in a restaurant is very small. Most smokers can wait until after the meal to step outside for a smoke.


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