Smoking Ban

When I was an undergrad, I worked at a bar. The pay was good, the hours weren’t too bad, and my friends frequently stopped in to keep me company.

But arriving home at 3 a.m. and smelling like I’d rolled in a field of cigarette butts wasn’t pleasant. And waking up in the morning feeling like I’d swallowed a piece of insulation wasn’t great either.

People were allowed to smoke in bars then. I accepted it because there wasn’t an alternative, but I didn’t enjoy it. As a nonsmoker the idea of smoke-free establishments only seems fair. Why should I have to smell like your cigarette?

The pleasure of coming home after a night out and not having my hair and clothing carry the odor of sulfur is exhilarating. I don’t have to shower before bed for fear the ingrained smokiness will seep into my pillows. I can wear the same jeans the next day without getting a whiff of stale smoke every time I take a step.

I have friends who smoke, and though it might be an inconvenience for them, they have no problem leaving a bar or restaurant when they need a few drags. Banning smoking in public establishments is in the same realm as banning cell phone use while driving; it’s about the safety and consideration of others.

The smoking ban in Michigan is set to take effect May 1, 2010. Although most major cities already have a ban in place (even isolated Columbia, Mo.), it’s been a rocky road for Michigan legislators. And if you ask me, it’s been a long time coming.

– Missy Schwartz

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