Opinion

Public smoking indoors must stop

I am sick and tired of it.

Whenever I play or go to a rock ’n’ roll show or socialize at a bar in this town I have to breathe other people’s cigarette smoke.

I hate it.

Sometimes bars are the only place to get down, but every time I walk through the doors I have to injure my body with that filth.

Why?

Why do I have to be subjected to other’s unhealthy habits when I just want to have fun?

It is due time that we adopt similar legislation like California and New York to stop smoking in all public indoor places in our city.

On July 24 of this year New York adopted the Clean Air Indoor Act, which banned all smoking in places of employment, including bars, restaurants, school grounds, public and private colleges and general hospitals.

According to Barbara Smithson, employee at the Kitsap County Health District, restaurants and businesses there have not realized a negative impact from changing to a non-smoking policy.

“There’s a big fear business owners have,” she said.

Emperor’s Palace off Kitsap Way went smoke-free in January of this year. Tony’s Italian, also on Kitsap Way, went smoke-free in July 2002. And the Outback Steakhouse turned non-smoking in July 2003.

The Boat Shed Restaurant, one of the most popular and the only waterfront restaurant in Bremerton, also went smoke-free at the request of their customers.

“There was a group of very vocal and influential customers (who complained),” said Smithson.

Allowing people to smoke in your restaurant or bar is just stupid. By allowing that to exist you are enabling people to harm themselves with the tar and nicotine.

It doesn’t hurt a smoker to make them step outside to smoke a cigarette.

I’ve got tons of smoking friends that do it all the time.

According to Scott Lindquist, the Health District’s director, the risk of cancer for workers, like bartenders or waitresses, in establishments that allow smoking is 25 percent to 75 percent greater than the rest of the population.

Currently, of Bremerton’s 86 restaurants, 59 of them are smoke-free. For those who have made a decision to make smokers go outside to puff, they have done so at their customer’s request.

“It seemed like every day we would get a complaint about the smoke,” said Buddy Bell, managing partner of the Outback. “I’d get e-mails about it. It wasn’t really a tough decision. You pay for a dining experience, you want to enjoy the fresh air.”

The Bremerton City Council is responsible for enacting legislation in the city limits.

Council president Carol Arends said she would support a no-smoking policy in restaurants and bars as long as the ordinance was worded correctly and included an educational component.

I dare someone to bring this ordinance to City Council.

“I would say that other people’s right to smoke ends when it impacts my right to breathe clean air,” Smithson said.

Think about that.

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