Monday, September 17, 2007

Going Out...Smoke Free

In the past, whenever the topic of a citywide smoking ban in Milwaukee has ever come up, I would be the first one in line fighting against it, arguing that it's not necessary to over-legislate! I LIKE living in a free country where we have the freedom to make our own choices, even if that choice includes lighting up a cigarette after I'm finished with my meal. Sure the stink in my clothes, the burning in my eyes, and the deep clouded breathing I would have to take care of after a night out was irritating, but it was something I learned to deal with over the years. After all, I had the option to not go out or to frequent establishments that DIDN'T allow smoking...although establishments like that are very hard to come by.

But then I began to realize that while I was looking out for the smoker's rights and fighting for their right to smoke, I was completely overlooking the NON-SMOKER'S rights and THEIR rights to NOT SMOKE. To NOT be exposed to second hand toxic smoke every time they go out. To NOT have to come home smelling like an ashtray every time they want to meet up with friends for drinks. To NOT have to put their own health at risk, every time they step into a public facility. And as a non-smoker, I can't believe my own rights never occurred to me!

My feelings on the matter were only elevated as I completed a night out in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin this weekend, which is one of the cities in Wisconsin that is already implementing a city-wide smoking ban. At the end of the night, my clothes didn't smell, my eyes didn't burn, and in the morning, i could breathe just as easily as I had been able to the night before. To know that I could throw on my jacket from the night before, and run out to get the morning paper without holding my breath the entire way was reason enough for me to know that something has to be done in Milwaukee.

I'm still not entirely convinced that a city wide ban is necessary, but I do believe that businesses should receive some sort of incentive for CHOOSING to go smoke-free. The City of Milwaukee should then PROMOTE these businesses so that us non-smokers can be sure to patronize these establishments and hopefully it'll encourage other businesses to follow suit, without having to get the government involved. At least this way, the rights of ALL parties are being considered...not just the rights of one side.

11 comments:

Krista said...

Going out to bars in Madison and Appleton is the best experience ever.

I hate cigarette smoke.

Sara said...

The entire state of Ohio is smoke-free and I LOVE it. It's definitely one of the things I miss most!

Christi said...

It really was a fantastic feeling!!

Mentle said...

No, that fantastic feeling was just me hugging you ;-)

kelgriz said...

I am a non-smoker my whole life, and lived in Milwaukee my whole life until about a year and a half ago when I moved to Madison. Personally, I think it is fantastic that Madison is smoke free. When I go to bars that DO allow smoking, I actually sometimes forget that there are places that DO allow smoking since I have become so accustomed to it. On the whole issue, I don't really feel bad for smokers. They can easily go outside to do their business...or go to one of the bars or restaurants in the surrounding suburbs. I like that about this area...I have a choice. If I go out in Middleton, I know that I will be exposed to smoke and that is my choice...if I want to avoid those places, I can do that too.

Elizabeth said...

All I have to say is "Amen, sister".

Christi said...

Thanks for your thoughts Kelgriz!!

And Mentle, drunken sobbing doesn't count as a hug ;) I'm kidding. I adored it! It felt like old times again.

OC said...

Connecticut is entirely smoke free as well and it is fantastic. Whenever I'm out in the Midwest, I forget this fact and despise that I leave a bar and have to shower because my hair stinks and wash everything I had on, down to my jacket and gloves.

Christi said...

Ugh absolutely oc. It makes the going out scene around here absolutely unpleasant!

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Yes, going out in a smoke free city is great... for non-smokers. But the issue isn't about non-smoker's rights vs. smoker's rights, it's about business owner's rights. If a person owns a business, shouldn't they be allowed to run it as they wish? If enough of us decided to avoid bars that allow smoking, non-smoking bars would open up all over the place. A ban wouldn't be necessary.

btw, Ardor, on the corner of Broadway and Wisconsin Ave. is non-smoking.

Christi said...

I completely agree danny, which is why i don't fully support a ban either. I do however, recognize that as a non-smoker I should have the CHOICE to be in a healthy non-smoking environment and therefore, businesses should be ENCOURAGED to go smoke-free...not forced.

Thanks for the non-smoking recommendation by the way. I will definitely have to try that place out!