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« Jane Jacobs R.I.P. | Main | Letter to Nikos »

April 26, 2006

Smoke Awareness

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In Washington State it's against the law to smoke within 25 feet of an entrance or opening of a building open to the public.

That means stores, office buildings, restaurants, bars and just about everything but private residences.

This wasn't a legislative act, but the result of a popular vote on an initiative. The law went into effect last December. (I voted against the initiative for reasons having nothing to do with smoking, pro or con.)

Washington was a pretty smoke-free place even before the initiative was placed on the ballot, and has been for many years. I find it interesting to be reminded just how much smoke there was when I was young.

One reminder happened in the late 1980s or early 90s when I went to my college fraternity's "founders' day" celebration. After the usual schmoozing the doors to the frat house dining room were opened and all of us old alums seated ourselves around the tables just as we had years before when in college.

And, just as it was years before, out came the cigarettes.

Before long, the air in the room was hazy and the smell of smoke was pervasive. It was really noticeable.

Then the thought hit me: It must have been just as smoky when I was in school, but I didn't really pay attention to the smoke back then. Smoke was simply part of the everyday environment. So were smoking-related things such as ash trays.

Nowadays it's hard to get this kind of time machine experience in America. But you can in Europe. Three years ago The Fiancée (who hates smoking) and I were walking the streets Vienna and thinking about taking a break. We stepped into a cafe/pastry shop and encountered a wall of smoke. After a minute or two we agreed to retreat and look for a non-smoking place to rest our feet.

If this post has a moral, it might be: One usually takes the everyday environment, whatever it is, for granted.



posted by Donald at April 26, 2006


Remember going to the movies and lighting up? Remember seeing that grey/blue cloud rising through the projector's light beam?

Posted by: Don McArthur on April 26, 2006 9:40 PM

The same people pushing for marijuana legalization are pushing for tobacco criminalization.

Posted by: onetwothree on April 26, 2006 10:03 PM

RE: Remember going to the movies and lighting up? Remember seeing that grey/blue cloud rising through the projector's light beam?

Ah… Good times, good times. Although I have never been a cigarette smoker, I have never particularly been bothered by cigarette smoke (I have been an irregular cigar smoker). In fact sometimes I miss the smell of smoke, especially when it masks the stink coming off of people who don’t use any deodorant at all, and of those who used too much cologne or perfume.

Onetwothree. RE: The same people pushing for marijuana legalization are pushing for tobacco criminalization.

And those who misuse science and distort the facts to “prove” that marijuana is dangerous think that there should be an inalienable right to smoke cigarettes. Two sides of the same hypocritical coin.

Posted by: Alec on April 27, 2006 2:23 AM

Never smoked, but never minded the smoke. One thing I don't think I could have tolerated is smoking at work. Anybody here experience that? It looks cool in movies like All the President's Men, but wow, breathing cig smoke for 8 hours a day can't be good.

Posted by: the patriarch on April 27, 2006 2:20 PM

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