News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Don’t blame mayor, council if businesses are losing money

To The Daily: I am sickened by the Oct. 29 protest against the smoking ban and the others this month. If these businesses are losing money, and if their wait staff is suffering any loss of wages, it is not the mayor’s fault, nor is it the fault of any council members who did their civic duty to put the ban in effect. They have only themselves to blame for these losses.

Upon moving to the area, I tried various small restaurants in Decatur, but even in a “nonsmoking section,” I was so overcome by the stench that I had to scratch them off my list. A “nonsmoking section” in a restaurant is like having a “no-urinating section” in a public pool.

I determined that once the ban was in effect, I would be able to begin patronizing them regularly. However, after such displays of ignorance by some of these establishments and their patrons since the ban became law, they can be assured that none of my dollars will end up in their cash registers.

Smokers do have constitutional rights, the same as all citizens, including the rights to own property, vote, bear arms, practice a religion of their choice, have due process under the law and others. I suppose that includes the freedom to foul the atmosphere of their homes, vehicles and personal property with smoke. But the right to violate others’ rights to breathe clean public air is not included, as it is not a benefit to anyone, but rather a risk and hazard.

A public smoking ban is one of the features of a progressive community, right alongside cutting-edge education, technology and economic growth. Decatur needs to grow up, see the broader picture and move forward.

Laurie Cooklis

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