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An unhealthy look at smoking ban

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By James Roberts

I don't smoke. I never have, and the fact that when I pass by someone who is smoking I suffer a mild asthmatic reaction means I never will. Also, there's that whole cancer thing. That's kind of a bummer.

I'm by no means a healthy man. I eat only fatty foods and steer clear of fruits and vegetables - except for strawberry pies and baked potatoes loaded with butter, sour cream and more butter.

So, since I am slowly killing myself by other means, who am I to say that the City Council should ban smoking in restaurants or other public places because of health implications? Honestly, I've been on the fence about the issue most of the time. I understand the concern, but doesn't it seem a little odd to ban something that is perfectly legal?

If smoking is banned, I'll still go into any restaurant and order the unhealthiest item on the menu. Smothered in gravy? Covered in cheese? All the better.

If smoking is banned, I'll still walk into any store and buy DVDs or books, items which reinforce my lazy, "What? Me exercise?" couch-potato lifestyle. Or I'll buy coffee, a tasty little beverage a doctor once told me to never drink again. If you're reading this Doc, I did cut back ... for about a week.

OK, there is a point in all this nonsense.

If we ban smoking because of the health implications, what does that really accomplish? Surely I'm not the only unhealthy person in this town. There are plenty of other ways we can shorten our life spans.

Besides, as insurance costs rise, companies are going to start encouraging their employees to lead healthier lifestyles. Most already have.

But we keep getting fatter and that smoker's cough keeps getting worse. Have you looked in a mirror lately? Is that a human being or a shapeless blob? Personally, I treat mirrors the same way I do vegetables. Avoid them at all costs.

The next step companies take could be mandatory health. Do you like your job? Then put down that donut, bucko! Coffee break? Think again. It's time for a mandatory 20 laps around the parking lot.

How about we put the smoking issue on the ballot? Voters decide who gets to serve the public, so why not let us decide some of the policies they enforce?

That's what America is all about, isn't it? Freedom to chose your own actions, even if those actions speed up your own demise.