Bar workers and patrons are now torn on their views over a tobacco ban in New Jersey's bars. While I work in a bar here in "HoSmoken" that's not currently affected by any legislation, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it spreads like the cancer it's trying to prevent. So let me take this opportunity to clear the air (weak pun intended).
When I took a job as a bartender, I realized there would be a distinct possibility that I might inhale some smoke - kind of like the way a lifeguard realizes he or she may get wet, or a gardener realizes he or she may get dirty. So for bar workers to say they fear that their "lives are at risk," I say stick it in your pipe and smoke it. If you're so worried about the smokiness of bars, you shouldn't have gotten a job in a smoky bar. Why not just quit and become a cop or join the military - then you can really worry about the fact that your "life is at risk." Now, to state a matter of fact here, I am a smoker. I even smoke behind the bar, attempting to do so as discreetly as possible. There's nothing more unappealing than some slob in a filthy apron coughing up a lung with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as he barks, "What can I getcha, Mac?" I realize this and am doing my best to wean myself off the evil sticks - down from a pack a day to a pack a week.
But that's where the major problem is for me; there's nothing quite as difficult as working at a bar and being surrounded by smokers while you're trying to quit. After a couple of hours you adopt a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude and finally give in to the urge. Nevertheless, it's my problem and I should be forced to deal with it on my own with my own self-discipline. I don't blame big tobacco, I don't blame other people, I don't blame my worksite - I blame me.
One major reason I disagree with the legislative action against smokers is not because I smoke but because I believe the owners of small businesses should not be continually told and retold by the government how to run their own establishments. Bar owners are already subjects of a highly regulated industry, who face an enormous amount of scrutiny as it is. It should be up to the owner of an establishment to decide whether or not the business he or she owns, works, pays the bills for and has invested in should allow smoking. It shouldn't be up to politicians who are simply pandering to a bunch of squeaky wheels and trying to leave a lasting legacy. If that owner decides to go non-smoking, then so be it. It's the principle that's the issue here, not the smoke. While I cherish the rights of an individual to choose, I find it hard to join the ranks of bitter stand-up comics who tout the intrinsic worth of a pro-smoking agenda. The fact is that these things are bad for you. It's tough to argue in favor of a substance that can potentially be so bad for people. However, bring up prohibition of alcohol again and I will spend the time to research said argument!
A lot of people feel booze and butts go hand in hand. Yet, the Olde World was deep in the bag long before Sir Walter Raleigh smoked his first stogie on his way back from Virginia. So maybe somehow we can once again separate the two evils and just poison ourselves through one medium at a time.
Nevertheless, it's up to the individual and not the government to make the separation. The act of accepting personal responsibility in this country went right down the tubes after that woman sued McDonald's because she spilled coffee on her lap. Now everybody is suing everybody and blaming everyone else for his or her own personal shortcomings. It's only a matter of time before a fat bartender at a sports bar sues the owner because the chicken wings are too good.
If the government is so hell-bent on legislative action against tobacco in bars, then here's an issue where they can count on my full support. Have you ever gone to dump out a beer bottle and ended up pouring a good four ounces of tobacco infused saliva into your sink? I assure you there is nothing on this earth more vile. Whoever makes that crap illegal in bars will certainly get my vote!