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There’s a new smoking ban going into effect in Victoria in a few days. It was voted on and passed by your local friends at the city council.

I’m sort of torn about it.

You see, I don’t smoke. Tried it a couple of times in my rebellious youth. Didn’t take. Growing up with asthma as a child, I admit it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and the smell the morning after a night of drinking and puffing wasn’t the most attractive thing to wake up to. As a reasonably educated, hard living 29 year old man, I am aware of the health concerns involved with smoking and second hand smoke.

But that doesn’t mean I agree with the smoking ban by a long shot.

The ban so far only covers restaurants. While that may seem okay to some, but we have to take into account how little things become big things. How do they become big things? Well for starters, next month the council agreed to consider a ban in ALL public buildings, which is any building that the public has access to. So, if we ban a legal substance like tobacco from being used in a public building, you could have a domino effect.

Why not ban chocolate? Well we all know some sort of choco-holic in our life right? And we do know that if you eat too much chocolate, it could lead to things like obesity and heart disease. What if the powers that be (which you elected by the way) decided that for the welfare and safety of the public… they would ban the consumption of chocolate? Sounds ridiculous, but just substitute tobacco for something that you like and imagine someone telling you they were banning your vice.

I’m a little concerned about things like this. I have often said that you will get nowhere with me if you give me an ultimatum or tell me I “have to” do something. It’s part of my self defense mechanism that allows me to argue anytime I feel a personal liberty is taken away.
I think a lot about personal liberties every time I see one of my coworkers go to the side of the building during a break, banished from sight with the other smokers as they weather wind, rain, and even snow last Christmas eve. I mean, we non smokers treat smokers pretty badly sometimes. We make them sit in separate areas in eating places, away from polite society, we banish them to the sides of buildings, we flood the airways with ads, everyday we make it a point to tell them what a nasty habit they have and how second hand smoke is so gross.
Smokers take a lot of abuse from “polite” society.

Personally, I don’t see much of a problem if they eat in an area that is ventilated separately from non smokers, let them have a cig after their steak, just like I have a drink after mine. What’s the point of a celebratory round of cigars to announce a birth if you can’t pass them out in a local bar or public place like the city council is considering?

I know I’ll probably get a round of emails about statistics of lung cancer and other things, and I can’t argue with stats. But I can argue with the freedom to do things we all like to do. So to all the smokers that are going to have issues out there… are you going to remember this when election time comes?