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Support for the smoking ban

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I understand Mr. Ronderos’ opinion in his Sept. 13 column concerning the proposed smoking ban in St. Joseph County. In fact, I believe it may go too far, but that does not mean that it should not exist.

Both of my parents are smokers and have been for quite some time. I love them very much, but I cannot love their habit of smoking. They have smoked for nearly all of my life. My father has tried very hard to quit many times and is in the process of making another attempt. They know it’s unhealthy and have frequently warned me not to “light up.” They have done their best not to smoke around me. As a result of their smoking, I have developed sports-induced asthma. Though this is not life-threatening by any means, it has made it difficult for me to participate in sports that involve running for extended periods of time. Also, there are times when I am around others and am asked if I smell smoke. I have no choice but to reply that my parents smoke, to their skeptical responses of “Yeah, right.”

Mr. Ronderos spoke of frontiersmen having “a fierce zeal to control their own fate.” I, too, have that zeal. As nearly everyone desires, I want to live as full a life as possible, not to be cut down early by lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke. I do not want to be forced to inhale the tar and other chemicals that cigarettes contain. I also do not want to be thought of as a liar because I profess that I do not smoke even though I smell like the very vice that I despise.

I believe that smokers do have the right to smoke if they so choose. If one tries to link that with one of Thomas Jefferson’s unalienable rights, the pursuit of happiness, I have to ask one question: If stealing from my neighbor would make me happy, why is that illegal, while smoking is not even thought of, though it also violates my neighbor’s right to the pursuit of happiness?

Josh UniewskifreshmanDillon HallSept. 13