That's right ladies and gentlemen... Michigan, one of the hardest hit economies in our fair land, decided that May 1, 2010 was perfect timing to decrease tax revenue and put a hitch in the giddy-up of the already struggling restaurant/bar scene with a public smoking ban (The Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law). I say, "why stop there?" Let's take alcohol out of the bars too. About 300 people die as a result of drunk driving each year in Michigan. This is about 300 more people per year than die from secondhand smoke and nicotine impaired driving combined (despite what the cooked stats might tell you). The fact of the matter is, if bars and restaurants didn't benefit from allowing smoking... they wouldn't allow smoking.
Let's be real. There has never been a concrete study that has proven that smoking tobacco causes cancer. There is a correlation that suggests that more people that smoke end up with varying lung disorders to include cancer, but at the end of the day some nonsmokers end up getting lung cancer and some hardcore smokers just end up coughing a lot and having awful skin. There is plenty of data suggesting that smoking (yes, all types of smoking hippie-boy) is bad for humans. The most important and accurate of this data is feeling like there is a truck is parked on your chest and an invisible troll hitting you in the head with a mallet the morning after a great night at the bar. Truck = too much smoking. Troll = too much drinking. Quantifiable, qualifiable and the effect can be reproduced 100% of the time. That is solid science.
Now, more real. The reason for this ban is claimed to be public health and safety; even though you have never heard about, read about or seen anyone die from exposure to secondhand smoke. This ban doesn't have the foggiest, dare I say smokiest, thing to do with "public health" and everything to do with "public smell". Cigarette smoke is one of the most recognizable and most common god awful smells on earth. Most people, to include many smokers, don't want to smell smoke or smell like smoke. I can relate to that as one of the smokers that really doesn't dig the smell. Now the real part. If you are going to legislate against offensive odors, you are going to have to ban the following in public places as well: garlic breath, flatulence and flatulence producing foods, fish, dead people, compost, patchouli, restrooms, the French, diesel fuel, porta-johns, many people named John, perfume, road kill, garbage trucks, skunks public transportation and fat people. And that is just the beginning. Good luck spinning that bill into something PC for the greater common good.
Instead of focusing on common good, let's focus on common sense:
- If you subject your children or other people's children to extended contact with secondhand smoke - you are an idiot.
- If you stand next to the door of a hospital, school or convalescent home and smoke - you are an idiot.
- If you stand outside a health food store and smoke - you are an idiot.
- If you are a person in a bar drinking, smoking and generally enjoying yourself - you are normal.
I guess what really annoys me is that I was never asked to vote on whether to ban smoking in public places or not. I was not asked, I was told. If there was a vote and the majority of Michigan residents said, "no more smoking in public" I would be totally fine with it. If an establishment became nonsmoking of its own accord, I would respect it. If the government (you know, those folks meant to be representing us) says, "this is what we say you want unless you are pouring your hard earned dollars down the drain at a casino"... I have a huge problem with that. Don't tell me what I can or cannot put into my body. Don't tell me I can't do something perfectly legal in public. Keep your gag out of my mouth, your nose out of my bedroom and your long arm of the law to yourself. I tried to tell people years ago that the air tax was coming and that you were nuts to vote for a Canadian democrat... seems my smoker's breath fell on deaf ears.
-End of Rant-
Now for the solution...
My personal solution is an electronic cigarette. I love the damn thing. In fact, gasp, I like it more than tobacco (analog) cigarettes. Digital smoking is the future of smoking in my opinion. You can do it anywhere you are still allowed to breathe normally, and there isn't much anyone can say to stop you. You are merely exhaling water vapor. It tastes good, the nicotine delivery is exceptional, there is little to no smell at all and I have found no information what-so-ever to indicate that it is harmful in any way (1st or 2nd hand). Vapers, as we are called, are the smokers that truly enjoyed the art and feel of smoking. The product below is a near perfect substitute for the real thing, in my experience. I don't condone the use of the products sold by the good people at Totally Wicked and you do so at your own risk, but I will tell you that I have found them to be a very pleasurable way to stick it to the man. ;)