Thursday, April 26, 2007

Clearing the smoke-filled rooms

I don't smoke, but I have a fairly libertarian attitude toward tobacco use, be it in America or Bhutan or anywhere in between. With that said, I can understand -- on principle and from personal experience -- why state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, supports a smoking ban in most of Alabama's enclosed workplaces and public spaces.

As it should, the bill exempts private homes and most outdoor areas, among other locations. If it's amended to add exemptions for bars and nightclubs, where patrons generally expect to encounter numerous smokers, I would have no trouble supporting it. Citizens need to be free to make a personal choice on whether to smoke, but the choice must be just that: personal. As an American Heart Association spokesman said, "The right of a smoker to smoke stops where a non-smoker's nose begins."

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