Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 19, 2002

If this new non-smoking restaurant thing comes into effect, I'm fine with it -- even as a smoker. So I walk four feet to the outdoors to satisfy my craving. It's not going to kill me.

Erin Enwall

The vigilantes: Kudos to dining critic Jason Sheehan for standing in the path of the anti-smoking steamroller. Kudos, as well, to Westword for featuring his unconventional wisdom in the face of the latest prohibitionist tyranny to sweep society.

Having long ago seized the moral high ground on the well-documented hazards of smoking, the crusade against tobacco has since moved on to other turf. Like courtrooms -- to the considerable gain of personal-injury lawyers -- and now even barrooms. And this band of zealots isn't about to let a little nuisance like business owners' property rights stand in its way as it lobbies for a citywide smoking ban at eating and drinking establishments. Nor does consumer choice seem to matter.

Don't think the likes of Smoke-Free Denver will stop at your favorite watering hole, either. Next it'll be your car -- heaven help you if you light up at the wheel with a passenger aboard -- and then your own home. Better hope your kids don't rat you out. It's the classic tale of the vigilantes who rid the town of desperadoes only to become the townsfolk's new tormentors.

Sure, we're grateful for the surgeon general's warning labels, the ban on televised tobacco ads and, of course, all the generously funded, anti-smoking agitprop throughout our K-12 years. But, really, we got the message. Now, please, just leave us alone.

Dan Njegomir

What a drag: Mr. Sheehan and millions of others just don't seem to grasp the basic issue. Smokers choose to smoke. I was a smoker for many years and was totally ignorant of the fact that I assumed it was my right to smoke anywhere, with no regard to non-smokers whatsoever. Why do you feel you have the right to light up with the attitude of "If they don't like it, they can leave?" Why does the non-smoker have to leave? The smoker chooses to smoke: That should not dictate the issue, but it does. The smoker is the one who should be put out, because he or she chooses to smoke, and as we all know, it is more natural not to smoke, because tobacco is not a natural physical attribute we are born with.

The smoker chooses to smoke, the majority of the human race chooses not to smoke. Therefore, quite simply, democratically and fairly, majority rules.

Will Lewis
via the Internet

Stand by your man: I don't smoke. But Jason Sheehan is right: It's not my place to tell him not to. And he is right: The anti's are zealots who will not compromise.

He was right on about the statistics: I have had people admit they were cooked but were using them right the next day. A zealot believes the end justifies the means.

I stand with Jason. I'd rather stand with someone with a backbone than stand alone when they come for me.

Bill Dittenhofer

California dreaming: I want to add yet one more voice regarding the all-important smoking-ban issue that Denver/Colorado is now facing. I recently moved here from San Francisco and so have gone through all of this before, a few years ago when California banned smoking in public places. Of course, there was the same uproar over rights and the same arguments made for both sides. (To me, it's a no-brainer: The rights of people to smoke-free air easily nullify a smoker's right to smoke inside.)

But the arguments have all died out by now in California, and the results of the ban are clearly a success, even to smokers! If you had asked ten smokers in California if they were in favor of the ban before it happened, eight out of ten would have said no. But now, just a few years later, eight out of ten smokers will have changed their minds about this. Because even the smokers have come to appreciate clean air in bars.

I have seen the difference the ban can make and, though it may be a little painful for smokers here to adjust, I'm confident that, like their cousins to the West, they will grow to appreciate that same difference.

Adam DeGraff

Speak Up

Cliffhanger: Regarding David Holthouse's "Trial and Tribulations," in the November 21 issue:

The letters regarding constitutional rights in the Amini case are justified. The general consensus in America today is self, money and pleasure at the expense of freedom, country, God and heritage. If all of the judicial, educational and media communities were honest and objective -- instead of self-serving, controlling, manipulating tyrants -- this country wouldn't be in the state of affairs it now is. Colossal lies abound on every issue.

We have to realize that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written for a society with absolute truths based on individual responsibility, mores, ethics and common sense. Our government is a reflection of our society (in general); political correctness and inclusivity are examples of colossal lies being perpetrated by the establishment behind the scenes of government.

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