The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Memo to legislators: Smokers have rights

By Jonathan Resendez/south news editor

Imagine this at the neighborhood diner: “Excuse me, can you put out that cigarette? I’m trying to enjoy my 3,500-calorie meal.”

Or better yet a bar: “Sir, I came here to destroy my liver, so please spare my lungs the damage from your secondhand smoke.”

As a bill that could ban smoking in public establishments statewide inches its way through legislation, I can’t help but think of the absurdity of its premise. Lawmakers are trying to tell Texans how, when and where they can be unhealthy when it should clearly be a personal choice.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, supporters of the smoking bans say it’s a public health issue. I don’t understand banning one unhealthy practice while several others are allowed, if not encouraged, under the same roof. If public health is really the issue, Chili’s should ban their 1,890-calorie Chicken Crispers and every bar in the state should permanently close its doors.

“Wait. Those people choose to eat butter-dipped Big Macs. They choose to down nine shots of Cuervo. They don’t choose to die from secondhand smoke.”

Maybe not, but I’m sure they choose where they eat.

Freedom of choice is something Texans don’t take for granted. If a certain restaurant changes its menu or raises its prices, dissatisfied customers take their hard-earned money elsewhere. Likewise, if people think a restaurant’s smoking section jeopardizes their health, then they should take their hard-earned health elsewhere.

“Why should nonsmokers do something they don’t want to do because of bad decisions the smokers are making?”

Because the people making the smartest health decisions are not rewarded. Outback doesn’t let patrons cut to the front of the line if they promise to eat only a salad and bring a multivitamin from home. Chipotle doesn’t discount customers who join a gym.

Things should stay fair.

I understand and agree with rules about limiting smoking to certain sections at family establishments. Banning smoking in bars, however, is like saying, “We invite you to our miniature-sword fight, but you better not bring any machetes.”

My grandfather died from lung cancer, so I’m no stranger to the damage cigarettes can cause. From him, I learned that there is a time and place for everything. As adults, we must recognize the time. But as Americans, we have a right to choose the place.

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