While I attempt to stay as neutral as possible on issues I cover for the news, sometimes comments on an issue beg to be addressed. One of those issues is the smoking ban, that has been cussed and discussed to death both in the city council meetings and in the media, including in my news reports.

I believe no one should have no problem accepting the fact that smoking is not a healthy activity. As someone who smoked for years, I admit I did so even after evidence proved how harmful it is. At that time the evidence on secondhand smoke was not conclusive, but had it been, I would like to think I would have done the right thing for my family’s health and stop. Now the evidence is overwhelming and undeniable, and no amount of rhetoric can change that fact.

As for a person’s right to smoke, that too is undeniable. However, their right to smoke anywhere they wish is another matter. No one should be able to assault another person who happens to occupy space close to them, and that applies to their senses too. I have read quote after quote from people who smoked all their long lives without ill affects. I have also been in restaurants, and other public places with those people as they hack and cough their way through a meal. The truth is that some people were born with the right genes, that makes it easier for them to tolerate smoking, while others are sensitive to its effects and are susceptible to the diseases brought about by smoking or secondhand smoke.

There is another right all of us have, and that is to take our next breath without the chemicals smoking produces, and that right is in place anywhere the public is invited into.

If you disagree, feel free to comment.