Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Smoking Police Are Closing In On Me

I had previously posted this onto another blog site (on myspace), but thought that its topic was a fitting one for the first posting on this blog...

As most of you can tell from the photograph of me, I am a cigar smoker. (For those who can't, I recommend an immediate eye exam or committal to an institution that allows regular finger painting.) It is a habit that I acquired some years ago, and along with my appreciation of a good wine and the occasional distilled spirit, is a form of true enjoyment and stress relief for me. There is nothing more relaxing in the evening than enjoying an adult beverage and a fine cigar. Good company during such times is always welcome (especially if it is an attractive woman), but not required to the occasion. 

It appears however, that I will have to be careful in the future of my guilty pleasures, since the smoking laws have changed in Ohio. Now I live in an apartment, not a single family home (for a number of reasons that we do not need to go into at this juncture), and I do everything that I can to respect the privacy and lifestyles of my neighbors. I try not to play the TV or music too loud or too late, and try not to stink up the building with my efforts at food preparation. 

I would like to think however, that if I wanted to indulge myself in one of the perfectly legal fine cigars (no Cubans, thank you) that I keep, that it would not be too much to ask. As the State of Ohio sees it however, I would be wrong. It appears that my apartment, though my home, is also a public building. It therefore falls under the new smoking ban that Ohio has passed for public buildings. 

I can enjoy smoking on my patio (such enjoyment now being predicated by the weather), but I am not allowed to pursue this guilty pleasure while inside my own home. Don't get me wrong, I can understand the desire of the non-smoking public to decide that it can do without my bad habits while sitting in a restaurant after a fine dinner. I have even come to understand that I need to grant equal latitude to my fellow man when enjoying a drink in a pub (though I have to say that this one hurt). I have always tried to be respectful of the health concerns and feelings of others, and have therefore reconciled myself to the fact that my personal form of enjoyment cannot be participated in while in such shared spaces. 

I have to say that I am grieved however, to see this particular form of political correctness extend itself beyond the privacy of my front door. I doubt that I pose a serious health risk from second hand smoke to anyone but myself while sealed in my apartment, but this doesn't seem to make a dent in the mind of a state who seems to want to influence or control my behavior. 

The passing of such laws in this country should begin to make all of us very afraid. We laugh now, when we hear the stories of states who in the past, passed laws forbidding shopping on certain days, legalized bigotry in schooling or public facility use, or even forbid certain types of sexual practices. We decide that we are now a more enlightened society and tell ourselves that such things couldn't happen today. 

Are we only then concerned when this attack on personal freedom occurs in public or in the bedroom, and not in the living room or the kitchen. (Now, now, I know what your thinking and there's no need to discuss sex and location in this posting.) This encroachment on personal freedom is not the first time that our government has entered our homes, seeking to limit our freedom to do something that is not illegal, and unfortunately it won't be the last. 

So for those of you who voted for the smoking ban, and who are now reading this and feeling superior because one of the bad guys has been put in his place, beware. I tell you now that your particular foible or peculiarity is probably already on someone else's radar screen and they are licking their chops over the prospect of minding your business. 


Laura Demaria said...

I vote to outlaw nail biting next.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Not nail biting!

I'd be in very deep doo doo :-(