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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Camilo Villegas, July/August 2006

Dear Marvin,
Many of the recent letters to the editor address the topic of smoking bans in various cities. As a resident of the Chicago area, I can relate. Smoking has been banned in many bars and restaurants. In some municipalities, it's even been banned outdoors. I say the bans don't go far enough. The most dangerous substance in a bar is not the smoke, it's the liquor. Liquor can kill you right now, not 40 years from now. Let's ban all drinking, smoking and while we're at it, let's ban sex. I'm old enough to remember when a liberal was someone who thought it was OK to "do your own thing." How times have changed!
Michael Maenza
Oak Brook, Illinois


Dear Marvin,
I'm tired of the whining about the way smokers' rights are being trampled. Whining loses; action wins. This country was founded by people who refused to allow their rights to be trampled. Smokers should also act.

The great fear when antismoking legislation was being proposed was that smokers would no longer patronize establishments such as restaurants and that business would suffer. That suffering never materialized. Smokers just went along with the legislation and continued to spend their money at those establishments. That's why they lost their rights; they allowed them to be taken away. Letters and comments in your periodical are, frankly, meaningless. Only money talks.

The most logical solution is to allow businesses to make their own choice and let the free market determine how many smoking/nonsmoking establishments there are. Smokers and antismokers alike would be free to patronize businesses of their choice. Similarly, employees would be free to accept employment in the workplace of their choice.

Of course, this was the way it was before the antismoking forces gained control. Businesses were certainly free to prohibit smoking. In general, they didn't. This forced the antismokers to seek a legislative deterrent, framing their legislation as a health issue for the workers. Who could argue that they wanted to endanger someone else's heath? But no one was forced to work in an establishment that allowed smoking.

Money is a stronger motivator in this country than guns, ballots or morality. When Colorado and California became the first states to legalize abortion, other states soon followed. Why? Did they suddenly believe abortion was a valid moral decision? Hardly. They recognized that money could be made. When New Jersey legalized casino gambling, other states soon followed. Why? Did they suddenly believe gambling was a valid moral decision? Hardly. They recognized that New Jersey was making money from gambling.

If enough smokers would stay home, invite friends over, and just enjoy smoking in their own homes, meanwhile giving a clear message that they are not going anywhere they don't have to if they are not allowed to smoke, something would be done quickly. Alternatively, they could start forming and joining private clubs where smoking was allowed and use economic pressure to protect their rights.
Gary Oberst
Norwalk, Connecticut


Dear Marvin,
I can't believe you are trying to promote cigar smoking where you can't. It's hardly possible that Chicago's top restaurants will still show up when you cannot smoke there. I have been to the Big Smoke eight times, but with the rules as they are I will not go again. Last year was less than 26 cigars and the sizes were smaller. Food will definitely be less this year, and why would the liquor merchants be there? Good luck on a crowd, and while you are there in Chicago, you can thank the idiot Alderman and Alderwhiners for destroying the greatest cigar town in the country.
Gary Deuling
Chicago, Illinois

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