The United States is quickly becoming a health-conscious country that many feel is long overdue while others have grown angry over because they feel that their individual rights have been infringed upon…the case of smoking versus non-smoking. More and more of the states within the union are passing non-smoking ordinances in public buildings, public parks, and now, into restaurants and bars. Many smokers have adjusted to these regulations when at work or dealing with public matters but the strongest case has often been that being around smoking or second-hand smoke is very unhealthy for children. While children-oriented places such as McDonald’s or any other fast food place would be understandable as children are part of the clientele but no one under a legal age twenty-one can enter a bar or lounge. The clientele is all adult. As an adult, the customer knows the risks of entering into a smoking establishment such a bar and therefore, has the choice of whether to enter or not. Non-smoking adults have the knowledge of the “said” risks of inhaling second hand smoke and can choose another place to drink.
A health issue is always a touchy subject but so is the right to choose to smoke or not smoke and also is the establishment’s owner’s diminished income from having a smoke free bar. While not everyone who drinks also smokes, there are many who do like to smoke cigarettes or cigars while they are drinking. Do non-smokers have the right to decide the personal choice for a smoker as well? Do they have the right to cause a financial hardship on a bar owner because they demand that his bar be smoke free?
The smoking ordinance that was passed in Austin, Texas in September of 2005 has caused a great deal of controversy and debate on both sides of the fence. It was heavily argued before it was passed and now, the bar owners and smokers have risen up in protest over it but what are their chances?