I normally would not reply to any of these posts, as I try to keep my opinions to myself rather then put them out there for others to argue about or ridicule. However, having read this entire post I must reply.
Yes, I am a smoker. While I don't usually like to admit that because I do know it is a disgusting "habit", I will admit it here. When I say it is a habit, I am not saying that anyone who smokes cannot quit - they can. I can and am getting closer to doing so after being a smoker for the past 17 years. With that being said, I would like to get to the point of businesses and how cities are now banning smoking. While my fiance's family runs a resort in Tomahawk and we live in Madison, we have learned first hand what the smoking ban has done to business. Many of the bars that have had the smoking ban here in Madison, are having trouble making ends meet. Many people are losing there jobs over it, families are losing money because of it.
Having said that, at the same time many will say business is booming in certain spots, I would say particularly in the downtown area of Madison. Many people did not want to go to the bars/restaraunts that had smoking before, due to second hand smoke etc... I don't blame them.
The businesses located just outside of Madison (such as Fitchburg, Middleton, Oregon etc...) do not have a smoking ban at this time. Some may pass it soon, however, those who smoke and no longer want to go to Madison establishments because they cannot smoke, can travel just a few miles down the road (in some spots a couple of blocks divides the city of madison with the city of Middleton) and smoke there. Otherwise, go outside if they "have" to smoke, which of course still brings fowl looks and comments from those non-smokers who have to walk through the cloud. But at the least, they got what they wanted - a smoke free inside.
Personally, as a smoker I am not against or for the smoking ban - however, I will go outside to smoke. The ban makes it so that we can no longer smoke inside, so what is the choice. If your walking by, I will do my best to NEVER blow smoke in another persons face, I have always tried to be courtious to others. I don't even smoke in my own home, I smoke outside. The ban has not stopped me from smoking - I had came to the conclusion that prior to the ban I would quit soon anyway. I also NEVER light up when people are eating, it is rude.
Let me get to the main point - smoking bans have good points and bad points. The good is that those who would like to have a pleasant evening out (dinner, etc...) can now do so with the smoking ban. They don't have to worry about second hand smoke or cancer etc... The bad points are that businesses can end up closing because of the lack of business. Employees can lose there jobs (and yes, I know they can lose there lives for working in a smoke zone).
Like I have said, I don't agree or disagree with the ban - I believe all the way around someone will get hurt with it or without it. But last time I checked it is a free country and we are free to do what we want (or so they would like us to believe). Should we be able to continue to do that? If I smoke, like I said, I barely ever light up in an establishment where others are eating. If I am in a bar where others are smoking, I will smoke - and I will try my best to keep the smoke I am smoking away from my friends etc... After all, they had the choice to pick the places we go to and if they pick a non-smoking choice, I don't whine about it. I don't know if this makes me an exception - but it is how I think about the whole issue. I understand the thoughts of illness etc... I know them first hand having had cancer run through my family, I watched it. Is it scaring me, yes!! Do I think we have the right to dictate others lives and businesses - No!