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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:41 pm 
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By Larry Tobin

Okay (hack, hack, wheeze, wheeze), enough is enough!

It’s about time our Wisconsin lawmakers got up the courage to institute a statewide ban on smoking in public places. Ideally, it should be done on a national basis but I don’t have the confidence in that Washington bunch to blow their own drippy noses, much less do something truly with significant public benefit. If Ireland can do it – and there are probably more pubs and eateries per capita than any place in this country – then there’s no reason why the USA can’t do it. But let’s start with Wisconsin and try to build momentum.

It’s good that cities like Wausau and Appleton are trying to make smoking bans work. There are loopholes left in their ordinances, however, and there are also problems because outlying townships don’t adopt similar ordinances. The ban needs to cover more turf and the state is the most logical way to accomplish that.

Some people think that having smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants is adequate. Wrong! That’s no better than having a no peeing section in a swimming pool! I hate it when my wife, Kathy, and I go out to dinner, are seated in a non-smoking area, and still come home reeking of cigarette smoke. If I can still smell it in my wife’s hair hours after we’ve left a restaurant, think of what it’s done to our lungs.

If people want to smoke, that’s their business. It shouldn’t be mine, too! Yes, you have the right to do mostly what you want. But there’s an adage that your right to swing your fist ends at the next person’s nose. The same goes for your right to inflict smoke on your neighbor. I should not be forced to be an unwilling participant in your bad habits, especially unhealthy ones like smoking.

I’ve never understood why people smoke in the first place. Even back in the days when we didn’t know that it could be so harmful, I never thought it was particularly enticing. Why fill your lungs with smoke? People die from smoke inhalation in structure fires all the time. If smoking is so good, why not stand with your head over the trash burner? It’s a lot cheaper. And why is it that people keep moving all over the place to get away from wind-blown campfire smoke, but will keep on puffing on a cigarette at the same time?

At least people who started smoking 40-50 years ago could plead ignorance. What I understand even less is why anyone would start smoking in this day and age when we know so much about its harmful effects. It’s like announcing to the world that you have a substandard IQ.

Briefly, I was one of those ignorant ones. I smoked a little bit in college – about a pack a day during exams, but it took three or four days to go through a pack the rest of the time. I never did like it. Why did I do it? Everybody else who I hung around smoked. I know it’s a stupid reason. But, like lots of young people, I didn’t realize how stupid I was until years later.

I had a shocking and tragic experience that got me to quit. I’d become friends with a girl, Katie, I’d met through another girl who I was dating at the time. She was only 18 and had been a three pack a day smoker since she was 14.

Katie had a very sarcastic sense of humor but she never used it on anyone else. She’d pick on herself or make fun of situations. She could have been a stand-up comic. Even if she’d been miserable herself, she could walk into a room and have everyone in stitches in a matter of moments.

Midway through her freshman year in college, Katie got bronchial pneumonia. She began hemorrhaging in her lungs, but because they were in such bad shape from her smoking habit the doctors could not stop the bleeding. Basically, Katie drowned.

The church in Chicago where the funeral was held seated nearly a thousand people. It was overflowing, with people standing in the aisles along the outer walls and packing the choir loft. It still reigns as the saddest funeral I’ve ever attended.

Driving back to Milwaukee late that day, I took the pack of cigarettes from the car seat beside me and chucked it out the window. That was in January, 1969. I haven’t smoked since.

I lost an uncle to lung cancer when he was in his early sixties. He’d been a heavy smoker. I’ve also lost several friends over the years. The same pattern. You have to wonder how much longer and fuller (and less painful) their lives would have been had they not been smokers every one. But it was, and always is, their choice to start.

Non-smokers should not have to make a choice. We should be able to visit a bar or a restaurant and enjoy our meal free of smoke. Right now our only other option is to stay home. I know a number of people who smoke who at least have the courtesy not to do so when they are in an enclosed area with other folks. Unfortunately, too many smokers are not so courteous.

If done on a statewide basis, bars and restaurants will not have the excuse that it will cost them business when patrons go to the next town over or whatever. My wife and I visited Ireland last year where the ban is nationwide. The bars and restaurants were packed and people simply went outside when they wanted a cigarette.

Come on, Sen. Breske and Rep. Friske. Show some courage and get this one moving.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:52 am 
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Yes, what a great letter, let us be strong and HEALTHY as a state!!! If we start the process soon it will help.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:22 am 
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great post. If only it would really happen (sooner than later)... :cool:


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 1:14 pm 
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Now look, I didn't like people smoking in the office, I was glad when it got moved outside. I would just as soon they smoke in a public place than inside my workplace. Gay parades and peace protesters bug the gabeezers out of me, but I haven't called for a ban on them, not on "diversity holiday displays" either, or public displayed pornography via store windows and PA systems piping certain kinds of music or on certain feminist booktables. Neither have I called Helen Gurley Brown to fess up the truth about lower classes "having it all" while they both sweat just to keep their heads above water and wish to heaven one of them could just stay home to keep an eye on the kids and be there for them when they get home and spend quality with them. Last I heard, the rate of broken homes involving a smoker was a lot lower than a drinker, druggie, gambler, abuser, or cheater.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 6:28 pm 
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As a smoker I respect your opinion but do not embrace the resolution. I am very aware of when I smoke and where but I know that most are not. The problem is that tobaco is leagle and if you want things to change then get rid of tobaco because I will not support a ban on anything that is leagle.
By the way where did all of that money from the big blackmale payoff from companies like Phillip Morris and others go? I am not defending smoking but I am questioning the method to stop it.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 8:43 pm 
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JohnS,

Prescription drugs are legal if prescribed but illegal (banned) if you get them in other ways.

Cars are legal but not in Wilderness areas...

Driving is legal as long as you are below the speed limit...

There are "limits" on everything we do and usually for good reason.

Just something to think about.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 12:35 am 
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Some people think that having smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants is adequate. Wrong! That’s no better than having a no peeing section in a swimming pool!

Funny, but so true. Case in point: Tomahawk Family Restuarant.(others as well) The no smoking section is divided by a glass partition about 5 feet tall. Then there are ceiling fans distributing the air around the room. Even funnier!!

If smoking is so good, why not stand with your head over the trash burner?

Again funny, but true.
I've heard it said that if the Good Lord intended us to smoke, he would have placed little chimneys on our heads. Wouldn't that be funny?


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:20 pm 
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As someone forced to breathe second hand smoke as a child and as an adult in the workplace, and now suffering with severe lung disease eventhough I have never smoked in my life, I am mad. Sorry but I am paying a heavy price without ever having agreed to it. I made a conscious decision in 11th grade to never smoke because I preferred healthy lungs instead. I've done all I could do to avoid smoke. No one has ever smoked in my home and never will. Or in my car. But in the workplace, a hospital, in the early years of my career I couldn't avoid it. On planes I couldn't avoid it. On the few occasions we went out to eat I couldn't avoid it. At my mother's and mother-in-law's couldn't avoid it. And now it's not enough to have breast cancer and malignant melanoma, I have severe lung disease. I am really ****ed at smokers. You deserve the lung disease, not me. Do you know what it's like to be always short of breath? To cough daily? To live on Prednisone? To know oxygen therapy is coming? I shouldn't have to know but I do. I can and do deal with my cancers but the lung disease is what puts me over the edge because it was totally preventable.

I go to Ireland once or twice a year. If the Irish, who have >40% smokers can go smoke free in all public places then so can Wisconsin and all the rest of the states. Our rate is 20% smokers. 20% who can inflict their illness causing smoke on the 80% who don't smoke.

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More women die of lung cancer than breast cancer. If you smoke, quit. If you don't, don't start.

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:28 pm 
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Quote:
Originally posted by teacha:
Last I heard, the rate of broken homes involving a smoker was a lot lower than a drinker, druggie, gambler, abuser, or cheater.
I do not know very few smokers whose only vice is smoking. Smoking is an addiction. It goes hand in hand with drinking and gambling. Ever been to a casino? While 20% of the population smokes if you look at drinkers it's more than 50% in that group, same with gamblers. Same with using other drugs. Smokers are druggies, tobacco is a lethal, addicting drug.You can't separate out smokers and say they have a lower rate of broken homes. You have to look at the whole picture. If a person smokes responsibily, say on the porch or outside, doesn't force children to breath smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't gamble, treats their spouse with love and respect then they will likely have a good, happy life. Just like others who don't smoke. Start adding in irresponsible smoking, forcing children and unborn babies to smoke, drinking, gambling, etc the chance of happiness goes down.

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More women die of lung cancer than breast cancer. If you smoke, quit. If you don't, don't start.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:16 pm 
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So now smokers are more likely to be alcoholic, abusive, gambling addicts?

I am very sorry to hear about your condition Nell..

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:31 pm 
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Quote:
Originally posted by abnerman:
So now smokers are more likely to be alcoholic, abusive, gambling addicts?
No. Alcoholics, gamblers, and abusers tend to have a higher rate of smoking. Approx 20% of Americans smoke. More than 50% of alcoholics smoke, more than 50% of compulsive gamblers smoke. Abuse is related to addictions, abusers most often have co-mobidities, such as alcholism, drug abuse, gambling. We know in young people cigarette smoking is often the gateway to using other drugs, including alcohol. If we could do away with smoking would these other addictions go away? No, but our children's lungs and our health would be vastly improved.

I just came in from a walk in the woods. A neighbor was power walking like the devil was behind her. We get to our front door, what doers she do? Light up a cigarette :roll:

Thank you Abnerman, I'd give anything to have healthy lungs.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 9:58 pm 
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Quote:
Originally posted by teacha:
[QB] ... Gay parades and peace protesters bug the gabeezers out of me, but I haven't called for a ban on them, not on "diversity holiday displays" either, or public displayed pornography via store windows and PA systems piping certain kinds of music or on certain feminist booktables. ... QB]
It seems to me the most damage has been done by those the peace protesters are protesting against. How many people die every year from "feminist booktables" (whatever they are)? And, "pornography via store windows" - where can I see this?

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 10:08 pm 
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Well Nell.. although I am a smoker, I'm not going to argue with you just for the sake of arguing. I see what you were saying, and honestly I agree with most of it.

I'm very considerate when it comes to smoking around non-smokers.. so I'm not going to act like I owe anyone else anything. But I also realize that I need to stop for myself, and for my future.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 9:02 am 
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Nell, I am also sorry about your condition. I am a reformed smoker of six years - and very happy I quit. My father quit smoking 12 years ago. He is now on oxygen 100% of the time, due to diminished oxygen level in the body. My point is this, even people that have quit still have the possibilty of damage already done. I am lucky where no apparent damage was done during my years of smoking. If people want the quality & length of life that is desired by most, smoking & second hand smoke cannot be in your life. I just hope that this is realized & dealt with before more lives ARE damaged. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:08 pm 
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I am very sorry, but I thought I lived in America. A free land that encouraged choice! What about affording the restaurant and bar owner a "choice" on whether or not they want to be smoking or non-smoking? Just as the Nurse states, most drinkers/alcoholics smoke. How will all of this affect their business? Then when looking at the "big picture" how will this eventually affect our economy?

This isn't about banning smoking in public areas, this is about the tobacco companies (who are subsidized by our government) making millions on everyone's addictions. Let's start there! Let's start in the home and educate our children on the affects of smoking and bad behavior.

The big picture, in this nation, is awful and there are many places we can and must start as a society, but when you begin stomping on people’s rights~then I say ban drinking! Ban gambling! Ban domestic abuse! Ban drug abuse~which includes the millions of people who have become addicted to prescription medications because our doctors are prescribing and prescribing! Let's ban cars because they cause air pollution! Where does it end?

I am not for or against smoking, nor am I an advocate for drinking, (even though ours is the worse state), air pollution, domestic abuse or any of the other evils!

However, when you start taking away people's choices, where does it end? I for one enjoy the fact that I have choices.

So, if you don't like the smoke~don't go to the bars and the casinos!!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am 
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What about my right to breath air without cig. smoke? Are you implying that I do not have a right to go out for a meal or to work and breath clean air?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:06 am 
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All that I am "implying" is if the restaurant and bar owners are given a choice then you can choose whether or not you would like to patronize a facility that allows smoking or not! Many small business owners have lost their business because of this ban, is that okay? Where was their choice? Let's not take away choices!

I am also "implying" that the problem is even bigger than that of banning smoking. This country affords us all rights and I prefer to keep them intact! Right now we are all exercising our freedom of speech and opinion! Where does it end?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:49 am 
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I am told as a NON smoker, except of course when someone else is smoking around me then I guess you could call me a forced second hand smoker, that if I do not like the smoke, just get another or different job, can we, the nonsmokers, not make the same request of businesses, if they can not make a living at the business they have chosen to do maybe they should simply change businesses?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:08 am 
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It was on the channel 12 news last night that a restraunt in Rhinelander,that has allowed smoking for 25 years, has decided to go smoke free. They stated that it was not a statement against smoking; it was because they watched and counted the smokers verses non smokers that came in, they simply did a customer count and decided that catering to the 10 to 15% of the people who smoke, was not good business sense. The owner also stated that most people can wait an hour for a smoke, and they only had one person leave and say they would not be back now. I do believe I will be going to that resteraunt in Rhinelander to show my support. They just got TWO new customers!! It is a nice day for a ride.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:17 am 
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Great! That is how it should be...people making choices! ...and it is a beautiful day for a ride!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:19 am 
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Quote:
Originally posted by nugget:
What about my right to breath air without cig. smoke? Are you implying that I do not have a right to go out for a meal or to work and breath clean air?
What about someone else's right to breathe in "whatever they want"?
Of course you have the right to go out and get a meal....

...and if you are offended by being around smoke, you have the right to go wherever you like!! Yay!

(Here's some advice... if you want to go out and eat, you should go wherever you feel comfortable, where you like the food, and where you aren't offended by the environment!! See? It's great when you have a choice, isn't it? :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:31 am 
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I believe that channel 12 news and Nugget made my point very eloquently! How can it ever be wrong when you can make choices based on the information you have?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Quote:
Other addiction- staying up late- for no other reason than organizing my place, closets, drawers.... OCD??
Staying up too late watching t.v? Fine....
Staying up too late
to organize your closets and drawers? = completely and totally obsessive-compulsive. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:26 am 
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I am a smoker, not proud of it, but I have been smoking since I was 14/now 33. I agree with the banning of public smoking totally!!!! I have 3 kids and quit during all pregnancies but was ignorant enough to start back up. It is very hard to quit, but I am trying. I do not smoke in my house or in my car, my kids should not have breath my nasty habit. Same should be witht the public, there are some very rude people that will stand there and blow it right in your face or my kids face, I will get down right nasty with them and I am a smoker remember. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO BREATH IN ANYONE ELSES BAD HABITS!!!


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