Pinky Pie

No smoking, please, & Me

Posted on: July 5, 2010

It’s about time.

Most city of La Crosse restaurants have been smoke free for about a decade, but bars were allowed to have smoking.

For a state that was the home of the progressive movement many years ago, it sure took a long time for Wisconsin to get a state smoking ban for workplaces and other public places.

The law finally passed in 2009 and went into effect at 12:01 a.m. And literally it is a breath of fresh air.

I love the La Crosse Tribune quote from a bar manager in Sparta, Wisconsin, who was not exactly in favor of the ban. “We celebrate our freedoms on the Fourth of July and then we have them taken away on the fifth of July,” said Mike Wittmershaus, manager of the Wayside Tavern.

As the Tribune reported, there were to be dueling parties with “The Loss of Independence Party” on Sunday, the day before it went into effect, and the Smoke Free Celebration today.

As of July, states now with bans in public places are  Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Hey, even Oktoberfest in Germany is going smoke free this October.

The real issue is health. Should visitors and employees of a business have to be exposed to second hand smoke? I say absolutely not. It’s a freedom to breathe issue.

I grew up in a time when the air was blue with smoke, much like it is portrayed on the television program, Madmen. Andy and I convinced our Dad to quit and he did. Our mom never smoked.

My husband smoked until 1986 when our son, Matt, relapsed and needed a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I was amazed that the only room that allowed smoking in the University of Minnesota Hospital was one waiting area right next to the intensive care unit. I have a vivid memory of parents pushing their children attached to IVs into that awful room. Needless to say, we didn’t stay but a minute or two in that room.

As an obnoxious teen-ager on a bicycle trip to England and Scotland in 1969, we visited a few pubs and I did smoke a couple cigarettes. I was fortunate that I didn’t like the taste of cigarettes so I never became a smoker. I’m also did not like the taste of alcohol so I never became much of a drinker (just occasionally).

And to tell you the truth, I didn’t care much for the pain pills given me after my surgery.

I do like sweets – candy and especially cookies. I absolutely love ice cream.

Yes, I eat too much and am overweight. But my eating does not affect your health.

Thank you, Wisconsin legislators for finally doing the right thing.


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