Thursday, March 03, 2005

Smoke Free City

I would love to see cigarette smoking go out of style.

I recently discovered a local group, Smoke Free City, that seeks to make this happen. I especially like that they provide information about where you can go to get a meal or a drink without being choked by cigarette smoke.

Their legislative agenda is primarily focused on overturning the state's (PA's) pre-emption laws that prevent local governments from regulating smoking in their own way. I get goose-bumps every time some social reformer wants to change society by legislative fiat, but at the moment their agenda is pretty reasonable.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Smoking is harmful. I'm trying to make a big push to include "wellness" into the platform. So, I'm most happy to see the topic come up.

But, like you, I'm very worried about the arrival of new sets of laws.

We were at a place a few weeks ago and were about to munch on our burgers and fries. A guy a couple tables away began to smoke. I had my two boys with me and could use them as an legit reason -- and asked if he'd not smoke. He kindly agreed. I asked nice -- no problem. And, it made a difference to us.

That one-to-one way is the best way to deal with things. We'll walk out. That night we were sorta stuck there and we figured out how to cope.

I'd like better signage. I'd like more awareness.

I was in Arizona at a health fair a few years ago and was very impressed by a number of non-smoking / stop-smoking programs that were part of that state's wellness landscape. Different agencies had different messages.

We have a local problem in that 21% of the pregnant moms here are still using tobacco. Please quit for the sake of the kid!

Another friend has done a lot of work in the smoke free area in another state. Her reports, a bit older now, were most impressive too. We are a bit in the dark ages when one considers the air quality in places like Pittsburgh vs. eating establishments in Calif.

I would not be keen on state or local laws. But even as it is now, we have a law to not have local laws. What's up with that -- except the tobacco lobby.

Finally, the state's tobacco settlement money is being jacked with by Ed Rendell, it seems. He wants to take away a good sized chunk of the money that was pledged for high-powered research. UPMC and Pitt are starting to put up objections. I think Rendell is over-reaching again and grabbing money.

We should research that research money. Thanks.

Laurie said...

You have no idea how pleasant it is to go to a bar or restaurant and simply enjoy the meal or a drink.

My husband and I just got back from a week in Ireland. Dublin banned smoking in public buildings a year ago. We spent more time in bars in Dublin than we ever do in Pittsburgh. The bars were usually quite crowded, and people just went outside to smoke.

We live in Mount Lebanon, where a new Irish pub is opening shortly. It's supposed to have a glassed-in area of the bar for non-smokers. While I do appreciate that, it would be better to have glassed in areas FOR THE SMOKERS.