Thursday, October 04, 2007


Monday, October 1, our city put into "effect" their new smoking ordinance for the entire City of Grand Rapids. The way the ordinance reads, smoking is prohibited in all public buildings except restaurants, bars, and hotels. So basically, just a bunch of crap. When an article in the local paper appeared on Monday, it included opinions from smokers, but not non smokers. Some of the complaints of the smokers was that they felt like they were being treated unfairly, etc. having to go outside for all their smoking needs, claiming that they don't just "blow smoke in people's faces." The article goes on to say that smokers need to "take it outside," meaning their smoking, and must stay at least 10 feet from any building doorway or exhaust system. Ha!

What gets me, and prompted me to write a letter to the editor in complaint, was now these people are everywhere non-smokers want to go now. During lunch hour, no matter where you walk, someone is out and about smoking, blowing smoke in my face. And then to not restrict it from restaurants makes no sense at all. In Michigan, as I suspect in many states, smoking is prohibited in all local, state, and federal office buildings, and most privately owned business already have a no smoking policy in effect. So exactly what is the point of this new "ordinance"? All it really does is forces people outside so the rest of us have to suffer.

Not too long ago, I was out running on the track and there were two people walking and smoking! They have to get away from the hospital grounds, which is across the street, so they either line up against the fence by the track, puffing away, or they actually walk on the track to do their smoking. Senseless! And what about us who don't smoke?

Then last week I was running in the morning and ran by a McDonalds and a guy in a wheelchair sitting in the parking lot tried to stop me. Thinking he needed some assistance with the door or something, while I was cautious about some kind of trap, as I approached, I found out all he really wanted was a cigarette. Oh yeah, wait until I get them out of my pocket! I'm out running you idiot! Duh!

And then there are the people from my office. Our building began enforcing the new policy months ago, to get ready for October 1. So what do these people do now? Go sit in their cars with the windows down and smoke. And I'm talking about underground parking. Or they measure out exactly how far they need to be away from the doorway and then lean on anyone's car that happens to be in the range, smoking away. Any way you look at it, they are still fouling the air that I breathe, so I don't like it!

One thing I want to be clear on: While I detest smoking and cigarette smoke, and WILL NOT go to restaurants that don't have some decent no smoking areas available or don't allow it at all, I am not in favor of mandatory, governmental restriction. If I had it my way, smokers would be restricted to their own homes and cars, with windows closed. What I am in favor of is some sort of sensibility in this ordinance and not some lame attempt to be complying with any clean air act. Clean air in or out is air others breathe.

I realize the restaurants think they will lose business (I think not!), and I'm sure there is some sort of lobbying going on to the prevent the ordinance from really meaning something, but Grand Rapids, you can do better.


Shelley said...

That is total BS...either you go ALL out or nothing...sheesh don't they know that us non-smokers go to restaurants too..who the heck wants to breath that crap in while you're eating..sigh..I can't stand all this smoking stuff either...

Flo said...

Last year they toughened the smoking laws here in Hawaii. You can't smoke inside any public building at all including restaurants and bars. You have to be 20 feet from any doorway. The bars and restaurants raised h*ll saying they would lose business blah, blah. Yeah, it didn't happen. The bar where we sometimes go for lunch has installed a TV that can be seen from the smoking area for football season. All the drinkers and eaters managed to work it out.
I'm lucky in that I work in a industrial area so there are not large groups of smokers hanging around. I used to hate that when I worked downtown.

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

They recently implemented a no smoking law here and there isn't smoking even in restaurants (and bars i think, but I don't know for sure because i don't go to bars). It is WONDERFUL.

Cindy Jo said...

The ONE place I don't want to be around smoke is in a restaurant! Its so disgusting! I was a smoker for over 10 years (quit when I got pregnant) and I understand people wanting to smoke, but its not in the Bill of Rights for God's sake!

I tolerate smokers in bars, etc., but I avoid it as much as possible. It just grosses me out! I can't believe I used to smoke, LOL! If they're going to make a law or ordinance, they need to make one that has some teeth in it.