Monday, December 04, 2006

Never a shortage of them...

For my more frequent readers, you might be intrigued to hear there is a bit of a debate going on in the comments section of a thread from a MONTH ago. I had posted right after elections about one unhappy local businessman's reaction to the public smoking ban here in Ohio. Some anonymous visitor has taken on himself (herself?) to use it as an opportunity to let me know what, in his opinion, is wrong with the voting system today. At first it started out that since 20% of Ohioans smoke (not entirely sure where they got that figure but I've heard similar estimates) that therefore, 20% of public places should allow smoking. As you can see, there isn't a lot of logic to this person's arguments, but for some silly reason I let myself get sucked in. After I got another comment today, I realized this person isn't mad at me, they're mad at the world, and mad at the way democracy works. Check it out, you might get a kick out of it. I closed the commenting because A.) if you're going to go on a rant, at least have the balls to put your name on it, and B.) my blog isn't about the failures and successes of the system.

On another note about the smoking ban, it starts to take effect on Dec. 7. That's a mere three days away, and to be perfectly honest, I'm tickled pink. I've had my own little countdown going til the day when I don't have to ask to be seated in non-smoking! And to be perfectly honest, I don't know how the law works as far as bars go, but since I won't be going in any bars til at least next May, it won't affect me anyway. My hunch is, though, due to the rather stringent language of the bill, bars probably won't be allowing smokers either.

On a *third* note about smoking, we recently discovered that Scott's, a major lawn-care company located in Marysville, Ohio actually successfully enforced a company policy requiring their employees to quit smoking completely. If your brain is working today, you'll realize when I say enforced, that means they fired an employee who they caught smoking off-hours. Now, I'm all for people taking charge of their own health, and not doing things that are proven detrimental to your health, like smoking, binge drinking, overeating, drugs, etc. But there's got to be a line somewhere in how involved a company can get in the employee's personal life. I could understand if Scott's decided to not pay for the health insurance of smoking employees. Let them pay for their own health insurance, if they're going to willingly partake in a known health hazard. But firing them? I can't say as I agree with that! What's next? I have heard some other arguments, like "if they can fire you for doing drugs, why not smoking?" Well, smoking cigarettes isn't illegal, yet. I don't know exactly where the line should be drawn, but I certainly don't think someone should be fired for doing something entirely legal on their own personal time, no matter how stupid. The fired employee, Scott Rodriguez, is apparently suing the company for violating a state privacy law. Given that the company enacted the policy a while ago, I find it curious that their lawyers found nothing wrong with the policy at the time. So I wonder how successful Mr. Rodriguez will be in suing?


Iron_Praetorian said...

I can see both sides of said arguement. As a reformed smoker, I can testify that its an addictive habit, one of the hardest to break, quite honestly. Its certainly not a habit that only affects the person actively participating in it. Thats pretty talk for "When you smoke, everyone else around you smokes, whether they want to or not". The biggest reason, IMHO, that Driving while impared is illegal isn't because it affects the sot behind the wheel, but because its a horrific danger to anyone else on the road. If it was just drunks killing themselves, far fewer people would give a shit, quite frankly.

On the other hand, laws such as this smack of big brother telling us what to do. While others are far more concerned with this than I am (maybe for good reason), I believe that most laws exist because we typically can't be trusted to properly take care of our own behavior. Thus the systems of crime/punishment.

That being said, I don't know if Ohio is a "right to work" state or not (Tennessee is). In TN, you can be canned for anything that isn't a "protected" classification, such as gender, race, religion, handicapped status (or as I like to say, the only people that can be canned for who they are is young to middle age white males with operative ambulatory systems).

Smoking, however, isn't a protected status. I get mad every time I see a particular co-worker smoking. Its not that she smokes, its that she smokes and has to go for chemotherapy treatments. My insurance premiums keep going up because of people like her that constantly endanger themselve and others with their habits.

Umm, I guess what that aimless rambling meant to say was "Go Ohio!".

Anonymous said...

The problem with voting on something like the non-smoking ban is people think it will be one way and then it turns out to be another.

Why are we forced to Vote on issues like this BEFORE we decide on the rules? It seems to me that if we were really interested in letting people make a decision on a new law, we should actually be told what the rules and regulations will be before hand.

I voted on the smoking ban. . . now I regret I did. I agree I was naive when it came down to what I thought the ban would actually be -- that was my fault and I promise not to make that mistake at the polls again -- even if the issue seems like something that will be a good thing. . . . I wonder how many other people that voted yes for this ban are now upset they voted that way after seeing how the law is going to be setup.

I just wish when it comes to voting for something -- they actually would tell you what that SOMETHING ACTUALLY IS beforehand.

I guess it's just one more law to add to our books. For America being such a country of FREEDOM, I often find it strange that we have more laws then any other nation.

One last side note -- I wish people would stop acting like they were being forced to sit in restaurants and bars and take in second hand smoke. I have never heard of ANY law that states a bar or restaurant can't be smoke free if the owners wanted them to be. Loud music can be bad for your ears, but I wouldn't go to concerts and then complain about the noise being harmful.

FroneAmy said...

As far as the rules and regulations, ORC3719 (I think) is pretty detailed as far as what's allowed and what's not allowed. Sometimes they don't have a lot of detail, and unfortunately the truth is usually they set the true details by case law after the fact. The only detail so far that I see is missing is the actual distance that "immediate" means. If you want the detail, google "Ohio Revised Code smoking ban".
I'm still glad I voted for the ban. It's not like we eliminated cigarettes entirely. I wish smokers would realize that. This is a situation where the majority rules, and the majority doesn't smoke and doesn't want to be around it. The majority wants to be able to enjoy the public arena without being around it. I've actually had a smoking friend pick a fight with me over this ban already, which makes me sad.

I am curious what Anonymous thought they were voting for and what they believe they have enacted (and regret). The ban essentially makes workplaces smokefree to protect the workers. As a side benefit, I as a consumer enjoy this because I can now go to restaurants and bars and not come home smelling of an ashtray. No, nobody forces me to go out to them. It's why I haven't been to a bowling alley in two years now. Yes, businesses DID have an individual choice to ban smoking, and you know what? NONE of them did! Not here, anyway. I do think it's sad that we as a society aren't intelligent enough to be able to make our own choices, but I agree 100% with Iron Praetorian. Most laws exist because we can't be trusted to take care of ourselves. So the majority finally acted and fixed it.
I've got to disagree with you Anonymous, I think this law was a pretty successful use of the democratic system. The people said what they wanted, and made themselves heard.

Lady B. said...

I am curious about the ban also,
does this mean all Police cars will be required to have "No Smoking" signs on the doors like the Truckers?

FroneAmy said...

Well no, as far as I understand the law, the vehicles aren't required to have the full signage posted. But whatever the case about signs, yes, police cars are included in the law. Police officers, even those that have their own assigned car that they take home, will no longer be permitted (if they ever were) to smoke in their vehicles.

Lady B. said...

Thank you,
I was curious about all vehicles,
such as police, emergency, city, and state vehicles.
I wan't to be the sign maker.
Ha, Ha, Ha!