A Breath of Fresher Air in the Rest of the Commonwealth
The rest of the Commonwealth recently arrived in the 21st century by finally passing a statewide smoking ban. This newly-passed bill, which is only awaiting the governor’s signature, bans smoking in restaurants, hospitals, schools and other public places. Most importantly, it does not alter or lessen the Philadelphia smoking ordinanace that has been in effect for the last couple of years.
Of course, the other notable aspect of the bill is that Pennsylvania has finally joined thirty-one other states in passing smoking bans. There are many arguments against such bans: the governmental intrusion or a private choice, the infringement on freedom to smoke, the supposed adverse effects on bars and restaurants, the existence of exceptions and loopholes, etc. Yet, the world has not stopped in California, New York and other states and cities that enacted such bans. People haven’t stopped going to bars in Philadelphia. Studies have shown that, at least in New York City, bars and restaurants have statistically benefited from the lack of smoking, as many people are more willing to go out there. People generally have adapted and just smoke outside the bars and restaurants (a good compromise). Even my smoking friends admitted that they have benefited by decreasing their smoking.
So, it’s a testament to the state legislature that it has finally enacted this measure. Smokers, fear not, as the states of Virginia and North Carolina still allow public smoking, and it’s doubtful that those tobacco states will be banning it soon.