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Letter: Smoking in bars is public rights issue

| March 19, 2009 12:00 AM

Dear Editor:

In answer to Mamie Swenson’s letter about smoking in bars, taverns and casinos (Feb. 20 edition), this is actually a public issue not a property rights issue and it is happening all across the United States in all public places.

In 2005, the Montana Legislature granted the Montana Tavern Association a three-year grace period to notify patrons and have a plan in place to transition over to no smoking bars, taverns and casinos and that period is over Oct. 1 – seven months away and that is plenty of time.

And you question why are bars, taverns and casinos targeted to become smoke free! Well, Ms. Swenson, there are more folks now who enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere than those who smoke. The intelligent people are setting it aside for health reasons for themselves and having consideration for other people as secondhand smoke is just as dangerous for adults as children. This is common sense and a fact.

It will have a positive effect on bar owners’ income as the folks that like to sit and converse and have a beer in a smoke-free environment will gradually increase in a clean establishment. Visit Little Joe’s outside of Troy and see.

Smoking is a personal rights issue and you will always be free to smoke in your own home, car and of course, the great outdoors. The government needed to act in favor of the public as there are only 20 percent smokers to 80 percent non-smokers in the United States now, and majority rules these days.

If I may quote the Montana Pioneer News out of Bozeman, “Smoking ban reversal ain’t gonna happen.” The 2009  Montana legislature is unlikely to reverse a smoking ban in the state’s bars and casinos that takes effect Oct. 1. In other words it’s already signed into law.

Get used to it and help your local tavern with the transition as it will do  everybody a world of good.

David Ronniger

Moyie Springs, Idaho