Smoking has always been a hot button issue. You used to be able to smoke everywhere. Then you could only smoke in bars and restaurants. Now, you can only smoke in bars. Now, there seems to be a renewed push to ban smoking everywhere. Actually, I know for a fact that a certain City Council member plans to introduce an ordinance to outlaw the practice.

Now, before we get into this, I'll openly admit that I am a smoker and may be slightly biased here. But I'm also willing to admit that it is a nasty habit and I can see how it can be unsavory to those who don't smoke.

With all that out the way, let's get to the heart of the discussion: should smoking be banned at all businesses and establishments in Shreveport. And the answer seems simple to me, NO. And not because I want non-smokers to be subjected to my nasty habit. Personally, I don't have a problem going outside to smoke. In fact, as many will testify, if I'm hanging out with non-smokers I either go outside or away from the group to light up.

My major issue with a "smoking ban" is that you are telling a private business that a legal practice can't take place at their privately owned business. Now, there are several bars around town that are smoke free because the owner wants it that way. That, I have no problem with. I still frequent those establishments. But, to me, it just seems like a major government overreach to tell a business owner that something that is perfectly legal is no longer allowed to take place on a property they own.

I mean, we're all adults here right? If someone doesn't want to work in a smoke filled environment, there are plenty of smoke-free job options available. If you don't want to drink your scotch next to man smoking a big cigar, you don't have to. There are bars where you can't smoke inside (Bears comes immediately to mind) But, until the day that smoking becomes illegal, I don't think the government (local or otherwise) should tell private citizens or business owners that they can't partake in a legal practice at an adults only bar just because some folks don't like it.

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