For those of you that don't live in the NYC area, smoking became practically illegal this weekend. Smoking is now completely banned in all bars and restaurants, and if you are busted smoking, the fine is pretty hefty (or so I'm told, I confess to not looking it up). Now, I am someone who loathes smoking. I can get very sick from exposure to cigarette smoke—at the very least I'll get a violent stabbing headache and nausea, at worst I'll start having trouble breathing. (I assume I must actually have an allergy or something.) But
, even I think this is absolutely ridiculous. I can think for myself, and if I don't want to be exposed to smoke, I simply avoid places full of smoke. Really, it's not that difficult. Bars are for people who want to smoke, drink, and more often than not, hook up. There are plenty of non-smoky places to go if that's not what you're into. Supposedly, this is out of concern for the health of people "forced" to work in bars. I say phooey. First off, I don't think anyone's being forced to work in a bar, and second, I don't see the Mayor looking into establishing health care for people in those industries. A covered yearly checkup would do a hell of a lot more than less exposure to smoke (especially since most people who work in bars smoke themselves).
This is already a city where dancing is illegal in any place that doesn't have a cabaret license—and I'm not even going to get into how stupid that is except to note that a major swing spot in NYC, Swing 46, which is a supper club, mind you, has lost their cabaret license for no apparent reason and is trying to get it back. I mean, really! A jazz/big band oriented supper club, and the city somehow thinks dancing shouldn't be allowed.
Taxes and tolls are going up constantly, services are being cut back drastically, and now they don't want to let anyone have any fun. Where, oh where, is the benefit to living here?
And finally, I have to say, to all you NYC smokers—while I do hate when one of you lights up in a place you shouldn't and blows smoke all over me, I have nothing but sympathy for you all right now. I really don't think this is the time to try and make everyone not smoke, nerves are frazzled enough as it is. In a city full of sniper teams and bomb sniffing dogs, let people have whatever they need to calm down, puh-lease.