To the editor:
I've been thinking about the proposed smoking ban for restaurants. As a physician, I abhor cigarette smoking. I regularly see people who have illness caused by or worsened by smoking. It is especially frustrating that our tax dollars support the industry that produces this terribly addicting and harmful substance.
As a person with asthma, I wish I could go to any restaurant or bar and not be exposed to cigarette smoke. I have to avoid some establishments entirely, and in others I can sit only in certain areas. This seems unfair.
However, as a citizen, I am uncomfortable with asking government to further restrict our actions, and this is enough of a dilemma to have kept me out of the debate in the past.
It is annoying but not a great sacrifice for me to choose to avoid restaurants or bars where it will be hard for me to breathe. But the staff of those places, my daughter included, don't have that choice, and their exposure to unwanted smoke is much more extensive than it is for customers. They can refuse to work at facilities that endanger their health, but this is not a truly free choice in a bad economy. All this is enough additional reason for me now to support a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, and I urge the Lawrence City Commission to enact this measure.