Monday, August 25, 2008

Smoking in Foreign States

Richard Roeper brings up something I’ve talked to a lot of Springfieldians about recently: We are now very used to, and spoiled by, our smoking ban. Specifically, many of us find cigarette smoke more offensive than ever now that we aren’t continually subjected to it in public places. In Roeper’s case:
Last week, I took a quick drive east to New Buffalo, Mich., and the Four Winds Casino Resort...

But I'm not sure I'm ever going back, for one simple reason:

The joint smells like an ashtray.

Not only is smoking allowed in the Four Winds, I swear I thought it was mandatory at one point. Now that we've had the better part of a year to get spoiled in Illinois, it's jarring to walk in to a place like the Four Winds and get hit with the unmistakable stench of cigarette smoke.
I remember not long after Springfield implemented its smoking ban going into a restaurant in St. Louis and being asked if we wanted “smoking or non-smoking”. Even though the Springfield ban had only been in effect a short while, the question briefly took me aback. It was an “Oh yeah, we’re not in Springfield anymore” moment in which I appreciated how far ahead of the game Springfield was in this regard. We obviously chose non-smoking but were still treated to the fumes drifting through the non-existent barrier between us and the smoking section.

Anyway, it’s interesting to hear people come back from vacations or other travels to express their appreciation of the smoking ban after experiencing the smoke ‘em if you got ‘em rules in other places.

I think overall I’ve become far less tolerant of cigarette smoke in general now that it has largely been eliminated from my universe. (Full disclosure: Mrs. TEH still has the occasional cigarette in the privacy of our back deck, but she’s working on it!) And that’s saying something. While I never smoked myself, I grew up in house full of the smoke from my father’s cigarettes. Even as a teenager, working at a store in the newly opened White Oaks Mall in the late ‘70s, I would sweep the numerous cigarette butts off the floor after closing each night. Think about that; people would smoke in stores and smash their butts out on the floor and just leave them. We have come a long way.


nancy said...

When I went to Loyola, smoking was allowed inside their beautiful old campus buildings. We could smoke during class if the professor allowed it, but all of the hallways were fair game and even had ashtray-sconces hanging on the walls. I smoked for about 7 years and I'm convinced there is not a more intolerant non-smoker than a former smoker.

Marie said...

I learned just this weekend that smoking is going on inside various Taylorville taverns. Apparently, they can get away with it because no one is enforcing the ban over there (down there?). Well, that's what I was told.