I like to smoke. I don’t really care if you don’t like it. I like to smoke when I drink. I like to smoke a lot. I like smoky bars full of people fucking smoking. Drinking and smoking and having a good fucking time where there isn’t a single asthmatic child, or any child for that matter, in the whole damn building.
Since April 1st, 2007 no one in Paducah has been able to legally smoke a cigarette indoors in any bars, restaurants, or hotels within the city limits. The city wide smoking ban wasn’t decided by area voters but by a few city commissioners that decided second hand smoke was killing people and needed to be outlawed for the greater good.
Area bar and restaurant owners got the big fuck you from the city commissioners when their input on the ordinance was ignored, and they watched their business revenues plummet. People opted to drink and eat at home rather than suffer the hassle of smoking outside. Some area bars compensated by setting up beer gardens and outdoor areas for smokers, but they're useless when it's cold or raining outside.
Studies stating business revenues are completely unaffected by smoking bans have been rolled out in the propaganda war on smoker's rights, but anyone with half a brain knows that on a night when it’s below freezing, people who like to smoke and drink are going to stay home where they can do both at the same time.
You may not be aware of this, but the first nation-wide smoking bans took place in Nazi Germany back in the 1930s and 40s. Hitler was a vegetarian and an avid non-smoker who thought that all Aryan Germans should be in perfect health and able to reproduce to make enough little Nazis to rule the planet. The Nazi scientists concluded that women who smoked were less likely to bear children because of the effects of premature aging and loss of physical attraction which they linked to smoking. So they implemented bans all over Germany banning smoking in many public places.
The initial effect of the smoking bans was a nearly doubled increase in the amount of tobacco consumption across Germany because apparently the master race loved to light up after dinner or sex or with one of their yummy German beers and they didn’t like being told what they could put in their bodies by Hitler and his Nazi cronies.
After the end of World War 2 many of the leaders in the Nazi anti-smoking campaign were executed, as they rightly should have been, and smoking then went on to rise to bigger, greater heights in Germany than it ever had before fueled by opportunistic American cigarette manufacturers that saw gold in them there hills. The German people freed from the fascist Nazis could once again put that sweet poisonous smoke in their bodies if they wanted to because they were, after all, their bodies.
And all was right with the world.
Except now in present day America smoking bans and bans on unhealthy ingredients such as trans-fats have become the rule rather the exception in states, cities and counties all across the nation.
We defeated our enemy only to eventually become them.
Or, at the very least, we seem to think that whole smoking ban idea the Nazis came up with sixty plus years ago was really awesome and not at all fascist. No, really. It’s not. Just stop thinking, shut up, and breathe in that guy’s BO at the table next to you that you used to not be able to smell when it was all smoky in here and your sense of smell was dulled. We were missing out on so much before we got this sweet smoke-free air.
I’m not going to assert that smoking isn’t bad for you because that would be completely insane and obviously a lie. Smoking is bad for you. It’s really bad for you. It’s a vicious fucking addiction and I wish I’d never started and that I did not enjoy it as much as I do. It can give you lung cancer, a heart attack, impotence, and all sorts of nasty shit. There are so many health risks involved in smoking that you likely need to be mildly insane just to keep doing it or to even start in the first place.
And I will be the first person to admit that tobacco companies are operated by completely evil assholes with a body count that puts every war in the history of mankind to shame and every member on their board of executives is going straight to hell when they die.
But the primary reasoning behind the current smoking bans isn’t the dangerous side effects on the people that are actually smoking, but rather the effects of the second hand smoke on the non-smokers around them. The real problem with that line of reasoning is the overwhelming lack of evidence that people actually get things like lung cancer and die from second hand smoke. It probably isn’t actually good for you to breathe someone else’s smoke, but it’s probably not good for you to breathe exhaust fumes the whole time you’re driving either. It’s probably not good for you to get totally jack-hammered on Saturday night on cheap booze, but it’s still your right as a free citizen of the United States of America to drink as much of that particular poison as you want as long as you don’t get behind the wheel of a car or beat your wife. And, hey, it’s also a lot of fun being drunk.
When we were kids we breathed everyone’s second hand smoke like people had for thousands of years before us, and we didn’t even notice or care. Sure, there were probably some kids with asthma that suffered for it, but the vast majority of us were completely unfazed and physically unaffected. We’re not all dying of lung cancer or keeling over from heart attacks. We’re fine. Or we used to be.
I will concede that smoking bans in certain places like hospitals make sense. I don’t have to be a fan of that fascist ideal to understand that from a logical stand point you don’t want sick people breathing smoke. There’s a time and a place for everything including smoking.
And that time and place is in a bar.
It’s a scary world when things that have been part of our social traditions for thousands of years vanish overnight, and very few people care. We’re not that far away from prohibition of tobacco, and, unlike illegal drugs that actually get you high which people will never quit buying because their lives skullfuck them with boredom, cigarettes will become a thing of the past.
The last time someone thought that a little nugget of fascism would be a really swell idea was alcohol prohibition. And, hello, organized crime! We’ve been going through a second prohibition with drugs since Nixon was in office, and that war is also a miserable failure. Where there is demand, there will always be supply.
Our government can ban everything that is bad for us and take away every freedom we ever took for granted in the process. But they will never change human nature.
I’m not smoking just to look cool right now, or because it helps me focus when I’m writing, or because I’m a filthy nicotine addict.
I am smoking because I still can.