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BG needs stricter smoking bans

This spring break I headed to Connecticut to visit a friend, and for those of you that haven’t been there, it’s pretty nice.

The beach is always nearby, Boston and New York City are within a two-hour drive and the Appalachian Mountains create a more diverse landscape than pancake-flat Ohio.

But the one thing that really struck me about Connecticut was the fact that I was able to walk out of a bar or restaurant without the stench of smoke permeating my clothes and hair.

As I entered a bar with my friend I noticed the smokers were forced to come outside to enjoy their cigarettes.

According to, in Connecticut in 2003 smoking was banned in the workplace, including restaurants and bars.

Ohio isn’t a smoke-free state, but in February, Columbus celebrated its one-year anniversary for a smoking ban in restaurants and bars. However, according to the Columbus Dispatch the smoking ban is still a contentious issue.

Some people appreciate the cleaner air but others have a problem with it.

Those that are against the ban say that it affects revenue for bars and restaurants and that people don’t have to enter a bar that allows smoking if they don’t want to.

I however, feel it’s my right to breathe clean air and I shouldn’t have to choose where I spend my money based on if smoking is allowed.

The topic of smoking bans has faded from the headlines in recent months but the death of Dana Reeve should spur people to again take notice of the issue.

Dana Reeve was the wife of paralyzed “Superman” star Christopher Reeve who died in 2004.

Dana Reeve announced her diagnosis of lung cancer last summer and she had never been a smoker. She died a week and a half ago on March 6 – only seven months after she was diagnosed at the age of 44.

Experts suggest her time spent singing in smoky bars in the 1980s could have increased her risk, or the stress of caring for her husband might have made her more vulnerable to disease.

Regardless, this should be a wake up call to revive the efforts to make Ohio smoke-free.

A Newsweek article shows statistics that women are more vulnerable to lung cancer than men and when they are diagnosed with lung cancer, they “…usually have had less tobacco exposure than men to get the disease, and they’re more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier age””

I don’t think our generation is concerned enough about this issue. Only 11 out of 50 states have passed strong smoke-free laws.

According to the SmokeFreeOhio Web site, Toledo, Dublin and Bowling Green are among the 21 Ohio cities that have passed smoke-free laws – hold up, Bowling Green is on that list?

The last time I went to a bar in Bowling Green, I’m pretty sure I went home feeling like I smoked at least a pack of cigarettes.

According to the Bowling Green Code of Ordinances, smoking is limited to bar areas whether they be in a restaurant or not, and only restaurants without bars prohibit smoking entirely.

This ordinance isn’t good enough for me and it shouldn’t be good enough for others that live here.

Bar owners focus on the monetary losses involved with a smoke-free bar, but there are benefits.

Employees who don’t smoke work in a safer environment, non-smokers aren’t exposed to second-hand smoke and maybe some smokers will quit if they can’t smoke in most public places.

A fall 2004 survey by the Wellness Connection showed that 30 percent of students on campus smoked a cigarette during the last 30 days.

This is a pretty high number and the issue of smoking is big statistically, but it isn’t getting a lot of attention on campus.

A stricter smoking ban in Bowling Green is the first of many steps to creating a smoke-free Ohio.

This is a student issue and it’s one that student organizations should address and bring to the forefront.

Having a smoking ban won’t solve all our health problems but it will decrease our risk of lung cancer and we’ll all breathe a little better.

Send comments to Erin at [email protected].

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