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Smoking prohibited

This week’s Word on the Street column reports that the City and County have been doing smoking ban stings lately: “The county performed 203 compliance checks and wrote 45 tickets. The city performed 123 checks and wrote eight tickets.” And, “The effort was funded by a [$15,000] grant the Peoria City/County Health Department received from the state Department of Public Health.”

Meanwhile, there’s a new documentary miniseries premiering in October on PBS about Prohibition. Promotional material for the new film by Ken Burns describes the Prohibition era: “The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse…. Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system … permitted government officials to bend and sometimes even break the law, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country…. The film raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago – about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government and finally, who is — and who is not — a real American.”

File the modern, popular smoking bans under the heading, “History Repeating Itself.”

6 comments to Smoking prohibited

  • A testament to belaboring the obvious. The smoking ban in nothing more than a smokescreen (no pun intended) for the government’s implied ability to apply preemptive pressure. Random, and now mandatory, drug testing falls along these lines. We no longer have to suspect you, simply assume you are breaking the law.

    “But it’s for your own good!” So was Manzinar. So was Auschwitz. So were the Pogroms of Russia. These actions are always “for your own good.”, but they never are.

    For C.J., please note the reference to Auschwitz is contextual and does not violate our previous discussion of the topic.

  • Chris

    One really has nothing to do with the other. The smoking ban, obviously, only restricts smoking is places where such an act will harm the health of the others around you. You’re welcome to smoke outside, at your house, in your car, etc.. Prohibition, obviously, banned alcohol outright.

    You’ve got the right to walk down the street flailing your arms wildly. As soon as someone is close enough for your flailing arms to bloody their nose, that right ends.

    That is, it should be obvious that your personal rights end where another American’s begin.

    Additionally, I haven’t seen any evidence that anything like the egregious actions taken during prohibition that clearly resulted in the unnecessary death of thousands of Americans has happened in association with the smoking bans.

    Your juxtaposition of the two is naive and extremely narrow sighted.

  • charlie

    I have no problem with a business owner (read that: tavern owner) being allowed to determine if he is going to allow smoking, dancing or gambling in his establishment. A sign outside the dor would be sufficient warning to anyone who wished to enter (and not be exposed to someone e;se’s evil habits).
    Come on… you don’t see a problem with casinos and strip joints? But we don’t restrict them… you can gamble (and lose) or sexually exploit someone as much as you like.

  • Ranger Dace

    Illinois’s smoking ban in public places and business establishments does not equate to the Volstead Act. I don’t really understand how you could confuse the two.

  • sctobrien

    The old Steve Martin quip is apt when it comes to smoking…

    something along the lines of the question, “mind if I smoke” with the reply, “mind if I fart.”

  • MW

    Good. The smoking ban is one of the best pieces of legislation ever passed. Nice that it’s actually being enforced, too.