Calabasas smoking ban beginnings of bad habit

Justin Satzman

On Feb. 15, the Calabasas City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking in all public places. The ban took effect March 17. Calabasas will not be the last city to ban smoking like this. Chicago has already enacted a ban similar to this, as has a host of other cities in the United States.

No matter who supports this or who says this is a good idea, it is not. This is just another example of the government and organizations involved with the government telling you what you can and cannot do. It is basically called taking away your rights.

Before you accuse me of being a pro-smoker and a spokesman for the tobacco company, let me tell you some things about me and smoking.

First of all, I do not smoke. I have had one cigarette in my life and let me tell you, I personally thought it was the most disgusting thing I had ever done. I also will not date a woman who smokes. I believe tobacco companies should pay back all the damage that they caused when they told people that smoking does not damage people’s health, when they knew through scientific evidence that it does.

With all that being said, I still think it is terrible that cities, especially Calabasas, have done what they are doing.

It is a personal choice if a person wants to smoke or not. If he or she wants to fill her lungs up with smoke and pay the outrageous price to do so, then I say let them do it. How in any way does that affect me?

I know you are screaming, “secondhand smoke, you moron,” as your answer. I agree that secondhand smoke is a problem and some cities have dealt with it in the correct way. For instance, the city of Los Angeles does not let anyone smoke in restaurants or bars. This is the right thing to do. People should not be allowed to smoke in restaurants or bars because of the amount of people that their smoke can affect.

Office workers who smoke should have to congregate in a specific area if they want to smoke and no smoking should be done in an enclosed area.

Now I know you are probably calling me a flip-flopper here, louder than those pro-Bush people in 2004. But I will tell you the difference in my argument. Restaurants and bars are private areas where people gather and mingle. Plus, like I said, the smoker puts other people at risk to secondhand smoke.

But in the case of Calabasas, that person cannot have a smoke while he or she is walking to their car or waiting at a red light. Now, tell me, how does that affect anyone else but the one who is smoking? If you argue that other people may be waiting for the crosswalk, I just say, “Do you think breathing car exhaust is healthy for you?”

As you can tell, I am a believer in personal freedom and I cannot stand those who try and tell me something is bad for me and want me to stop. If I want to do something that will not affect another human being, then what is the problem?

I am very worried that salt or red meat will be taken off the market soon because people will say it is unhealthy and I should not eat it. I would never have guessed, especially after watching “Good Night, and Good Luck,” that this country would have looked at smoking as a bad thing.

I am a health-conscious person, which is one of the reasons I do not smoke. But I would never tell anyone who smokes to stop. If they want to smoke, let them smoke. I just ask that they not do it around me. So if everyone who does not smoke asks everyone who does that same favor, we could stop treating some people like outcasts. I would much rather that than have my personal freedoms taken away.

Justin Stazman can be reached at