Sunday, May 29, 2005

K.C.'s up in Smoke

I just came back from a trip to Wichita of all places-the place we “big city folks” like to refer to as a Cow town just because they’re smaller than we are. Anyway, it seems this burg in western Kansas has some pretty progressive ideas with regards to its no-smoking laws because the choice of non-smoking restaurants is fabulous.

We ate at P.F. Changs, a restaurant I revere more for its non-smoking bar than I do for its food. But it was fantastic being able to go into a bar and not worry about my allergies kicking in from all of the smoke! When a table in the bar became available we grabbed it, because it was going to be over an hour wait to get into the restaurant.

Note to bar and restaurant owners in Kansas City: Yes, there are waits at restaurants when there is no smoking restrictions.

When a woman came into the bar and lit up, she was promptly told that smoking was only allowed outside. When several patrons turned to find out where the obnoxious smell was coming from, she got up and said she would just go outside and “put it out.”

That’s why it was shocking to me when I came home and read in the paper that Kansas City had just initiated a law protecting workers in office buildings and other places from second hand smoke.

I guess it was shocking because since the late 1980’s, I cannot remember working in an office that allowed smoking. I worked in and visited a lot of offices all over the country and thought that smoking in the work place was long gone, much like being able to pat a “secretary” on the butt and have her fetch a cup of coffee.

I grew up in a home where everyone smoked, my parents and my older siblings. My husband also grew up in such a household, but it wasn’t until we got out on our own and realized how we smelled, even though we didn’t smoke, that we decided that we wouldn’t allow smoking in our own home.

Now that I’ve been away from it for many years, I am a lot healthier. I don’t worry about my allergies developing into bronchitis or pneumonia on a routine basis.

I’m all for personal liberties, for everyone to be able to do what they want to do, enjoy whatever habits they want, as long as it doesn’t affect the lives of others. But as a person who is personally affected every time I’m around smoke (the main reason that I can no longer bowl, go to any bars or even take my Mom to the casinos or to play Bingo-which she loves), your smoking does affect other people.

There are several cities in the metro, Shawnee being one, which does not even require restaurants to provide a non-smoking section. For now, those are the restaurants and the cities we will avoid when dining out. And if any city in the metro is the first to become as progressive as Wichita and offer a no-smoking ban, that will be the city that will get our dollars.


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