Friday, July 10, 2009

Smoke 'em if you got 'em . . . before it's too late

I'm no fan of tobacco smoke.  Far from it.  I cannot figure out how or why anybody lights up that first one.  Have you no sense of smell?  Have you no desire to live a long life?  Without coughing up a lung?  Or two?

But I am a fan of freedom.  Cigarettes are, at least for now, legal.  Yet anti-smoking crusaders are out in force and attempting to ban Americans from conducting a legal activity on their own time and on their own property.

Two such stories are in the news today . . .

First, "experts" at the Pentagon are urging the U.S. Military to ban tobacco use by soldiers, sailors, and marines.  (Link to story here.)  No word on whether or not the ban would apply to the Commander-in-Chief.

Second, and closer to home, West County EMS and Fire Protection District (which serves Manchester and Town and Country) is banning smoking by its employees on district property and when in uniform (I have no quarrel with that) and "Anyone hired to the district after January 1 must refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco while on or off duty as a condition of employment."  (Link to story here.)

Listen, I understand the harmful effects of tobacco.  And I understand the effects of public smoking.  But these efforts to control employees' behavior off-duty is overstepping the bounds of an employer.

What is happening to Americans' freedom to be left alone?

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