New state smoking ban is a step in right direction

Allison Corneau

Allison Corneau

Arts & Entertainment Editor’06

Connecticut residents can breathe easier this week, as a new law was enacted to ban smoking from more than 800 locations around the state with cafe licenses, including bars, bowling alleys and taverns. This law is a continuation of an earlier legislation that prohibited cigarette smoking in 2000 Connecticut restaurants. Private clubs and workplaces with fewer than five employees are currently exempt from the new legislation.

While business owners affected by the ban may squabble over a potential decrease in revenue from smokers not returning to their bar, they need to realize that others who stood clear before may start coming to the new smoke-free location.

Area business owners may be surprised how their business will change as a result of this new ban. Some may even notice it increases, since non-smokers may begin to dine out more often.

I am very much in favor of this new statewide ban, as it allows me, a non-smoker, to enjoy going out to such establishments without coming home smelling like smoke, or worse, breathing in secondhand smoke.

There is nothing worse than spending a Friday night eating out with friends and having a fellow patron light up a cigarette from the next table over, blowing smoke in your direction. Even closer to home, in our Quinnipiac campus community, on-campus residents are hard pressed to find a doorway to enter that is not frequented by a pack of smokers. This incessant nuisance could be avoided if the school simply banned smoking on campus.

To the University’s credit, however, they are working to curb students’ smoking habits. Students and faculty members have developed the QUit smoking prevention and cessation program, to educate and inform young smokers of the dangers of lighting up. The program is explained through a link on the Quinnipiac web site, and provides helpful quitting resources and information. I am a firm supporter in the University banning smoking on campus and am confident QUit is a step in the right direction to do so.

Students who cannot quit smoking will be forced to go outside to light up, rather than stay inside restaurants and bars to smoke. Hopefully with the passage of Connecticut’s newest legislation, other area states will follow suit and ban smoking in their eateries and bars in the near future.

Massachusetts, California and New York City have beat Connecticut to the punch when banning smoking in restaurants, and the respective restaurant industries have not yet seen a considerable decrease in patronage.

With the passage of the new legislation, the unforeseen health habits of bar patrons who couple smoking with drinking may change for the better.

Since they are not able to smoke at the establishment, patrons may not drink as much as they would if they could smoke as well. In theory, the overall health of Americans, many of whom breathe in secondhand smoke without realizing it, would be improved.

Although it has been a long time coming, the smoking ban placed on Connecticut restaurants, bars and other such establishments could not have come at a better time. To those who argue with the new ban, put down the cigarettes and butt out of the non-smokers’ wish to dine in a smoke-free environment.