Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Clean Indoor Air Act

It's happened.

Governor Rendell has signed the Clean Indoor Air Act, and Pennsylvania finally has an anti-smoking law on the books.

This is a bad bill. It has far too many exemptions. There are far too many ways around it. On the other hand, it's the best we're going to get. I learned a long time ago that "a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing." We came very close to a lot of nothing.

The year long debate over the bill provided some great entertainment. I enjoyed watching certain state legislators claim that the special interests didn't play a role in the process, when we all know it was a lie. I enjoyed listening to the casinos claim poverty. That was a good one.

The fears of those against this law are understandable, but all you have to do is look at the evidence from the more than thirty other states that have anti smoking laws on the books. The entertainment districts haven't closed. Bars and restaurants are still open. It's not the end of the world.

As for those who think allowing smoking should be up to each individual business owner, consdider the building code. There's a book as thick as a bible that lists safety standards for lighting, exits, wiring, etc. Smoking is no different. It's a safety issue, and as has been noted a thousand times before, there is no safe level of second hand smoke. We don't allow builders to put unsafe, substandard wiring in their structures. We mandate emergency exits in case of a fire. Keeping people safe by giving them clean air to breathe is a no brainer.

I don't go out often, but I do go out occasionally. I hate coming home smelling like smoke. The usual standards of beer, cheap perfume, vomit and urine are good enough for me. I'm kidding. We needed something to lighten up today's blog.

The bottom line is to relax and give this a chance. It's not a bad thing, and you might even like it.

90 days 'til cleaner air.