Education, not legislation, the answer to second hand smoke

Opinion

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I am writing to voice my opposition to the smoking ban. Although I am a non-smoker myself, I have many choices if I wish to dine in a non-smoking Oak Park restaurant. Restaurant workers also have many choices if they wish to work in a non-smoking environment. Restaurant owners know their clientele and are perfectly capable of making the best business decision regarding whether to ban smoking in their establishments. None of us need the Village of Oak Park to make choices for us!

The non-smoking ban will only drive restaurants from our village, which is already a difficult business environment. Restaurants are an important community amenity and a major source of much-needed sales tax revenue.

History shows that prohibition doesn't work. The proponents of a village smoking ban are fond of saying that few realize the dangers of second-hand smoke. I would advise them, and the Board of Health, to focus on educating the public regarding these dangers. This will gradually increase the demand for smoke-free restaurants. As it does, more and more restaurants will choose to be smoke-free in response. The process might take longer than the smoking ban proponents would wish, but it will achieve the result they want without the negative effects on the business environment.

Judith Alexander
Oak Park

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