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The evidence continues to pile up. The Peoples' Republic of California has linked secondhand smoke to breast cancer. The professional anti-smoking activists who are paid to say it's a health hazard say it's a health hazard. Dear Abby agrees. Now The Pantagraph's scientists concur. The issue is settled.

It's odd though that OSHA, which loves to issue rules and tell everyone what to do, disagrees. OSHA studied secondhand smoke and determined there was no need for any regulation.

It's clear that the enlightened elite need the city councils to pass smoking bans to improve the lives of the less affluent and less intelligent by deciding for them where they can smoke.

The elite are also oh so concerned about the poor, mindless employees who are forced to work for those evil owners who allow smoking in their bars and restaurants. The employees' pitiful little lives will be improved by smoking bans. It is irrelevant that this "life improvement" will cost some of them the jobs they need to feed their families or put themselves through school.

Hey, it's about the greater good.

But could all this be wrong? Are the elite only being self-serving? Could it be that they just want to be able to go to any bar or restaurant they please and never risk having to wrinkle their noses in disdain at a whiff of tobacco smoke?

The enlightened elite should go back to their kiwi-and-brie and mind their own business. Let everyone, rich or poor, smart or dumb, East Side or West Side, decide where they want to eat, drink and work. Let the bar and restaurant owners operate in their own, individual best interests to provide jobs and incomes for themselves and their employees.

Hey, it's about American freedom.

Mike Lynch



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