We've seen it all before. Good versus evil, the light side versus the dark side, the Liberals versus the Conservatives. But there is a new dichotomy in Calgary dividing citizens like no other. It's causing fights between businesses and has the people rising up against their government. It is, of course, the anti-smoking bylaw.
Cue the villainous music.
By now, everyone's in the loop on the issues surrounding the bylaw. Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart the Brave has come out on top. She's fought for a public smoking ban in all restaurants, bars, casinos and bingo halls to come into power in 2007 instead of 2008. Despite much opposition from other aldermen and many local businesses, smokers who patronize Calgary restaurants or bars will now have to enjoy their poison outside. It's a mighty step on the way to a smoke-free Calgary and a big win for anti-smoking activists.
Personally, I say it's a terrible idea. And it's not because I'm a smoker, either. I'm not. Regardless, I can see why smokers would want to keep this bylaw away from Calgary, and it's not just to selfishly preserve their precious habit.
Firstly, there will be fewer places for smokers to spread their glory. Unsuspecting teenagers who go to bars or clubs to dance or grab a drink with their friends won't get to have their lungs filled with the smoke that was once in someone else's lungs. Fewer people will see the light and begin smoking. The wealth just won't be spread! On top of that, laundry machine companies will undoubtedly go out of business as well, as club and bar patrons will be less inclined to strip out of their smoke-infested clothing and toss it in the nearest purifying machine. We can't send the laundry business downhill, we just can't!
Furthermore, if Calgary continues to stick with this silly bylaw, it will cause detrimental effects to the cigarette companies of the country. The smoking population of Calgary--around 200,000 people, according to the latest polls--will buy fewer packages of cigarettes because they will no longer be able to enjoy them in restaurants or bars. The bylaw may even help smokers who have been trying to escape their addictions succeed. Ergo, it will definitely harm cigarette companies. If Calgary sticks to the bylaw, not only will a prosperous, hardworking industry meet its demise, but fewer tax dollars will be going to the government to blow on jaunts to the Cayman Islands.
Finally, we get into the really important stuff. Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes has always had a way of making the smoker look cool. Without cigarettes to rely on, John Travolta wannabes just won't be cool anymore. People will have to work harder to pick up a lady at a bar or impress a date at a restaurant. As a woman, I know that the standard pick-up line just doesn't cut it anymore. The true sign of a man is when he can blow smoke literally--not just figuratively.
Also, it will make getting cancer and chronic illness so much more difficult, which isn't a good sign for the masochistics of Calgary.
From these arguments, I can definitely see why a smoking ban is such a concern for smokers. They don't just want to smoke in restaurants; they want to save companies, enhance the lives and coolness of teenagers, and let the masochists of the world do what they want, where they want. Their altruistic arguments to maintain the status quo are impossible to ignore.