The Tobacco Taboo

To the editor:

Give yourself credit, fellow South Dakotans. Most of us do not abide being told what to do. This applies to even our right to partake of "the evil weed" of tobacco, in bars of all places.

You have not yet had a chance to vote on it, but you will. The order was passed by our elected representatives, many of whom smoke themselves. It is a chance for them to show us that they stand up for good health practices and will hopefully result in more votes for them. Smoking is a health hazard, you see. So is "second-hand smoke." No surprise.

And so is the "misuse" of booze. And many kinds, and overuse of food. And other mind altering substances. And sometimes this applies to the medicines we have been prescribed by our good physicians. No surprise.

Of course none of these mentioned substances are good for you. Again, any kind of misuse of things we occasionally enjoy will do you any good. My own family has been adversely affected by misuse of cigarette smoking. However, they smoked too much, as many did.

When our ancestors settled this state, the first community buildings which were set up were a church, a school, and a bar, not necessarily in that order. These establishments all had their own essential purposes, even the bar. People have social needs, and bars provided the conviviality ingredients for fellowship and a party atmosphere: a place to have a drink or two, a place to have a bite to eat (if food was served), and a place to have a smoke. However, we have been ordered to take tobacco out of the mix. So in a way this is akin to the prohibition against alcohol which went on in this country nearly a century ago.

I can accept some state orders for the good of the order. Not this one. Many others cannot either.

Gerry Egan

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