Yesterday's post about the impending total smoking ban in Atlantic City certainly touched some raw nerves, based on the comments posted here and a few e-mails I received. So let me respond:
***Let's start with the perception that I am a gambling smoker (or is that smoking gambler)? With the one-day-only exception of splitting a pack of Tareytons with my best friend at The Who concert at the original Electric Factory in Oct., 1969, I have never smoked cigarettes (although I do enjoy the occasional stogie). And other than once or twice a year, when I might throw some dice, I do not play any casino games of chance (poker doesn't count as "gambling" because it is not mathematically engineered for the house to win, and you don't have to have the best hand to take a pot).
***I know inanimate objects can't "gloat" (I used the word in reference to those who paid for the sign).
***I have complete empathy and sympathy for those whose health has been negatively impacted by second-hand smoke. But I'm pretty sure no one held a gun to the heads of people who took jobs that put them in that kind of jeopardy. Put another way, no one who fears the prospect of injury or death would become a firefighter or police officer, would they? So why would anyone concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke take a job on a casino floor to begin with?
***With all due respect to those who mentioned it, the smoke-free poker room argument is specious at best. Players still pack AyCee's card rooms because there is no regional option. So far, it's either the kitchen table or Atlantic City for us poker nuts. Do you honestly think that smokers would continue to play in A.C. if they could play in poker rooms that permit smoking?
***My main point is that the timing of the ban is wrong. Perhaps if it had been implemented during that time in history when A.C. had the East Coast casino monopoly, it wouldn't have mattered as much; by now people would be more acclimated to it. But why, in these economically lousy times, give your customers a reason to go elsewhere?
***My beef with all anti-smoking legislation is that it impinges on what I (misguided dolt that I am) see as basic concepts of American freedom. What do you think the likes of Franklin and Jefferson would think of government telling adults how they should behave when it comes to behavior that doesn't IMPLICITLY endanger another citizen (before I hear it from the second-hand smoke crowd again, what I mean is, blowing a single puff of smoke in a person's face certainly won't have the same effect as firing a single bullet into his face).
***Finally, I'd like to thank each and everyone who took the time and effort to tell me how stupid I am. Believe it or not, I love it. This is the ideal of the Internet: A sincere exchange of ideas between those who have fundamental disagreements. If you promise to keep calling me out when I write something you find wrongheaded, I promise to keep writing them!