It’s still early in Minnesota’s legislative session and while we hadn’t expected to see much progress in St. Paul at this stage we certainly don’t like to see lawmakers moving backwards.
Rep. Tom Hackbarth’s bill to let bar patrons smoke again — after a three-year ban — is definitely a step in the wrong direction. The legislation to ban smoking from bars was hard fought and controversial. Some bar owners claimed their businesses were hurt by the ban. Others said the effect was negligible. However, after three years during which bars are smoke-free, cleaner and healthier we doubt whether most customers, employees or even owners would want to return to the nicotine-stained days of old.
After all these years after the surgeon general’s report, there’s really nothing good that can be said about the habit of smoking. Not only is it harmful to those who smoke but it’s widely considered to be detrimental to those who are nearby and who must breathe in the second-hand smoke.
Let’s not go back down tobacco road again.