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June 25, 2008

NE smoking law to go into effect…

Filed under: thoughts — Becky @ 7:18 pm

I am facing this issue at work. Do we make a residential facility smoking or non smoking? Does one persons right to smoke supersede another’s right to clean air? This is a copy of my email to my director.

My thoughts on the smoking issue are as follows:

There is no constitutional right to smoke. Claims to the contrary have no legal
basis. The U.S. constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights and protects
certain classes of persons from all but the most compelling government regulation. However, no court has ever recognized smoking as a protected fundamental right nor has any court ever found smokers to be a protected class. To the contrary, every court that has considered the issue has declared that no fundamental right to smoke exists. When employees smoke at work, the smoke causes damage to the facilities, and the employer is faced with the increased possibility of fires and burns, extra cleaning and maintenance, and more air pollution. The health effects of tobacco smoke on nonsmokers are well documented; in 1986, the Surgeon General reported on the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke,concluding that nonsmokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke run an increased
risk of acquiring lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. In addition,
the Surgeon General concluded that although the separation of smokers and
nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce the exposure of nonsmokers to
environmental tobacco smoke, it does not eliminate it.

I took a look at a copy of the law (LB395)and it states that the new law is intended to “encourage smoke-free places of employment and public places to reduce the health and safety risks posed by smoking in such places. . . protect the public health and welfare and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air has priority over the desire to smoke.”. I think that in order for us to be compliant in the full spirit of the law, we need to recognize the fact that while we are a residential facility and therefore technically fall under the private residence consideration, we are also a place of employment and that the employees/residents who don’t smoke shouldn’t be put at risk. I enjoy the way that Sen. Ernie Chambers stated it. “You do not have the right to have an addiction and impose your weakness upon other people,You don’t have the right to impose your stupidity on others.”.

What are your thoughts?


1 Comment »

  1. Fine if people want to smoke don’t do it where others have to inhale the nasty ass fumes and walk away smelling like an ash tray. I don’t want to lump all “smokers” into one catagory but I can’t stand when people just light up with out thinking about who is around them. And don’t get me started on the people who litter the ground with the butts. I heard on the radio a few months back that a town in ME was going to make it illegal to smoke with a minor in the car. I think that with all the known problems we are more educated and to know you are filling your lungs with cancer causing smoke it just stupid.

    Ok off my soap box.

    Take care

    Comment by Michelle — June 29, 2008 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

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