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OUR OPINION: Embrace smoking ban as a change for the better

OUR OPINION: Embrace smoking ban as a change for the better

January 31st, 2011 in News

Change is the only constant.

That concept is as old as 500 B.C. and attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

A change in Jefferson City effective today will be deemed significant by some residents and will pass unnoticed by others.

The change is implementation of a smoking ban approved by a majority of city voters in the November election.

The change will be most profound for bars and restaurants that have permitted patrons to smoke throughout or in designated areas of the establishment.

In arguments preceding the vote, some opponents contended a smoking ban would curtail customers, perhaps so severely the establishment would become unprofitable and close.

Proponents of the ban emphasized public health. In addition, they contended opponents' predictions were exaggerated, based on the effect of similar bans in other cities.

Although the effect is impossible to forecast, it likely will be based on reactions to the change.

Change can generate a range of reactions, including: Efforts to repeal or augment the change; refusal to obey and suffering consequences; reluctantly accepting change while continuing to disagree; or embracing change and making the best of it.

The city's November vote was another step in a continuing change toward a prevailing, non-smoking sentiment in society.

We urge opponents to embrace that sentiment and work to capitalize it.

In the larger scheme, we encourage smokers to view this change as an opportunity to reconsider a habit that requires them to pay to compromise their own health.