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Ban still has some smoking in the Valley

SUNBURY — The statewide smoking ban will mark its one-year anniversary on Friday, but it still gets people fired up, more so perhaps than a restaurant owner laying eyes on a lighted cherry in the no-smoking section.

“If you don’t want to smoke, don’t,” said Bill Hudson, of Sunbury. “If you don’t like smoking in bars and restaurants, then stay out. The government shouldn’t tell people what to do. It’s infringing on people’s rights.”

Hudson is the owner of Pop Snyder’s Lunch, 248 Market St. His no-smoking sign reads: “The (Communist) State of Pennsylvania has dictated to me that my restaurant be a no-smoking establishment. Freedom???”

“I can’t go into a stadium and light up a cigarette,” Hudson said, “but the guy in front of me can drink a beer and act obnoxious.”

The ban, which is part of the Clean Indoor Air Act, became law last year on Sept. 11 and has grown into a sort of love-hate relationship for restaurant and bar owners.

On the flip side of the argument, people who don’t smoke love the idea of having a smoke-free establishment to patronize. The ban makes cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking illegal in restaurants, office buildings, schools, sports arenas, theaters and bus and train stations.

“If it’s a crowded room with people, it helps,” said Doris Vasbinder, of Sunbury. “If there are kids, people should go outside.”

Others believe it should be up to the establishment whether smoking is allowed on the property and around customers.

“These are my rights and my body,” said Pop’s customer Ronald Rodhermel. “There are sections that are nonsmoking, and if you don’t like people smoking around you, then don’t come into the restaurant.”

He said he thinks the smoking ban could lead to the state government regulating other areas as well.

“What are they going to start doing, telling a 400-pound person to stop eating cookies?” he asked. “Anyone who works at a grill all day is inhaling tons of stuff, should they ban people from working?”

With some feeling their rights are being violated and the danger of this restriction snowballing into something else, opponents of the ban are quick to point out that there are other dangers besides lighting a cigarette in a bar.

“What about the alcoholic that drives down the street?” Rodhermel asked. “Look at booze and what it does to your liver. I never heard of anyone smoking a cigarette and going home and beating their kids.”

A bartender at Danley’s Hotel, also in Sunbury, said, “It took a lot of guts to pass the law on 9/11 and talk to us about people’s freedoms.”

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Source: The Daily Item

Ban still has some smoking in the Valley