MARCH 15, 2006 -- Living in one of the key tobacco-growing states, I was prepared for a lot of response to last week's Consider This. In fact, it was the second-highest number of responses we've received since we started these commentaries last September.
What surprised us was that 80% of the responses were in favor of a smoking ban in public places like restaurants. One viewer wrote, "Being a Southerner 'the way we did it up north' usually turns me off to what follows, but in the case of a ban on smoking, New York has it right. There is no smoking in any public building in the entire state."
"We are a family that owns a restaurant in Southport and we are very much in favor of a ban on smoking in restaurants," wrote another. "Our concern is not only for our customers, but for our employees."
In opposition, one viewer wrote, "I always try to be considerate of other people when I smoke, and so do most of the people I know. I do not look to your channel to tell me when and how!"
A possible ban on smoking in restaurants, or all public buildings, is an issue that's not likely to get resolved any time soon. Still we feel it's our role to promote discussion on topics that affect people's lives throughout our viewing area.