They had been talking about it for years. But, finally last week, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill that would ban smoking in most public places, including restaurants and most bars. [Read story.]
It's about time. It would be nice to meet a friend for cocktails downtown and not come home smelling like a dirty, nasty ashtray.
But I was surprised to learn that Mayor John Street hasn't said for sure whether he will sign the bill.
Mayor Street is a health advocate, a vegetarian, and a teetotaler. A few years ago, he launched a huge, successful initiative to inspire Philadelphians to cut back on the cheesesteaks, lose weight, work out, and get fit.
Why then would he not want to take the city's health to the next level by protecting us from second-hand smoke?
Smokers speak out against the bill by telling us that they have a right to smoke. But their right to smoke ends where the next person's airspace begins. Smokers do NOT have the right to force nonsmokers to breathe in their toxic second-hand tar and nicotine.
Cities have laws protecting us from our neightbors' noise and our neighbors' fists. We also need laws protecting us from our neighbors' deadly and disgusting smoke.
Please sign the bill, Mr. Mayor. It's the healthy and responsible thing to do.