The Smoking Ban

The Smoking Ban

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“How does the smoking ban affect my willingness to quit?”

There are currently 30 states that have some level of smoking ban in either bars, restaurants, and workplaces. 22 of those states have banned smoking from any workplace. The foreseeable trend is that eventually all 50 states will have at least some level of smoking ban, and most are predicting that smoking will be illegal in all working environments nationwide.

What makes this such a hot topic is that the government is taking away some of our rights in order to protect us. The eventual nationwide smoking ban will lower the overall amount of smoking, motivate people to quit, and reduce overall exposure to secondhand smoke. These things will eventually have a trickle down effect on the bottom line when it comes to health care as well–billions of dollars saved by those who would have gotten sick from smoking.The controversy comes from the fact that we don’t like being told what to do. Back when I was actively using drugs and alcohol, I resisted any time that someone tried to help me with my problem. When anyone tried to convince me to quit drinking, it felt like a threat to my personal well being, even though that person was genuinely trying to help me. This was a fear-based response on my part. I resisted the idea of sobriety like a stubborn child, insisting in my mind that I was an adult who could choose to do whatever I wanted to with my own body. I could not see that others were trying to help me. All I could see was that they were trying to manipulate me and take away my drugs and alcohol.Now that the smoking ban is slowly overtaking our nation, many smokers are having a similar, fear-based response. Angry and defensive about their rights being stripped away, they are clinging to their habit and trying to justify it by shaking their fist at the government.

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The smoking ban is an opportunity for smokers who are willing to take a real look at themselves. It is a chance to break through denial. I can look back at my drug and alcohol use and see that others were just trying to help me, just trying to get me clean and sober. The “why” didn’t really matter, because sobriety was the best thing for me–I was just too stubborn to see it at the time. I thought that I knew better than everyone else what was best for me. This is the nature of denial. We put our own best judgment up against the rest of the entire world. Everyone can see the truth…except us.So for the smokers of the world, this is an opportunity. Yes, the government is being pushy and overbearing and you can make all sorts of arguments about how they are taking away your rights. To take that stance, however, is to miss out on a life-saving opportunity.

And as for the non smokers of the world, what can we learn from this? Is the message here to take any orders lying down, never question authority, and to always do what we’re told? Of course not. The key is to make an honest assessment of self when others confront us–without giving into resentment. We can potentially be in denial about any number of things…and it is always those around us who see it first. We must stay open to criticism without being defensive.

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