For dsdday, I wrote a letter to the editor.
The contained idea is one I've been mulling over for a while, and I've not been sure what to do with it. I thought about passing it on to a representative, or maybe to Tim Kaine once he's elected governor *fingers crossed*, but today I decided to go with the power of the press.
April 28, 2005
To the Editor:
Non-smoking Virginians seem resigned to the fact that legislation limiting public smoking will never pass in our tobacco-friendly state. However, as the health risks to patrons and staff become increasingly well-documented, this becomes an issue of public health that can not be tabled forever.
We might find a solution in compromise. I was inspired by a visit to The Hitching Post, an establishment at Richmond International Airport. When I first walked in, the air was so clear I didn't realize they allowed smoking. In such a small location, even one cigarette is usually noticeable - if not overwhelming – and so I was surprised to see several people with lit cigarettes. It made more sense when I read a posted article about the high-tech ventilation system, which pumped in filtered air as it drew out the contaminated.
Perhaps the commonwealth could license establishments to allow smoking, as we currently license them to serve alcohol. The requirement? To establish and maintain one of these ventilation systems. Businesses that felt the cost of implementation too high would simply not have license to allow lit cigarettes on premises.
This compromise would be ideal for both smokers and non-smokers, and allow the commonwealth to raise public health standards without unduly infringing upon business rights.
Signed, me. I haven't sent it off yet, so I'm open to any editing suggestions.