It’s getting tougher all the time for smokers to travel. Even cruise ships and casinos, among the last refuges of the smoker, are getting more restrictive.
I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t feel at least a little bit sorry for smokers. I was one for years. I smoked in restaurants, on airplanes, on trains, in all manner of public places where it used to be permitted. But by the time I quit 10 years ago, restrictions on smoking were really starting to close in.
And it seems as if lately there’s another push against it:
- As of June 1, smoking is banned in all Disney World hotels, including on balconies and patios.
- Last September the Marriott hotel chain banned smoking in all its U.S. and Canadian properties, following the lead of the Westin chain.
- Smoking has been cut back hard in Atlantic City’s casinos and there is a move afoot to ban it entirely.
- Two small, upscale cruise lines – Azamara and Oceania – have banned smoking through most of their ships, including cabins and balconies. Larger cruise lines are still fairly friendly to smokers but have grown at least a bit more restrictive lately.
- Last December, Hawaii enacted one of the nation’s strictest no-smoking laws.
- Nations around the world are passing stricter laws against smoking. England is the latest.
As a non-smoker, I have to support this trend. Smokers can no longer deny that second-hand smoke harms the health of those around them. Restrictions that protect the lungs of non-smokers are fair and reasonable, and smokers must respect them.
As an ex-smoker, I still can’t help feeling sorry for the 21 percent of adult Americans who smoke. I especially resent those non-smokers who harass and lecture law-abiding smokers who confine their habits to legally designated areas.
If you think that smokers are morally weak or that they need to quit to keep health-care costs down, you have to ask yourself whether you want to subject your own own moral weaknesses and unhealthy habits to public scrutiny. Drive too fast? Eat too much?
I’m guessing most of us don’t want to get into that.