Re "Keep the Lifestyle Cops Out of Bars," Commentary, Sept. 10: I found M. Lester O'Shea's column a conglomeration of mostly self-serving rationalizations. He can't separate what is "irritating" from what is an "assault." How would O'Shea like it if I were to go up to him in a bar and stomp on his toes? In bars, stomping on toes is illegal because it is an "assault" on another person, yet smoking isn't. Why shouldn't there be laws against O'Shea blowing his smoke in people's faces?
Toe-stomping may damage your feet over time, but secondhand smoke may kill you. Both "assaults" are irritating, only smoking is irritating and dangerous. It needs to be against the law, like any other "assault."
It does seem pretty silly to attempt to prohibit smoking in a place filled with paying patrons who want to smoke. The problem I've always had, however, is being forced to breathe extremely unpleasant-smelling fumes outside such establishments. There are basically three sources: cigarettes, smoking cars and leaf blowers.
I can be peacefully reading a book in my own apartment living room when all of a sudden I have to close my windows and spray air freshener because someone several doors down decides to smoke. The same goes for leaf blowers, which emit noxious-smelling fumes into my room on my day off. And I have no problem with invisible, odorless car fumes that will eventually "kill us all," just the visible ones that make me nauseous on contact.
I wish that leaf blowers and smoking vehicles were banned, and that smoking was limited to private, closed residences and bars.