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Smoking Areas

January 04, 1999

Recently, while traveling in the Middle East, I ran across what I consider to be something that has been all but forgotten here in California--civility toward smokers. That is: a fair and reasonable consideration of the rights of both smokers and nonsmokers.

In a hotel restaurant, on the table, were very thoughtful little message cards stating whether the area was for smokers or nonsmokers, along with a brief statement: "The concept and symbol of the 'courtesy of choice' reflect the centuries-old philosophy that acknowledges differences while allowing them to exist together in harmony . . . [and] accommodates the preferences of individuals by offering both smoking and nonsmoking areas in the spirit of conviviality and mutual respect."

Unfortunately, in California, the overzealous, like Rob Reiner and others, work overtime to trample the rights of those who smoke and attempt to reduce them to second-class citizens. It's quite interesting how many of those who espouse "rights" so loudly can so quickly move to dispose of the smoker's rights. It was indeed a pleasure to see that in one place, some basic courtesy is still respected.

LARRY DEBORD

Burbank

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