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Let Smokers in from the Cold—or Heat

Office buildings should allow smoking indoors in designated lounges. Pro or con?

Pro: Live and Let Live

Antismoking advocates have a goal of keeping their personal bubble "smoke-free," with the underlying intention of putting a stake in the heart of Big Tobacco. How courageous of them. They might as well tackle fast food while they’re at it. Eating a double-cheeseburger isn’t going to give off secondhand trans fats, but you feel they should try regardless.

Instead of completely pulverizing the tobacco mother ship, why not section off a "do-fly zone" in office buildings to both appease antismokers and allow smokers who need a cigarette fix to smoke in peace?

Employees who smoke are just as inclined to need a break during the day as nonsmokers. Nonsmokers will either discreetly surf the Internet or take a stroll down the hallway to quell their corporate agitation. Smokers would rather light a cigarette. If a nicotine stick can get them through the day, so be it. They know what they’re doing to their health.

The U.S. Surgeon General tells us that if all workplaces in America were smoke-free, there would be fewer heart attack caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, which would save the U.S. $49 million in direct medical costs.

But it’s hard to believe that eliminating smoking at the office would significantly decrease the amount of secondhand smoke, thus lowering the number of heart attacks. That’s too long a “what-if” chain to take seriously.

If smokers are in their own zone, why bother them? Again, it’s their personal choice to smoke, and they absolutely know what they’re doing to themselves. If it’s any consolation to antismokers, smokers in these lounges would look like animals behind a cage. The ones you see at the zoo. Make faces at them if you really have a problem; just don’t expect a warm reception.

Con: Prevent a Public Health Hazard

Let me start by stating that although I’m a nonsmoker, I have smoked an occasional cigarette in my day, and have nothing against lighting up in general.

Yes, smoking kills, yada yada—we all know the drill. My father has smoked since he was young, and the one thing my mother ever says about it is: "If you’re going to do it, do it outside." Why? Because she doesn’t want her house, or her lungs, polluted with the smoke from his cigarettes.

Employees in the workplace have the same right to clean, carcinogen-free air. Even designating a special "smokers’ lounge" in the workplace doesn’t protect employees in surrounding areas from cigarette smoke getting into their lungs and onto their clothes and belongings. Smoke can easily escape from even the most well-ventilated room into the surrounding office space, causing stress, not to mention a potential health risk, to other employees.

The Surgeon General and the Health & Human Services Dept. have concluded that "there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke." Additionally, they have noted that even separating smokers and nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, which counts as one of the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S.

Besides, making a special smoker’s lounge safe for employees who don’t smoke and who don’t wish to be surrounded by the smell makes for a costly, arduous task for employers.

By enforcing a smoke-free policy, employers can enjoy lower maintenance costs (they’ll save money and time if they don’t have to worry about the upkeep of carpets, curtains, furniture, and paint in a smokers’ lounge) and lower insurance premiums, as companies won’t have to worry about the additional fire and medical insurance, liability issues, and workers’ compensation associated with a workplace that isn’t smoke-free.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek,, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments


Let me tell you something. Asking smokers to smoke outside doesn't take it far enough. A few years ago I was visiting a friend in the hospital. Smokers were asked to stand outside, 25 feet away from the entrance to smoke. Fair enough. But guess who had to inhale that crap walking into the building? Me. And everyone else. Make them go 100-plus feet from the building, far, far away from it. Better yet, stop smoking. It's bad for you,


They can stay indoors while smoking, but they have to pay for additional ventilation and damage to others.

Lon Evans

Mr. Lawyue,
Spoken like a jittery junkie.


Ventilation systems don’t work. They remove the smoke that you see, but they don’t remove the toxins from the air. The smokers must step outside to protect the health of every person inside. And you can’t pay for "damage to others." What is the price of giving someone else cancer?


I think all smokers should be fired, or at least denied health insurance from their employers. That might just help keep health care a little more affordable for the rest of us.

Calvin Deelah

I have never smoked. Everyone in my family and my friends smoked when I was growing up. I agree with smoking 100 feet away, if at all. My kids and I will joke while walking into a building where smokers are inhaling outside. I once said, “Kids hold your breath” in a joking manner. Now whenever we enter a building with smokers, my kids will pipe out, “All right, everyone hold your breath.” Kids are great. This is only one of many smoking issues. What is the deal with smokers throwing their “biodegradable” (whatever) butts out the window and hitting my car? Smokers have given their unspoken opinion that they don’t care if they litter by throwing their butts anywhere and everywhere.


If I were to spray a mist of dangerous chemicals in the air, I could be arrested for assault. What's the difference?


Brian, please excuse me for dropping the truth on you so hard, but this is important to know. We live in a free country, where people live the way they want to live. We still have yet to end the war on drugs, but everything in its time. What matters is that we as Americans strive to retain as much freedom as we possibly can. Personally, I think it’s up to each organization what they want to do with their building. If they set rules saying that there is absolutely no smoking on the business grounds, so be it. It’s their property so it’s their choice. Likewise, it is the choice of each person whether they want to smoke or not, and keep in mind that some of these people may be choosing to smoke to stay off of far worse drugs or to calm nervous energy. So don’t think less of people who exercise their right as Americans to live the way they want to live. Bottom line, smokers have heard the arguments against smoking. Yes it’s bad and they know it, but they’ve weighed the pros and cons themselves, and it’s their right. And before you start talking about how it’s your right to breathe smoke-free air and that it’s not the smokers’ right to pollute other people’s air, just consider this.

Every day, there is a lone paper factory (that’s one factory) in Turkeypoint, Miami, that releases enough smoke to fill five football fields worth of smoke every day (to the tune of 3 pounds of pressurized smoke psi). That’s one out of 30,000-plus paper factories in the U.S.

Now contrast that with the amount of heavily dissipated smoke that even heavy smokers exhale every day into the 4 to 5 feet of air they affect at any one time. And given that roughly 18% of the population considers themselves smokers, I think it’s safe to assume that the paper factories are doing far worse damage to our air than Joe Schmoe from accounting.


"Live and let live"? That would be not smoking in the first place. With everything “they” know they are doing to themselves, how could they justify hurting every person they come into contact with? Stay outside.

J. Burlingame

A) Secondhand trans fat doesn’t exist. I don’t die by watching a tubby gorge himself on a Big Mac, so I don’t care.

B) Smokers increase the cost of health insurance.

C) Just because smokers smoke, doesn’t mean they also don’t surf the internet. They are less productive in general.

D) They come back from a smoke break and reek, then sit next to me in a meeting at which point my eyes water and my nose runs.

Robert Laughing

Smokers are free to die of countless diseases brought about by smoking. Why would you encourage that behavior? The stench, the costs, the fire dangers, which are shared by all of us, nonsmokers and quitters alike. I quit 24 years ago, but still remember the various "pleasures" of smoking.


I’d love to smoke at the workplace. I don’t think it will ever return to being allowed. And with the cost of gas approaching $5, it’s making cigarettes seem less pricey. Hope you nonsmokers enjoy your lives “smoke-free” no matter how short it ends up being.

Paul R.

Why is this even a debate? Because of smoking’s popularity? Lots of people do it? Cultural ubiquity? There are lots of alcoholics, too (it’s a disease, they say). Why not lose millions of hours of productivity to beer breaks? Maybe heroin breaks? I hear those junkies get a little edgy when the glow starts to fade. If I take up chewing tobacco (smoking is just a method of nicotine intake), should I demand an area where I can spit on the floor? Smoking is the stupidest thing that humans have ever voluntarily done en masse.


Let me start by stating, I am a smoker.

Now that said, going outside is no big deal. It’s just another part of the workday. It’s what you do when you are addicted to nicotine and want or need to work. Where I work, if it is 102 degrees, it is 102 degrees for everyone. If it is 15 degrees, it is 15 degrees for everyone. It is just another part of the workday that has to be dealt with. I love my job and am very good at it, but there are parts of it that you just have to accept in order to do the work. Therefore, it is no big deal.

What is not part of the workday is dealing with all the people who have never been addicted to anything, never struggled with the addiction, never tried to stop the addiction and couldn’t seem to get past it. Don't feel sorry for me. If it bothers you outside, just walk farther around. The extra few steps can be just part of your workday you have to deal with.


If smokers want to smoke indoors, then they can pay for the installation and maintenance of the smoking rooms. And the rooms had better not leak smoke into any other part of the building and pollute everyone else's air. Smoking outside is cheaper and easier.


Second-hand smoke is dangerous, true. But let's take it in perspective. We're exposed to one of the most carcinogenic things in the universe every time we step outside. UV light. And there's nothing we can do about it. We're also exposed to pollution from our toxic waste and mercury in our fish.

In other words, we're exposed to a lot of dangerous toxins, and second-hand smoke is just one of them. However, it is one to which we can minimize our exposure by asking smokers to kindly step outside rather than allow noxious fumes to waft around our offices. Special smokers' rooms won't do much good to reduce second-hand smoke according to the American Cancer Society.

So if you smoke, please be so nice as to do it outside where it can at least be balanced with all the other toxins and carcinogens around us.


People are free to do as they wish, as long as: A.) It doesn't invade another person's freedom. B.) It doesn't harm others.

Second-hand smoke harms others. There is no debate on the subject. It's proven it will kill you. Take Chris Reeves' wife as an example. Never smoked. Got lung cancer from working in smoke-filled nightclubs.

If you want to die a slow death, as a smoker that is your freedom. But you're not going to impose that on me and expect me not to speak up about it. Keep dreaming.


Brian, where did you find this information that Dana Reeves got lung cancer from smoke-filled nightclubs? It sounds believable, but it is not true. It was a genetic mutation. In addition to genetic mutations, asbestos or other fine airborne particles can cause lung cancer. It's not always smoking.


This anti-smoking crap has got to stop. It's ridiculous. How 'bout those that yap on their cell phones all day long on personal business? It hurts my ears.

So I don't smoke indoors, but in some places you can't even smoke on the grounds, and that's stupid.

If a smoke gives a little relaxation to a worker, I think that's good. I really think that if someone wants to take a smoke break, they should be able to.

And denial of health coverage is also stupid. There are many habits other than smoking that are far more dangerous. I, for one, am sick of looking at morbidly overweight people, but I don't tell them that fried chicken and a double whopper should be illegal or forbidden.

Aditya Pandit

"We live in a free country, where people live the way they want to live."

No, sir. If that would be the case, heroin and crack would be legal, too, and there would be no traffic rules. Free comes with responsibilities. We make unhealthy, dangerous habits illegal, and we have rules that allow us to live a healthy and safe life. The smoking industry has enough clout and lobbying power to keep their products legal. I am waiting for the day it is made illegal.

P.S. I am an ex-smoker who used to enjoy smoking, but drug addicts enjoy drugs, too, I have heard.


I would allow it in a building if there was a way to put a bag around that person's head so that they don't affect anyone else. People who don't smoke can smell it very easily. I've been in the same building with smokers, and when they come back in from their "smoke break," I can smell them from inside my office when they walk by my door. I find that offensive. I don't get the whole smoke break concept either. Should I just stop working every hour or so and take a 5-10 minute rest at my desk and do nothing? What a time waste. Let's get something done here.


I'm a former smoker who used to escape my corporate desk once an hour (yup, 15 minutes x 8 = 2 hours a day) to "power smoke." That's a lot of time I was getting paid for when I wasn't working. That was 12 years ago. Now I can't bear the after-smell of someone who has just come in from smoking. The stench makes my nose hurt--I'm now that sensitive to it. I don't think employers should have to provide a space (definitely not indoors, or outdoors, for that matter) so their employees can do a drug--which is what nicotine is. Why not marijuana, then, if that's made legal? The health risks and damage are well-documented by this time. Rights have nothing to do with this issue. We all have them, but that doesn't mean we get to harm others with our "rights."


Smokers litter the streets, parks, trails, etc., with their butts. Smokers pollute the air with cigarette poisons. Smokers increase health care costs. Smokers are generally a drain on society. Let them stand in the cold, rain, and snow--the price they pay for a stupid, insane, worthless, costly habit that damages all of us even when they are outside.


I am absolutely shocked at the lack of civility in this "debate." Name calling and making attacks on people's lifestyles is completely useless. The effect of this type of behavior is far more damaging to our society than smoking.


Oh, by all means. And then we should insist that there are areas set aside for those who use heroin or meth. And let's not forget those who prefer a more direct means of personal damage, such as self-mutilation. The last thing we want to do is to try and deprive those who insist on destroying themselves of a space where they can do it.

Pandit Aditya

I just wanted to make a point that just because someone is on a "smoke break," that doesn't mean they aren't "working." Some people get paid by doing work that isn't physical and some of this work takes place in their brain. If you have a job where the productivity is greatly reduced due to this break, you probably aren't contributing much to society. Too bad we can't tax and hate on those overweight fatties like we can tax and hate on smokers.


Empirical evidence verifies that second-hand smoke kills. There are more than 90 cancer-causing agents in your average blend. It's hard to point to the damage done to any specific individual because of genetic susceptibility. I agree with most of the sane people above--this debate is very stupid. Furthermore, I expect more from BusinessWeek.


One of life's ironies is that smokers don't actually smoke.

Instead they like to keep the butts safely by their sides at arm's length, and downwind. So it's the nonsmokers behind them who do most of the smoking.

Also, what is it with smokers and doorways? Why the attraction?


I am discombobulated as I read this so-called "debate" on smoking and the effects therein. There have been good points made in these arguments for both sides. Although I smoke the very occasional cigarette, I am the atypical smoker as I never have and never will get addicted. I do think that every person who has berated smokers for smoking for killing the people around them with second-hand smoke, there are far more serious issues in today’s society like, oh I don't know, the hole in the environment that is killing thousands the exact same way. Shame on you, hole. Could you go about 100 feet away from me so I don't die from your radiation? Alcoholism. Alcoholism kills more people every day whether it's drinking it or "second-hand" alcoholism in car accidents. The war in Iraq, the sweat-shops in our own country, energy crisis--the list goes on and on for causes that need attention in this country that come before smoking. Get real, get a life, and get a hobby.


Talk about being discriminated against. Not black, not white, not a Jew or a Muslim. Just a person of free will who is treated differently. I must stand in the rain and snow or even excessive heat to enjoy my right of free will. I want to harm no one, but it sure would be nice if there were a designated indoor area to do so.


I'm sympathetic to tobacco junkies, but I'm allergic to tobacco. I think that there should be vending machines in every workplace that dispense nicotine patches and gum. That way, they won't have to freeze their butts off huddled in doorways for warmth. By the way, another benefit from smoking is the gossip. The smoking area 25 feet away from the doorway is the new water cooler.

R Nair

I'm an ex-smoker, and I think that the anti-smoking lobby is taking it too far. I do not like smokers around me anymore because of the fumes, but come on. There are a lot more toxic things around there.

As for the taxpayers' money that goes into treating smokers, you must remember that there are a lot of risk-taking behaviors that are allowed in our society. Why not take away anything with trans/saturated fat? Why should I pay for people who don't exercise, and eat junk? Should I pay for people who don't eat or cannot afford organic foods and ingest more pesticides? I mean I've worked in a couple of hospitals where they sell the most unhealthy food and have banned smoking all together on their grounds. Are these scientific approaches? Is there an evaluation of the risks that are posed by easy availability of junk food vs. someone smoking 100 meters away?

A balanced society would take steps to ensure everyone's rights. I think that some places are taking this way too far. How can you justify eating at a Hardy's or McDonald's, driving there in something that gives 15 mpg, and sneering at smokers? Welcome to irrational risk-assessment and intolerance.


After having no fewer than four family members die due to smoking-related illnesses, I would like to make the seemingly contradictory endorsement of allowing smokers to have their own area indoors. But, of course, this would be on the condition that the area be outfitted with smoking cessation literature and graphic displays of what smoking does to you. If it helps one or two people quit now and again, then it was worth it.


No way.


Not in direct response to the original question, but as far as the health care cost associated with smoking and the supposed burden it puts on society: That argument is very weak. What will it cost if everyone lives till their eighties or nineties? Lots of unproductive very expensive human beings. Very hard decisions will have to be made. Maybe smoking and other "unhealthy" lifestyle habits have a beneficial economic result.

Paul Bencze

I'm an ex-smoker (32 years now), and I hate smoking. And yes it is bad for your health. But as far as I'm concerned, smokers have rights too. We are supposed to have freedom to do and say what we feel. If you people want to take all of our rights away, then go to a Communist country. There they tell you what you can do or say. The more you tell people what they can do or say, then the more this country is going to look like a Communist country. If you don't like the smoke, then avoid it as best you can. I, for one, hate Communism, and we should all have the right to choose what we want to do. I vote for freedom and free choice.

Monique G

No smoking in buildings. If we were to allow it, then we're going back on our promise to prevent harm to others by second-hand smoke. I don't care how good the ventilation is.

I don't even want them 6 meters from any vent, door, or the like. I don't want to inhale that crap in any situation. It's bad enough I have to inhale pollution on a daily basis. Besides, have you seen the amount of pollution emitted by a smoker with each breath? In a certain light, you can see it all--shouldn't they pay a pollution tax, too? Perhaps that's over the top, perhaps not.

Monique G

To Purple:
Let's see, if you harm someone --even in a "free" society. (as you mentioned, "We live in a free country, where people live the way they want to live")--there are consequences. The fact that you harm someone else by your actions is reason enough to negate/ignore such a defense entirely.

You seem to forget the nasty chemicals that you inhale and exhale for others around you to breathe.

You seem to not know the consequences of harming another by your (a smoker's) actions. Perhaps learn more about the law and find out just what situation you are putting other people in before you or others decide to exhale cigarette or cigar smoke in public.

Ms Rotten

You anti-smokers are the funniest people on the planet. "Ventilation systems don’t work. They remove the smoke that you see, but they don’t remove the toxins from the air." Ventilation systems do work--if the system is cleaned and maintained.

If you truly feel that way about "toxins" in the air you breathe, why aren't you all calling for the removal of all motor vehicles and aircraft from our society? Second-hand smoke isn't going to do anything to you; the emissions from motor vehicles and airplanes are what's going to kill you. When will you people be demanding the removal of all motor vehicles and aircraft? Anybody?


The right to smoke stops at the co-worker's lungs, so keep the smokers out of the workplace. But the idea of putting nicotine patches and gum in office vending machines is a very good one, because it might help some smokers to quit. Selling healthy, high-fiber snacks and bottled water could also help fight the weight gain associated with quitting.


Why don't we give the drug and alcohol users their own place, too? I smoked since I was 10. When I was growing up in Germany, cigarette machines were on just about every street corner--$0.50 a pack in 1980. My friends did it, and I went along. Now I'm 39, and I have been smoke-free for 4 years. I feel so much better. It's still hard to watch someone smoke, and when I walk into our building those poor dorks killing themselves and their smoke create a cloud you have to walk through. It's horrible, and they can't smell themselves anymore because of saturation. When I get on an elevator and someone was smoking, it lingers for upward of 15 minutes. If that smell molecule is in the air that long, what other molecule is hovering around? It's all science, and our bodies were never meant to use it for joy. Shut down all the cigarette manufacturers.


No--end of discussion


The anti-smoking craze is getting stupid.

If in a thousand years someone wonders how America fell, there will be no mistake: it was because America's government collapsed under the weight of its responsibilities. Its subjects were too stupid to walk out of a bar filled with smoke, so they made government rectify the problem. They were too forgetful to use suggested safety precautions, and because they were too apathetic to dispose of their own money as a reminder when they forgot to use them, they made government dispose of it for everyone. They were easily influenced by the power of suggestion, so they made government outlaw things they saw advertised to keep from buying them. And finally, someone noticed that they didn't know how, when, or where elections were held because government had exiled the former rappers who used to explain it to them; therefore, elections were discontinued in the name of voting equality.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least it'll be smoke-free.


Nothing good comes from smoking. Cigarettes stink, make the smokers smell, are life-threatening, money wasters, teeth stainers, infect gums, accentuate smile lines on the face, etc.

The list goes on and on. Tell me, if you can, what good comes from smoking?

Smokers should remain outside of public buildings, if they must smoke. I didn't say, 'Let's crucify them.' Just put them outside and away from non-smokers.

Ernest Paviour

If we are so concerned about air quality, why have we not focused on power plant and auto emissions that spew deadly toxins into the air 24/7, which have made cancer the number one killer of Americans?


This September will be three years without a smoke (25-year habit, used Commit lozenges). I say stop whining and quit smoking. It's disgusting, and I don't feel sorry for you at all.

An anal retentive former smoker

How do we really know

It's amazing how Americans believe everything they read about health issues in the United States--so and so company reports that they've done research and smoking is bad for you. People need to use their brains, and where are the critical thinker's in todays society? Research is always swayed one way or another depending on how "the money makers" want the end result to be. For what purpose? Profit.

If smoking really kills, why do some people who smoke live to be over 100 years old? Anybody? Smoking is probably harmful, but so is everything else in one way or another.

And since we are on the subject of office buildings, don't even get me started on perfumes and colognes that people marinate in before coming to work that last all day.


I'd probably never have quit if they hadn't forbidden smoking on the "campus" where I worked. Arguably, I might still be employed there had all that not occurred.


Free will, so long as others' rights are not affected. Plus, if they need the fix, I'm sure they'll tolerate cold, heat, or walking to wherever they can get it.


Smoking should be prohibited in offices or designated lounges. It affects others as well because some nonsmokers, in spite of not smoking, will be prone to smoking diseases. We have no right to spoil others' health. If we want, let's spoil our health but not others'.


Kick them out and keep them out.

Jon Towne

If the Creator (or evolutionary process) intended us to inhale gases with toxic chemicals, our atmosphere would be composed of such. If humans are not evolved neurologically, they will do inane things like create a gas they can inhale so as to shorten their existence.


I've always believed that smoking should take place outside. When you come in, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, and carry a small bottle of Fabreze to spray on your clothes so that you do not offend anyone. I understand that it stinks, and as a smoker, I often find it offensive. But people never know that I smoke and are surprised when they find out that I do. Really as a smoker you do not have to have one cigarette at work. Have it before you go to work and when you leave work (self-control.) That way everyone is happy.


I am a smoker, and I think it's just common courtesy. Smoke is not only bad, but it also makes other people feel uncomfortable, so the right thing to do is to go outside, even if it means you freeze your ass of. One other thing, why all the hate? It's incredible what people say about me when they don't even know me.


Why invest precious capital dollars in enabling a decidedly society 1.0 habit? This is money that would be better spent on gym memberships.


With a few rare exceptions, this is an incredibly self-righteous, self-important, self-absorbed "discussion."

Personally, I don't think employers should provide smoking lounges. It's not an employer's responsibility to cater to an employee's bad habits. So fine, outside. No big deal.

But this "Smokers are evil! String them up! It's for their own good!" is a lot of nonsense. Really, people. Get over yourselves.

Last I checked, smoking was still legal. Until it isn't, please stop playing bad cop. It's embarrassing for everyone.


Why don't humans just go away? Then the other species could enjoy mother earth. We can't heat and cool our homes? We can't feed our horses grain or let them drink the water. Our children can't play sandlot ball.

What's next? Licensed sex? How many times a year, month, week? With or without protection?

Humans are part of nature. Let nature take its course. Get government out of our lives and back to doing what the citizens want, not what some Congressperson or judge thinks we need.

Look what Congress did for banking, lending money to non-credit-worthy persons under some "fairness" philosophy is just stupid.


Since this is a BusinessWeek forum, let’s introduce some government economic policy into this argument. Social Security coffers will be empty fairly soon, and the government will not be able to pay for the entitlements that were promised. One way to lessen its burden is to kill off the recipients; Keep cancer sticks accessible and decrease access to affordable health care. This may sound cruel, but it’s not my joke; it came from people I know in the HMO industry. Is it really a joke?


I do not smoke, but I agree with "cemccon" that smokers should be fired to reduce health costs. We should also fire fat people. They drain even more money from the health care system, they are unpleasant to look at, and they take up more room in the office. While we are discriminating or reducing costs, we should also can people who have had histories of cancer in their family or heart disease.

Richard T

Smokers are basically slobs. I am not a hateful person, but I do hate their filters on the beach. I think attractive women who smoke become less attractive, and I hate walking the gauntlet going into a building.

It bugs me to see women (mostly) in scrubs behind hospitals and doctors' offices puffing away.


I smoke and have for 50 years. I don't mind going outside if the business will allow sufficient time for me to wait for the elevator, go down the elevator, exit the building, walk to the designated air-fouling space, and light up where I am usually subjected to the emissions from combustion engines and the wonderful diesels. I realize that you nonsmokers will point out that cars and trucks are not allowed in buildings also, so don't bother. I, personally, respect everyone's right to smoke or not smoke, and feel that if business wants to provide a "safe-room" for us smokers, they would probably see an increase in productivity that would outweigh any added costs. And if any of you PCs find this offensive then, tough.


Dear Kevin and Richard T,
I am a happy, fat slob who smokes. Perhaps we also should fire all of the stupid people before they go play in the traffic and run up their health care costs, too. Sure would open up more management slots for us fat slobs.


I'm kinda offended that you are censoring comments that use words that I hear every night on TV. In an environment where freedom is expected, censoring an adult's conversation is as bad or worse than censoring smoking. You should be ashamed. You make me want to cancel (censor) everything BW.


Thanks to all you Goodthinkers, no doubt righteously signing petitions in support of indigenous peoples' rights, who [stomp] on my religion every day.

In our tradition, any time one smokes tobacco it is a prayer to the Creator. Any time, any way. Not just when I'm in regalia at a ceremony. Not when I'm using a special pipe. Any time. In any form.

So much for your much-touted freedom or religion clause.


Everybody wants to hang me. I understand the media manipulates weak minds, but this has turned into hate. It's incredible what people say. I have been smoking for 15 years, and in that period of time I have done a lot of good things and loved a whole lot of people. I still do, so screw you, everyone. By the way, I believe smoking inside is not correct; it's disrespectful to nonsmokers.

P.S. Russ, I think Kevin was being sarcastic.

Jack Butler

I don't smoke. I think it's dangerous. But if I could rule the world, I wouldn't be able to control tobacco. Nor would a world I could rule be a world I would like to live in.

Smokers smoke. Non-smokers don't. It's called liberty.

Out of respect for the rights and well being of smokers, I don't think it would require a technological breakthrough to prevent the smoke inside a building from going where it shouldn't.

Let these people indoors. Live (or die) and let live (or die). Quit imposing your views on everyone else.


Read all of these comments. Actually, I can see both sides of the argument.
1. Health costs, people's rights, etc., on one side.
2. Freedoms, people's rights (both sides), etc., on the other.

Both have some credibility and things to seriously consider. There is one other factor, however. "Tons" of tax monies are being collected from smokers every day by local, state, and I believe also, the federal government. I believe that I heard somewhere that 30% to 40% of a pack of cigarettes is tax. It seems that every time I turn around, our illustrious state of Illinois taxing bodies are raising taxes. How will everyone, smokers and nonsmokers alike, react when their taxes are raised again due to the loss of a lot of revenue? Will you accept 15%, 10%, 8% more in taxes? There will be pain, and there swill be wringing of hands--for sure.


Smoking is an unclean, uncouth, uncivilized habit that suggests those who smoke, given the preponderance of evidence indicating smoking can and will kill you, are mentally unbalanced, suicidal, and in a perpetual state of denial, selfish (apparently there is no concern for those around them or loved ones who have to suffer through the laundry list of smoking related illnesses), weak (evidently don't possess the wherewithal to quit the habit), and a blight on society in general. Perhaps smokers should have to exercise their habit in a hermetically sealed enclosure so as to reap the full benefit of the plethora of chemicals released by the burning weed. In short, people who smoke should not be able to smoke within 100 feet of the building, entrances, parking lots, and walkways that lead to said building.

peter m herford

A stunning level of response. European and Asian Airports (and other structures) have incorporated smoking rooms in their buildings. It is true that even the best ventilation systems do not eliminate all toxins, a potent argument against expansion of the "smoking room" idea. One step further might be protection of the smokers themselves. Second-hand smoke studies have established that exposure to smokers can be harmful. Anyone who has seen a smoking room has seen the heavy concentration of smoke in those rooms. If there have been studies of the effects of these concentrated environments, I have not seen them, but it does not take a great deal of imagination to believe that the immediate effects of smoking are multiplied and concentrated in a "smoking room." Older airplane mechanics can tell you the difference between the air filters they changed in the smoking sections of aircraft years ago and the nonsmoking areas. Brown liquid sludge in the case of the former, and lighter gray air pollutants in the latter. Smoking outdoors is an inconvenience, particularly in bad weather, but it beats an even more toxic environment than the cigarette between the lips.

Richard T

I think your smoke is in your eyes. I said nothing about fat or health. I did say I don't like to go to a beach or other public place and see your used butts, go though clouds of your exhaled fumes at building entrances, and see "health" industry workers in scrubs sneaking a smoke outside their offices (in scrubs).

I could care less about your self-proclaimed fatness. But you should care. From what you say in your post, I must assume your company is not promoting you...wonder why.


Smoking is legal. Until it isn't, human tendencies should be accommodated.


I think this is a basic of freedom. You should have the right to choose for your self whether you want to smoke or not. Having the government banning smoking from public places is acceptable, but raising the prices of cigarettes is a clear message and attempt to make people stop smoking for the well-being of their wallets. The best thing and policy as I see it, is what has been adopted in Spain. Meaning giving the choice to restaurants and bar owners to choose on weather they want their business to be smoking or smoking-free places. The system has proven that smoking restaurants and bars are making better profit with this law, as many people may think.

reggie cetoute

We all know the risk of smoking, but in this free society, we are free to do as we wish. A person should be allowed to smoke just as a person who doesn't has the right not to inhale that smoke. We always attack people and find ways to vilify the choices we make. Every decade something is attacked and seen as horrible--first alcohol, smoking, and now trans fat. We need to get over ourselves. Death is a part of life, and who wants to grow old and decrepit?

Alon Cohen

I have been fighting smokers for years. Still they don't deserve to suffer more than they already are. Letting all smokers smoke in one room is dangerous for them. Keep them out in the fresh air. Make sure they keep a safe distance from the building entrance so they can show us the same compassion we show them. I have never seen a smoking room that was not leaking smoke to the central ventilation system of the building, and if it does not, the smokers will probably suffocate there as well.

I say, keep them out. It's best for all.

Dash Riprock

I smoked cigarettes for eight years. Since I've been tobacco free, I can't stand to be around it. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I would never wish that on my worst enemy. Every smoker I've ever met is totally addicted and wants to stop but can't. By allowing people more access to their addiction, we are helping their addictions. For those of you who have said that people smoke so they won't indulge in other drug addictions, I've had those, too. Nothing was as hard to shake as cigarettes. It's not just the nicotine; it's a habitual addiction as well. I firmly believe people should not have access to smoking in the workplace or any other place. I don't think they should be allowed to exist. There isn't one positive thing that comes from smoking cigarettes. Why are they still being manufactured?


In the stupid news, in Amsterdam it is prohibited to smoke tobacco inside cafes, but it's still legal to smoke marijuana.

Jajajaj crazy world.


Look up "Jeanne Louise Calment," the oldest person to ever live (documented). And a lifelong smoker, by the way. She was not the only one. Most of the oldest living people on Earth were smokers. Many countries with longer life spans than the United States have smokers as the majority. We should try to find out why. It appears that moderate smoking is beneficial to some.


I think that if they want to smoke, then let them. It is their health they are messing up. I started smoking at 14, and I only started because I thought it was cool, but I always had a cold, and I'm now 43 and I stopped 12 years ago. I'm glad I did because the doctor said if I'd carried on, I would have been dead two days before my first grandson was born, and I'm happy he is now 12, and I've got two other grandkids a little girl called Ellie and a boy called Ryan, and the 12 year old is called Josh, and one on the way.

Lea & Erica

I think that people who smoke should have a spot and not just be able to light up anywhere. It's not fair to the people who don't smoke and have to deal with smoke in their lungs. The worst thing is when my clothes and hair smell like smoke from people smoking around me. The only place I think smoking should be allowed in is a bar because people tend to smoke more when they drink, and it's annoying every 10 minutes running out of the bar to smoke. Other than that, smoking should stay in certain areas away from nonsmokers.

Robert P.

First of all let me address this from a previous poster. "We make unhealthy, dangerous habits illegal."

Have you lost your mind? If that were true then we wouldn't be allowed to drive cars, drink alcohol or eat any of the "modern" food grown with crude oil (yes chemical fertilizers and a lot of pesticides are made from the same thing gasoline is made from). Never mind all the junk food.

Now on to my main reason for posting. Number one, if you do the math then you will find that the amount of taxes paid by smokers (before the recent tax increases) more than covers the amount of increased medical bills and the cost of lost work. So, no more talking about the "costs" please. Second, and maybe most important the government doesn't want smokers to quit. Proof you ask? Simple, they use the untold millions (and increasing) to pay for so many things, like Medicaid(and the vast majority of people on it aren't on it for smoking). If smoking was banned where do you think the money would come from exactly? The government simply wants to generate as much negative feeling towards smokers as possible so other, foolish people, don't complain when they increase the taxes. But rest assured if and when the governmental revenue decreases too far from taxing smokers they will do the same "smear" campaign on another group and increase taxes on them. Now that the number of people have increased to the point that health problems caused by obesity is now the number 1 preventable cause of disease how would all you people who are overweight (whether or not obese) like to see a special food tax or payroll tax based on your weight?

As everyone who is not completely stupid knows by now that the air indoors (smokers smoking or not) is more polluted and harmful than outside air. And you should also know that a car driven for just a few hours produces more harmful chemicals than a smoker in a year.

And, (and this is a good one) back even before a practical A/C had been invented and the percentage of smokers was much much higher than today and it was normal and expected that people who smoked and also worked in office buildings always smoked in the office. Now take this situation and consider the proven fact that the percentage of people who suffered from the many so called smokers diseases, was much lower, even though the smokers and the non-smokers who were exposed to second hand smoke were exposed to this second hand smoke for many many hours more per day and in much higher concentration (no filters in the air system and a completely closed building in cool weather).

Yes we know smoking is bad for you, but the question is given the fact that many decades ago when a higher percentage of people smoked and a higher percentage of non smokers were exposed to smoke for a longer period of time for more days in their lifetime why are "smokers diseases" higher now than they were then?

The answer is quite simple. Smoking by itself, while not good for you isn't all that dangerous in and of itself. The true problems come in when you combine all the increases in other air pollutants that we now pump into our atmosphere, water and food combined with the damage done by smoke.
As we have recently found out just how dangerous transfat is to our hearts (indeed causing more damage than even a heavy smoker does to his lungs). also you have to figure in the fact that more and more people are over-weight (leading to increased stress and other problems with the heart). Not to mention we all know how bad it is on our bodies when we are too sedentary (and lets face it, we're the laziest people on the planet now, but this wasn't the case from the early 1960's and before when a higher percentage of people smoked stronger Cigarettes, and more of them, but we had fewer diseases caused by smoking.

Now if I want to do something that causes me a small amount of harm, but that we know from history has a small chance of doing me any serious harm by its self, but has a very high chance of causing me serious harm when combined with other factors such as air pollution caused by everyone. Most of whom are one or more of the following, overweight, drink too much, don't exercise, do drugs, eat food that is horrible to their health, speed, or any number of things that are not good for them.

What right do you non-smokers have to pollute my air with your cars and electricity use? Especially those of you who really waste electricity.

Your answer is likely to be (or should be) that I have no right to tell you that you shouldn't do these things that are dangerous to you and me when I smoke. Good for you for saying it.

Now I ask you. What right do you have to tell me I shouldn't smoke because it is dangerous to me and you?

Don't ever think that car pollution is less dangerous to your health than second hand smoke. Or should I say don't be that stupid?


Very well put. Thank you

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