Some lively responses to the smoking ban post from Nick and Alex. Thanks for the input, even if it is contrary to my position. I suggest everyone read the comments, as they're good representations of the pro-smoking viewpoint from both a smoker and a (usually) non-smoker. I must say that Nick's rhapsodic appeals don't hit home for me. Two posts ago:
[NYC is about] sheisters, grifters, 'if a guy gives you a ration of crap, flick a cigarette in his eye and kick him in the knee', a city that was once owned by a one-legged guy from Amsterdam, a town where you actually get a buy-back if you drink a lot, where there are transvestites, where Limehouse Chappie opened up the first 'big store' in the 30's, the only place in the world that embodies 100% class and sleaze at the same time.
Other than the flicked cigarette part, I fail to see the connection between any of the above and smoking, but that's more likely than not because I'm not a smoker and have little emotional chemical to the chemical or the act. Smoking fails to resonate with any of the imagery he puts forth. Nick writes that "The cigarette is an INTEGRAL part of a style of living." Does that mean that as a non-smoker I will never have that same style of living? Being as I like the images he evokes, I hope not.
One other thing: "But it's a habit, and smart people will soon quit." No they won't. This is something I feel very strongly about. My father, a very smart man, smoked for 30+ years until prostate cancer gave him a wake-up call. My mother, a very smart lady, smokes even today, despite the fact that her brother -- another highly intelligent individual -- passed away of lung cancer after 20+ years of lighting up regularly. Nicotine is the most addictive drug known to mankind. More addictive than cocaine or heroin. The longer you use it and the earlier you started, the less likely you are to quit. Smoking is not a habbit, like picking your nose. It's an addiction. That's a fact, and it has fuck all to do with how smart you are.