The Coastal Post - May, 1998

A Story About Stress And Not Smoking

By Gine And Mike Binder

One and a half year back I took a big step in my life. I moved from Denmark to California to marry the person I love. And I really like California, the green hills in the winter and springtime and the brown in summer and autumn. The sea is amazing. The waves and the cliffs are healing for every human being around. But, and there is one BUT, and it is the smoking politic here in California. I am a big smoker: pipe, cigars and cigarettes, and I have absolutely no intentions of stopping it. I am that kind of a person that has never followed pressure from a group. I am too much of an individualist for that.

The stress is, that we cannot go out eating in a restaurant, and I will not mention non-smoking bars. When I am telling people in Europe about the situation here, they really think that I am joking. I have heard Europeans saying: "We are not going to take a vacation in California, because there is no freedom." I really think it's a bad situation for California, but maybe I am wrong, maybe California has enough in itself and does not like or need tourists.

For my personal life, it means that I cannot meet my husband's friends outside our home. And we have isolated ourselves. Shopping in San Francisco, no way, you cannot even take a beer and a cigarette after some stiff shopping hours, and forget about a cigarette with lunch.

We are now in March, two months we have been living with the new law about smoking, and we are not waiting for a paradigm shift. We are out of here to a more friendly state.

My advice to California is: Just go on, forbid everything for customers and workers. What about hairdressers, people working in the chemical industry, painters, joggers in car areas? I could go on.

California is like a big union, every bee worker has to obey instead of giving people the freedom to take responsibility for their own lives. I do not remember anyone that had been asked to vote before the laws were arbitrarily changed. I am sure a reasonable compromise could have been found.

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