Clean Air Laws

  • Since the 1970s, battles over the passage of clean indoor air legislation have been waged in state legislatures and city councils. In 2004, Alabama became the 50th state to pass a measure restricting smoking in public places.

Punch, page 218
December 1, 1855

George Fisher
Arkansas Gazette
October 3, 1984

Tony Auth
The Philadelphia Inquirer
January 2, 1998

“One hundred years from now people will look back and ask, ‘What were they thinking?’”

~ Tony Auth

Walt Handelsman
Newsday
2003

“I may not be that keen on the idea of the government regulating smoking, but I sure like going out to a nice restaurant and not coming home smelling like a cigar.”

~ Walt Handelsman

Comic strip by Jim Berry
Houston Post, page A23
April 26, 1995

“A funny thing happened to me one time. I had created a couple of anti-smoking cartoons, and I got a call from Dr. Luther Terry, the Surgeon General, who asked me whether I’d like to illustrate a book he was working on. He invited me to come down to the University of Pennsylvania. We discussed the project and then went over to the faculty dining room. After we finished lunch, he pulled out a pipe and smoked it! I’d quit smoking around that time because I wanted to be a role model for my two sons. Incidentally, the book deal never went through.”

~ Jim Berry

Sean Delonas
New York Post
2000

“I’m against the government constantly trying to regulate every aspect of our lives, such as smoking in bars and restaurants. However, I’m also against smokers thinking that somehow I should have to put up with the disgusting smoke from that habit if I go out for a meal or a drink.”

~ Sean Delonas

Jim Morin
The Miami Herald
1979

In 1979 Dade County, Florida held the nation’s first local referendum on an anti-smoking ordinance to require separate non-smoking sections in restaurants. To Miami Herald editorial cartoonist Jim Morin, this was a case of misplaced priorities: outdoor environmental pollution posed a far greater risk to health than transient exposure to cigarette smoke.

The tobacco industry spent over $1 million in mass media advertising (a national record for a county referendum) to oppose the measure. Proponents spent $5000. More than 192,000 voters went to the polls. The ordinance was defeated by 820 votes.

“I come from a long line of smokers and drinkers, and, not surprisingly, most of my role models were smokers. Naturally, when I was young, I thought cigarettes would be a big part of my life. Surprisingly, it didn’t turn out that way.

“My entire smoking career spanned only three short weeks in the 6th grade when I tried to smoke one very strong pack of Gauloises I had smuggled out of the corner store in my best friend’s neighborhood of Brussels. We’d hang out at the bumper cars after school and practice puffing like Jean-Paul Belmondo, or like Lucky Luke (who could roll a cigarette with no hands!) or, at least, like my big brothers. As cool as I was, I never inhaled without scorching the back of my throat, and I was never tempted by the allure of demon nicotine again.

“Not until 11th grade, that is, when I first saw Humphrey Bogart light up the silver screen in ‘Casablanca’. About an hour before I learned that ‘the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’ I had resolved to copy Bogey’s style whenever I had my first cigarette as an adult. I even practiced holding a cigarette with three fingers, just like Bogey, but I never did smoke like him.  I never even bought a pack of cigarettes. I’d have to look elsewhere for the perfect affectation to convey my newfound world-weary cynicism. Why? I’d done the math, and the cost to my meager pocketbook—hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year to support my habit—seemed too high a price to pay for the meager benefit to my image.

“Ten years later when there was a bill to ban smoking in New York bars and restaurants, I listened to all the ridiculous arguments about the ineluctable union of cigarettes and liquor, but I could never see the smokers’ point of view. In my mind, however, there was still the ineluctable union of cigarettes and Bogart. And yet, when I tried to picture Rick in his gin joint, hunched over a bottle, with no ashtray in sight, uttering those immortal words, all that came to mind was this cartoon. And that’s when I knew, finally, without a doubt, I would never be a smoker.”

~ R. J. Matson

R. J. Matson
The New York Observer
Circa 1994

Clay Bennett
Christian Science Monitor
No date

Joel Pett
Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Kentucky)
February 6, 2000

Bill Mauldin
Chicago Sun-Times
No date

Ted Rall
May 28, 1998

Arnold Roth
TIME
March 7, 1994

“Smoking is one part of a great symbiotic occurrence. The indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere and we European immigrants involved each other in our mutual pursuits of happiness. They gave us tobacco, we gave them smallpox, and we all lived happily…though not as long as we might have.”

~ Arnold Roth

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