Thank You for (Not) Smoking

Pennsylvania’s smoking ban goes into effect today and has created a cloud of controversy statewide, with a less than enthusiastic response from the smoking public. The Department of Health has already received about 700 requests for exemption. Health Secretary Dr. Calvin Johnson was amazed at the flood applications: “I have no idea as to how many we should expect. I quite honestly think 700 is too many and I hope we don’t get anymore.”

Some are not bothering to file an exemption. One local restaurant owner quipped, “I’m not going to adhere to it. After 29 years of smoking in my bar, I’m not going to deny myself and my customers an opportunity to light up a cigarette at the bar.”

Businesses and patrons may be fined anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for failing to observe the new regulation. The law, which depends on tattletales for enforcement, applies to all public establishments, with some exemptions for restaurants, hotels, and bars.