IN THE MAIL: Many young people dislike smoky barsI have lived here for 20 years, and it is absolutely ridiculous to me that an area of the country with quality schools and well-educated residents apparently has not caught on to the dangers of secondhand smoke.
By: Janna Roughead, Grand Forks
GRAND FORKS — I am writing as not only a college student but also a Grand Forks resident to urge the Grand Forks City Council to support a “smoke-free” Grand Forks.
I have lived here for 20 years, and it is absolutely ridiculous to me that an area of the country with quality schools and well-educated residents apparently has not caught on to the dangers of secondhand smoke.
When contemplating if I want to spend time with friends in the evening and have a drink, I usually opt to stay at home because of the side effects of going to a Grand Forks bar. These include not only sitting in a smoke-filled building and increasing my lung-cancer risk with every passing minute but also leaving with dry, itchy eyes, sore throat and smelly jacket, clothing and hair.
Why is it that the minority of the population (smokers) gets to decide what kind of harmful toxins everyone else has to inhale in order to go out and have a drink? Why can’t the smokers go outside to have a cigarette instead of subjecting everyone else to their bad habit?
The fact that Fargo-Moorhead has gone smoke-free and not lost any business is proof that the bars will not close if the smokers are not allowed to smoke indoors. In fact, it might just push more smokers to quit if they have to stand outside in the snow to light up.
Recent statistics have shown that fewer than 5 percent of UND students smoke. So just who is keeping Grand Forks from going smoke-free?
In my opinion, the bars actually may gain more business by going smoke-free. The smokers will keep going out, and more people will decide to go to bars because the bars are clean and safe. That includes myself and others such as pregnant women, people with allergies and anyone else who fears getting lung cancer from sitting in a bar.
When deciding where I would like to live and raise a family in my near future, I will look for a progressive community that creates laws with the good of the many in mind. Make Grand Forks a place where I would like to stay and raise a family.
Roughead is a graduate student at UND.