Since 1990 there has been a smoking ban on airlines which applies to all domestic flights that was extended to international flights in 2000.

California became the first state to enact a statewide smoking ban in 1995 and while not federal law most states have some form of one.  In 1984 New York became the first state to pass a law which required vehicle occupants to wear seat belts and today only New Hampshire does not have enforceable laws for wearing them.

The banning of smoking and the wearing of seat belts was done with health and safety in mind and while there was some opposition at first before long it was just accepted that this was the way it was.

I mention this and ask the question why does the same not apply when it comes to wearing a face mask in public during this pandemic? To me the comparison with smoking fits when it comes to what has now become a hot topic.

Smokers felt they had rights (and they do) and if they wanted to risk their health by puffing away then it was their right to do so. However the issue became second-hand smoke and the negative impact it has on others especially in the close confines of public places.

I very well remember when I started at WOBM that many in the office smoked and that extended into the main studio where several of the on-air personalities would light them up.  We actually had thick carpeting on the walls and the smoke would live in there for what seemed like forever. It was pretty disgusting and non-smokers were very happy when it was banned from the building.

While smokers still moan on occasion when they have to go outside to do so they have accepted their fate and understand it’s for health reasons.

So I go back to the mask issue and debate.  Why all of a sudden are so many screaming that it’s their right as a citizen to NOT wear one even in public places?  Is it not the same as with smoking in that the point is not your health but those around you? Let’s call it second-hand coronavirus.

Is it not the responsible thing to do and simply follow the law that says you must wear a mask in public especially when you can’t socially distance from others?

Here’s simply the difference between masks, smoking and seat belts.  The mask thing has been made into a political issue which has been spread through social media.  It should not be about politics but simply health.  Of course nothing is simple in 2020!

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