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I few weeks ago, I weighed in on a St. Paul proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, pointing out that regardless of whether such a ban was good public policy, the city and state had the authority to regulate behavior in public places -- and then half-heartedly endorsed the proposed ban. The hue and cry that post brought rivalled anything I'd written before, and I received some especially fierce (but good-natured) ribbing from the gang at Fraters Libertas. I hadn't realized that they were part of the tobacco cabal, although the Elder does remind me of the Marlboro Man at times, sans horse.
Today, then, even as Atomizer weighs in on the difficulty of being a smoker and a bird lover, the Star Tribune reports on a major victory in their battle to keep the environment friendly to nicotine addicts:
Irwin Kester, a patient committed to the psychiatric unit at Hennepin County Medical Center, has a powerful need to smoke. On Wednesday, a judge agreed to let him. Kester won a legal battle that gives him and other patients the right to smoke in, of all places, a hospital. They can light up only in ventilated rooms.
This small victory for a special set of smokers comes as other area hospitals are adopting property-wide smoking bans.
Yes, indeed -- a local judge has decided that psychiatric wings in hospitals must provide committed patients an area in which to smoke, at least for now while the legal challenges behind smoking bans are sorted out. For the Hennepin County District Court, the guiding philosophy seems to be that it you're crazy enough to keep in a padded room, you may as well smoke 'em if you've got 'em.
This decision, no doubt, will delight the Fraters guys. If you read them or hear them on the air, you know they're certifiable. Now the trick will be to find out how to open bars and restaurants in the HCMC psych ward, or to simply designate all of St. Paul a mental hospital. If you've driven the streets, you'd know that the task sounds more difficult than it is.
Next week, the Hennepin County District Court takes up the rights of arc welders to practice their professions while receiving oxygen-tent treatments for emphysema. That should be a blast.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on June 10, 2004 1:27 PM
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