Article posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:57pm

Dear Miss Manners,

It has been a year since the smoking in public places ban has been law and I have not seen one violation by anyone and, I ought to know, because I spend a lot of time in bars which used to be blue with smoke.

We have jacked up the cigarette taxes, taken out the ashtrays and leaned hard on the folks who still puff their lives away, and now I wonder if government and non-smokers should lay off further pressure on the cough-cough crowd and let them expire. We’ve done plenty to help their lungs and hurt their pocketbooks. They won’t quit but maybe we should! Do you agree?

Formerly Fuming in Fish Creek

Dear Formerly Fuming in Fish Creek,

Personally, I’m really, really grateful that smoking has been banned in restaurants and bars since I am allergic to cigarette smoke. It is nice not to have to eat someone else’s smoke while I’m eating my dinner. I’m sure smokers feel singled out and attacked sometimes, but their particular habit is one that does damage to others, not just themselves; so, I have no problem with the laws as they are nor should they, in my opinion. Obviously, the efforts to stop people from smoking have been effective for some while others continue to lean on their nicotine crutch. That’s the power of addiction. Some are addicted to nicotine, others alcohol, gambling and so on. We all have our vices and failings.

I don’t think that the government should stop trying to prevent people smoking. They should especially focus their efforts on making sure kids never start in the first place. If some tobacco companies had their way, cigarette ads would appear on the Disney channel. That being said, when it comes to trying to get some adults to stop, there is always going to be that certain percentage that will never quit and no amount of morbid YOU WILL DIE FROM THIS labeling can stop them. It’s sad, but true.

We’ll have to wait and see if the number of smokers starts to go down over a longer period of time. What I would like to know in the meantime is why some smokers feel it is acceptable to leave their cigarettes butts in my driveway? Yuck.

And just so the smokers don’t feel too singled out, there are some who also leave empty candy wrappers.

Good luck,

Mary Pat