SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) - When the South Dakota legislature passed the state's first smoking ban in 2002... I said, "This won't be the end of the assault against smoking."
When South Dakotans voted for a historic increase in tobacco taxes in 2006... I said, "This won't be the end of the assault against smoking."
When state lawmakers passed a smoking ban targeting bars and restaurants in 2009... I said, "This won't be the end of the assault against smoking."
When South Dakotans upheld the smoking ban during a statewide vote in 2010... I said, "This won't be the end of the assault against smoking."
When Sioux Falls prohibited smoking in city parks earlier this year... I said, "This won't be the end of the assault against smoking."
Even as we speak, the anti-smoking forces are marshaling to wage their next battle in our fair city.
Leading the charge is Patrick Lalley, the Managing Editor of the Newspaper Whose Name We Do Not Speak.
Lalley's latest column details his distress at having to dine among smokers...outdoors!
Lalley was incensed to learn that bars and restaurants, many of whom don't appreciate voters interfering in their business decisions, are catering to smokers outdoors.
I have a vision of Lalley, like Colonel Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now", cowering under his outdoor restaurant table, wringing his hands and muttering, "The horror...the horror."
Mr. Lalley, exactly where did you think smokers were going to go? Did you think they were going to form 'smoker colonies' in the countryside after they were ostracized by voters?
Lalley is calling for a closure of this so-called 'loophole'. "If there’s no smoking inside, there’s no smoking outside where food and drink are served," Lalley writes.
Here's an off the wall suggestion, Patrick. Go INSIDE where smoking is prohibited. Is it too much to ask that you pick yourself up and move 15 yards? God forbid you should be inconvenienced in any way!
I'm absolutely sick to death of the anti-smoking zealots thinking they're the only people entitled to courtesy. Why should we pass further regulation when a little common sense is all that's needed?
Only time will tell whether Lalley will be successful in his cry for ending the loophole. However, here's one thing of which you can be certain. This won't be the end of the assault against smoking.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings from 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM.