Daily Archives: June 30, 2008

Sign, Sign Everywhere a Sign

One side effect of the new public smoking ban will be the proliferation of no smoking signs. State rules require them to be affixed just about everywhere, so everyone knows there where smoking isn’t allowed. We just received a memo that new signs will adorn all doors into the Gazette, even though no one has been allowed to smoke inside the place in 18 years.

I wonder, will casinos be required to put “Smoking Allowed” or “Smoke Up” or “Smoke While You Go Broke” signs on the hazy gaming floor? I need to check on that.

Radio Iowa reported last week that school districts across Iowa will spend thousands of dollars on new smoke-free signage. Fro example, did you know you can’t smoke on a school bus now? A better question might be, when the heck is the last time you could you smoke on a school bus?

My answer would be 1989, or at least that’s the last time I saw someone smoke on a school bus. They were proud members of the Belmond Broncos baseball team, lighting up after a another tough loss. Such secret puffing was made possible by friendly underclassmen who dutifully rolled down all the bus’ windows on command. I won’t name the smokers. They know who they are.

I hope health officials will consider these five other signage suggestions:

1. Hog Confinements. Have you ever been working around a giant pit of manure when, the next thing you know, someone rudely lights up next to you? Talk about ruining your lunch break.

2. Beers. Bar owners should be required to place “no smoking” stickers on every beer or mixed drink they sell. You know how forgetful people get when they drink.

3. TV/Radio. TV stations should be mandated to play a constant “No Smoking” crawl at the bottom of the screen. Radio stations should be required to set off that jarring emergency alert system tone once each hour to remind Iowans of the smoking ban.

4. Wildlife. Hunters tend to smoke in greater numbers than the general population, according to a study I just did in my head of hunters that I know. How ’bout while banding waterfowl for identification, the DNR could also put a small ‘no smoking’ band on a mallard’s other foot? Maybe it could say, “Hunting is Bad for Ducks, but Smoking is Bad for You.” That would be cute, and poignant.

5. Fast Food. It’s hard to think of a more visible venue for conveying critical public health information than the top of a Quarter Pounder box. How about “The National Association of Conglomerated Meatpacking Monopolies ask you to make workplace health and safety your No. 1 priority, just like we do. Don’t smoke. But do keep eating.”

 

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