As rumored earlier in the year, the new Congress will comport with Washington, DC's smoking ban, which starts on January 2nd. The smoke-filled rooms that have existed since before Henry Clay got to Congress will be no more.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat from smoke-free California and the next speaker of the House, is thinking of banishing tobacco from the most popular smoking spot in the building: the Speaker's Lobby outside the House chamber. "I'm not an advocate of smoking," Pelosi said yesterday, adding that she hadn't yet decided on a ban. "I think it's dangerous to your health."
Waxman says Pelosi's rise to power means the match has been lit. "When the Democrats take over, I expect this to change," he said. "She understands the consequences of secondhand smoke and she's coming from California."
There's a fun story about Rep. Ben Chandler puffing on a stogie while telling a reporter he doesn't smoke, but the post's title comes from this:
"Most people are resigned to the reality that there are fewer and fewer places to do this," said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who smokes one to two packs of cigarettes a day. "Behind every smoker is one who wishes they never started. The problem in this town is if you drop one vice, you'll get a worse one."
At the same time, I guess there'd be something unseemly about smoking being banned everywhere but the corridors of power.