Are you pro-freedom — or pro-cancer? Nobody’s a friend of the Big C, but questions around the extension of San Francisco’s smoking ban are undoubtedly polarizing: nobody wants to breathe your stupid second-hand smoke, ahem EXCUSE me, and likewise no smoker wants some clean-breathed public-health crusading jerk interrupting their sweet, sweet nicotine feast.

Smoking’s been outlawed in most bars and taverns in California since 1998, pushing the state’s smoke-em-while-you-drink-ems out onto the street, where they terrorize neighbors with their noise and noxious fumes. To get around that pickle, many bars and taverns have installed — at no small cost — enclosed smoking patios at their establishments, allowing boozers to hang onto their drinks while they puff away.

As a former smoker and bar frequenter, this SF Appeal staffer watched with interest Monday the stalling in committee of legislation that would extend San Francisco’s smoking ban to pretty much everywhere, including those enclosed patios.

The legislation will be heard again in committee in two weeks while small business’s concerns are addressed (meaning, we’d guess, the entertainment industry gets lawmakers to specify and clarify that they’ll get to keep their smoking patios).

But what say you? Does the smoking ban mean just that — a smoking ban, and darn your cool-looking, expensive patio? Should the anti-smoking zealots among us stop going out to bars if they don’t like secondhand Camel scent?

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