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Government Butts into private club affairs

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People who annoy are many; New Jersey Drivers, people who have bullet stickers on their cars, and Notre Dame fans. But people who really get my blood boiling are those supporters of government rights over private rights who desire to ban smoking in every single place on Earth.

I see no problem with a business, be it a restaurant or bar, allowing smoking, or not allowing smoking. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, it is his decision. If he doesn’t want smoking, that is also his decision.

On the same token it is my decision as a customer to decide where they want to shop and eat. But it is doubly true for owners and members of private clubs. These are only open to members and cater to certain groups. VFW’s, American Legions, gun clubs, and other social clubs all fit the bill.

But there are certain people who won’t stop at banning smoking in publc places.

From the the Boston Herald

Veterans groups, fraternal lodges and other club members pledged to take the city to court if it one-ups the new statewide public smoking ban by expanding it to private clubs in Quincy. “The veterans will not go softly into the night,” Hayward said.

Bill LaRaia, a retired Quincy EMT, said he’s paid dues to a private club for 25 years. “For you to tell me I can’t go in there and have a cigarette – that’s a disgrace.”

The issue pits private clubs against some restaurant and pub operators, who support the smoking ban expansion. Operators said they stand to lose business to private clubs.

“`We feel if you’re not going to allow people to smoke in a public place, why should they be allowed to go smoke in a private club?” said Bill Damon, with Darcy’s Pub.

A state law went into effect this week banning smoking in public places, including offices, restaurants and bars, though not in members-only clubs or cigar bars. Under Scheele’s local proposal, smoking would also be banned at private clubs in Quincy as of July 18. He has the authority to enact such health-related regulations under state law, said Monica Conyngham, the city solicitor.

“I don’t think the state went far enough,” Scheele said in an interview before the hearing. “As long as we have scientific evidence that second-hand smoke does cause health problems we can impose it. (Private clubs) have employees, too, that should be protected.”


The anti-freedom patrol has a two part strategy to rid public places of smoking. First they ban smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. Then they pit the owners of those establishment against those of private clubs. Then it becomes a fairness issue.

That strategy shows the shallowness of their anti-choice crusade. When they go to ban smoking in establishments they say it will not effect the bottom line of the business. But if it isn’t hitting the bottom line, then why are the owners of the bars and restaurants who are effected so determined to make sure that policy effects people who run private clubs?

The policy makers and do-gooders in this world cite how dangerous smoke is, and want it banned, but they are sure happy to feed at the trough of tax revenue and settlement money taken from these tobacco companies. I say if it is so damned dangerous, don’t take any money from it!! Why would you want to benefit from such a dangerous and deadly product?

To me it is all a choice of freedom. There is the freedom of the owners of establishments who wish to allow smoking. If they want to allow their customers have a smoke after dinner or with a drink, that is their choice. As a customer I have the right to choose a place that doesn’t allow smoking when I don’t want to be around smoke, and allows it when I want to smoke my Cohiba myself.

Look at it like alcohol. If I don’t feel like a drink with my steak, I will go to Hoss’s near my house. If I want a beer or fine liquor, I will go to Greggory’s. It is my choice. No one is forcing either place to be drink free or not. The market decides, and both places prosper.

People cite health over smoker’s rights. I say that right now it’s smoke, soon, it will be drink. If I go to a bar and drink a few drinks I am more dangerous to people’s health (by driving home) than I would be by smoking a double corona. So by so actively banning smoking, it stats the slipperly slope of total prohabition of almost any behavior some do-gooder deems dangerous.

Much to the surprise of many liberal, pro-government types out there the government can’t regulate all danger out of our lives. With freedom comes a little bit of risk. As a mature adult, I have the ability to choose for myself what I want to do with my life. That includes choosing to indulge in a legal, taxed product or even an illegal untaxed product. (but that is another post)

If I owned a bar or restaurant, I should be able to choose what type of establishment I want to have. Then the free market will decide. If I could make more money by not allowing smoking, then smoke free it is. But the market should decide about this legal product.

For more libertarian oriented reading, visit The Nap Room.

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About Tom Bux

  • Eric Olsen

    man, I hate government butts

  • What annoys me about this knee-jerk junkie reaction is that it ignores that smoking in a public place is a public health issue.

    A good test of this sort of nonsense is to do a search and replace of “smoke” and “smoking” with “piss” and “pissing”, or “rat feces”. Imagine that! The gummit won’t let us operate our club kitchen because there’s rat shit in the food. Why, that choice should be up to our members. And the e. coli in the tap water? The goddamn gummit should mind their own business (that’s what happened here in Ontario, 11 people died, hundreds were made gravely ill).

    And by the way, William B. Davis, doesn’t smoke tobacco, and he’s done benefits to curb smoking in public.

    Smokers should be given treatment, not indulgence of their addiction. If you want to commit suicide, go jump off a bridge, it’s faster.

  • Tom

    You would believe all that bullshit. You live in a nothing country. NOTHING COUNTRY.

    You don’t even know what true liberty is. If you would actually read my post you would say the FREE MARKET should decide. Why should the government decide for a taxpaying bar/restaurant if they should allow smoking, which is a legal product. But the free market doesn’t decide in your country hence your lack of any major industry or business exports from Canada.

    If you hate smoking that much get out of the cigar bar and shut the fuck up.

  • wow! maybe you should run for congress tom.

    you’ve got the current tone just about down.

  • Tom

    Let me clarify, not the Canadian to shut the fuck up, but people who butt their turned up noses into private affairs and tell us how to live our lives.

    It comes down to this. Basic Freedom=All Controlling government.

  • Tom, I can’t wait to hear your tirade about how masturbating in public outside of elementary schools is the last bastion of “liberty”.

    Wank on, crazy dude!

  • LOL @ Mark! (On second thought, if Al Barger can. . . .)

    The no-smoking rule is about to be expanded to include bars in Portland. The reasons Jim Carruthers gave are why. After several years of Tom Bux’s ‘solution,’ i.e., allowing owners to decide, it has proven unworkable. Workers in the establishment are particularly vulnerable. They have to accept smoking or become unemployed. Nor do tiny smoking areas really work. The smoke often drifts into the larger room(s). Nor patios. Just last week I had to ask a barista at a Starbucks with those large front and side windows open to shut them. Being there is just like being in a smoking area because there is no real division.

    Tom Bux’s mistake is the kind of reasoning error I get frustrated with when I teach. He has grabbed hold of the owner’s ‘rights’ and is ignoring the rights of everyone else effected, particularly employees.

  • Tom


    Stop grasping at straws, equating masturbating in public to smoking is nonsense.


    If smoking is so bad. Ban it, or stop taxing it. I find it ironic that public officials who piss and moan about how bad smoking is, still take the tax reveune from smokers.

    Why don’t be ban alcohol now. Too many people are driving home drunk and putting me at risk when I am coming home from work sober. I don’t have a choice to avoid them. They are everywhere. The same arguments you are using now were used to start prohabition.

    There are plenty of places to work which don’t allow smoking. I mentioned in my post there are two steakhouses. Both comparable in food and price. One allows smoking and drinking, one does not. I get to choose. As an employee I get to choose to work at either place. Are you saying that if a restaurant allows drinking, but you are against drinking should that place ban it now just because you don’t want to be around it? No, go find some place that fits your idea of a nice time. Why should the government tell ME or YOU what environment we eat, drink, or hang out in.

    Many bartenders work at bars because they get good tips, but don’t want to be around the type of people (smokers) who go to these places.

    It’s like saying you want to be a lineman for the power company because of the good pay, but don’t want to be around electricity.

  • Tom

    You also say this:

    The reasons Jim Carruthers gave are why. After several years of Tom Bux’s ‘solution,’ i.e., allowing owners to decide, it has proven unworkable.

    You mean unworkable because the outcome didn’t fit your social agenda? If the market decided that bars should remain smoke freefloating, then your side lost.

  • so tom, should there be no government regulations relating to the health of workers & customers?

    no checking for the safety of food?

    no checking for the safety of water?


    the free market can decide all of this stuff?

  • Tom

    Something indeed is quite funky with the comments. They are getting cross posted with some post about Oasis.

  • Tom

    There has to be a fine line about meaningful regulations.

    We are talking about repealing current freedoms many people enjoy. There is a fine line between needfull regulation and needless regulation.

    To say we need reguations for our safety can be taken further everytime someone sees something they don’t like. What is next? Fattening food? Flourescent lights?

    You have to keep in mind that when we lose one freedom, we rarely ever get it back, and it opens the door for more and more freedoms to be infringed upon.

    Where the hell is Al Barger when you need him. Ask him, he’s a politico.

  • I’m not sure what anybody else is seeing in the comments, but since people are talking about it, I’ve checked, and it all looks normal to me so far. Can somebody please explain what they’re seeing?

    I see 12 relatively on-topics here, I think, and none on the Oasis post.

    Is that not right?

  • Tom, I don’t know of any cases of people catching diseases from second-hand cum.

    Tobacco smoke is a public health issue, just like feces in water, cockroaches in kitchens, anti-freeze added to booze, pissing in the clam chowder (Tyler Durden, please report to customer service).

    Your agenda is nothing more than anti-social terrorism, justification of thuggery, society by gangsters, nasty, brutish and impolite.

    What’s next, you’re going to advocate throwing kittens in sacks off bridges?

    And I will note, he didn’t deny he enjoys public masturbation outside elementary schools, so it must be a favourite hobby.

  • Tom: I think you’re being too logical here.

    Of course, in a rational society, people could willingly choose to go, or not go, to a private business that allowed smoking. People could also willingly choose to work, or not work, at such places.

    However, we do not live in a rational society anymore.

    Smoking is EVIL, and smokers are also EVIL, and the tobacco companies are EVIL, and if you support the rights of any of the above, you also support defacating in food and masterbating in front of pre-teens.

    Get it? You’re 100% right, but you’re not going to win the debate, because it will neccesarily devolve into sophisms, fallacies, and mindless emotionalism.

    Thanks. I feel better now.

  • [personal attack deleted]

  • Dan

    Just for fun, here is a link that takes a look back at some earlier anti-smoking crusaders: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/313/7070/1450

    Not to mention the fraudulent politically motivated junk science that constitutes the majority of second hand smoke hype.

  • [personal attack deleted] [The anti-smoking movement] has not achieved all its goals, but has been very successful considering how much money and power (as in influence over legislators) is available to the other side.

    Substituting other practices for smoking in public places [personal attack deleted], such as eating fattening foods, does not work because there is no passive effect on other people. I can watch a dozen food fanastics pig out every day and not gain a pound. The same cannot be said for spending time in a smoking environment.

    Perhaps there will be ‘smokers’ clubs, not just for cigar smokers, down the road. As resistance mounts, public smoking is an activity that may need to be done will fellow travelers in special settings, like sex clubs or Ku Klux Klan meetings.

  • typo: fanatics

  • Mike Kole

    I don’t think smoking is a good idea. I don’t smoke myself, but I take the Voltaire approach, if you know what I mean.

    This business of banning smoking in restaurants and bars is just another attempt by others to impose their morality upon others- even upon those who are aware of the risks and accept the risks. It is an easy thing for a bar to post a huge sign on the door that says, “Smoking permitted inside. Those who are concerned about the health risks posed by second-hand smoke should consider going elsewhere,” thus giving prospective patrons an informed decision to make.

    I find it awfully convenient to describe the tobacco side as the only one with money or power. Can you imagine being in a business where you air ads telling people not to use your product? This is not done because Phillip Morris thinks it a good business strategy. It is done because a combination of the Federal and various states governments force it to be done. Now that’s proof of where the power lies.

  • That is the price of producing a product that kills people. Death, the really onerous burden, is a risk for anyone who regularly comes into contact with smoke from tobacco products. Employees are often not free to just get another job. As I said above, we’re curtailing smoking in bars in Portland. Oregon has had one of the highest unemployment rates for years. The workers who were inhaling that smoke over those years had no real choice.

    What I see here is doctrine of the elect thinking. A preference for the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and powerless. Phillip-Morris’ stockholders and executives are not more important than the waitresses and bartenders forced to inhale smoke from their products in my opinion. They are in yours.

  • Perhaps we should ban roofers and lifeguards from working in Florida and California? After all, skin cancer kills…(of course, so do sharks…)

  • We should also ban coal-mining. Black lung disease is no joke.

    And dental X-Rays? Puh-Lease. In order to appease Big Tooth, we are greatly enhancing the risk of minorites and the poor who are more likely to have cavities.

    And people should be prevented from joining the military. I mean, those people sometimes go to war and die and stuff!

    Police officers are often shot in the line of duty. Hey, dealing with criminals all day is just plain dangerous! We need to save otherwise unemployable cops from being forced to enter this line of work.

    Gas station clerks are also at grave risk. We need to close those bastions of criminality down!

    Are there any other professions out there that are not risk-free? If so, we must STAMP THEM OUT. It’s the humane thing to do…

  • bhw

    Second-hand roofing and lifeguarding do not kill people who chose not to engage in roofing or lifeguarding but who worked near those who did.

  • bhw

    Whoops, changed tenses in the middle of that sentence. Oh well.

  • BHW:

    My point is simply that ALL professions carry some level of risk.

    Why should waitresses and bartenders be “specially protected” by the government from one particular type of risk? Why should private business owners and their smoking customers have their rights taken away?

    If you don’t want to carry the “risk” of being around second-hand smoke 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (at most), you will work elsewhere. If this isn’t “convenient” for you, too friggin’ bad.

    (BTW, both my parents smoke. So, I was FORCED to live with second-hand smoke every second of my home life for 17+ years. Should the government have stepped in and removed me from this “unsafe” environment? Should the government have banned my parents from smoking inside the home? Should I sue my parents? Or should I just kinda sorta deal with it and get on with my life? Serious questions…)

  • Children reared in the presence of smokers do often suffer medical consequences. It is information you should probably include in medical reports in case some of the risk factors are still present. Also, having suffered the ill effects of passive smoke on developing lungs, it would be a really bad idea to become an active smoker.

  • “Children reared in the presence of smokers do often suffer medical consequences. It is information you should probably include in medical reports in case some of the risk factors are still present. Also, having suffered the ill effects of passive smoke on developing lungs, it would be a really bad idea to become an active smoker.”

    I agree. Thanks for the advice.

    However, what should be done about it? If we are to ban smoking in public facilities, regardless of the opinions and free-will choices of private business owners and employees, what about kids who do not have a choice in the matter? Surely the government should be more interested in protecting involuntary second-hand smokers (who are children!) than adults who voluntarily place themselves in a slightly-unhealthy environment for a relatively short period of time.

    So, should the gov’t ban indoor smoking in privately-owned homes where children are present? If not, then why is the gov’t more interested in protecting part-time waiters than it is full-time children?

  • Mike Kole

    I love the argument that people who work in bars have no choice but to work in the bar. If there is a bigger cop-out available, I’m not aware of it. Oh, helpless me!

    Any person capable of twisting a cap off the bottle of the other legal drug and handing it to a patron with a smile is certainly capable of selling clothing or cars and making a living.

    Maybe, though, it is just that people who work in bars actually like working in bars and are willing to deal with the smoke; or, if they don’t, they fail to poke around hard enough to find employment elsewhere, or honestly aren’t concerned with second-hand smoke enough to go find another job.

    I have watched the drives in a few communities to ban smoking in bars and restaurants and have observed that it is *never* bar workers who are pushing for it. It has always been a city council person or a mayor. Curiously, in Indianapolis, it was a Republican.

  • Conflating booze with smoke is foolish. When you go into a tavern or bar, nobody forces booze into your mouth. Yet, sad tobacco junkies insist on spewing toxins into the air.

    Smoke all you want, just don’t exhale.

    I’m really sick of having my clothes stink of tobacco when I go to an event where smoking is permitted.

    People who rail about “freedom” are just the same as drunks who espouse puking on my shoes.

  • Tom


    No one is forcing you to go to that event which allows smoking. It must not bother you that much because you went. If you are that anti-smoking don’t go to the event which allows smoking.

    It’s called freedom of choice.

  • How is it “freedom” when people make an environment uninhabitable?

    I’m sorry you’re a tobacco junkie. Get help to cure your addiction, but don’t feel you need to spew your sickness on the rest of us.

    Again, as long as you don’t exhale, I’m fine with your pathetic sickness.

  • you do have freedom of choice.

    you could choose to control your addiction for an hour while you eat your dinner.

    instead, the addiction wins out and others are forced to suffer for it.

    yep, i can exercise my choice and seeks out non-smoking establishments. yet, there are almost none.

    and as far as other commenters talking about second hand smoke and ‘junk science’. that’s a big loada hooey. i spend one hour in a bar and i get a two day headache and bleeding sinuses.

    freedom’s such a lovely thing.

  • Dwaine AKA Scooter

    Smoking kills and it should be banned in public. Cigarettes smell and they sting my eyes sometimes. A person somking is the equivalent of a suicide bomber, only that the people around the smoker die more slowly.

  • Dwaine AKA Scooter

    Smoking down, pornography up. Porn never killed anybody.

  • bhw

    I love the argument that people who work in bars have no choice but to work in the bar.

    It doesn’t matter if they do or don’t have a choice to work elsewhere. The employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace. Second hand smoke has been proven to be a health hazard. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about waiting tables or tending bar. Only smokers make it an unhealthy environment for the employees.

  • boomcrashbaby

    In different cultures, smoking is a social event. Old, unbathed men with no teeth gather around their hoopahs (or whatever they call those oversized bongs) and smoke all sorts of crap together and have a good time.

    I’m not a big fan of smoking, but I agree with the smokers on this thread. There should be a place where consenting adults (in this case, smokers) can go to socialize together. What about if the restaurant was a private club for smokers? The Supremem Court ruled that private groups like the Boy Scouts can be selective in membership, perhaps a private restaurant can be selective in it’s patrons AND employees (smokers only)?

    That way everybody can be happy.

  • Dwaine AKA Scooter

    How about in their homes?

  • Tom

    I’m not a big fan of smoking, but I agree with the smokers on this thread. There should be a place where consenting adults (in this case, smokers) can go to socialize together. What about if the restaurant was a private club for smokers?

    Thank you. The article I wrote is about private clubs to begin with. What about Cigar shops. Should you not allow smoking in a cigar shop. It’s a cigar shop for cryin out loud.

    Why is it so friggin hard for you freedom of choice haters to get it through your fat heads. If I want to enjoy a cigar( a legal product) with a single malt scotch (a legal product), I have the right to go to place that allows it, and a bar owner has the right to cater to those people.


  • Dwaine AKA Scooter

    I don’t understand you smokers. What’s so pleasuring about inhaling contents found in urine, tar, and toilet bowl cleaners, knowing that there’s a high chance of getting some type of lung cancer? Have you ever seen a picture of a smoker’s lung? It looks like an overcooked, black pancake! And the smell!!!

  • boomcrashbaby

    The article I wrote is about private clubs to begin with.

    oh, so it is. Well, I agree with you, Tom.

    And so we come full circle? I have Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and you have Don’t Smoke, Don’t Smell? Just think, now that you’re oppressed, you’re on our side!

  • Mike Kole

    Again, a la Voltaire, I don’t smoke, but I’ll defend the right of persons to do it if they choose, and the right of employers to set their employment policies.

    If I owned a bar, it would be equipped with a super ventilation system, such as many of the Vegas casinos have. I hate sidestream and secondhand smoke.

    My concern is the slippery slope of banning things we don’t like ourselves, or think stupid for others to do. The anti-smoking crowd can make a compelling case on the grounds of a safe workplace. It’s tough to defend smoking. But, I think anyone reading this can foresee the banning of junk food because it is unhealthy. Ergo alcohol, red meat, white flour and sugar, aspartame, darts, guns, porn, automatic nailers, roofing materials, excavation machinery, etc. Can you make the connection to other things that bother others, such as unpopular opinions? Hey- they should be banned because they cause stress, and stress is unhealthy. The remaining question is: who shall decide what will be permitted?

    One good look at either the right or the left ought to leave freedom loving people with deep concerns.

  • “It doesn’t matter if they do or don’t have a choice to work elsewhere. The employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace.”

    Tell that to cops, firemen, cabbies, convenience store clerks, coal miners, deep-sea fishermen, military personnel, etc.

  • Tom

    Can’t we all just agree to disagree?