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What is up with smoking bans?

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Smokers or not, we all know that smoking is dangerous, disgusting, and dirty. But what is up with all of these smoking bans? I was a smoker up until 1 week ago, and I believe I was a considerate smoker. When at friends’ homes, I automatically went outside to smoke unless they were smokers. At a bar or restaurant, I always asked the people I was with if they’d mind me smoking, and if they said yes, I didn’t smoke. Sitting outside, I always made sure I was downwind of non-smokers. I have never thrown a butt on the ground, even if that meant I had to carry it around in my pocket until I found a garbage can. But I was still made to feel like some sort of social leper.

Listen, I agree with banning smoking in restaurants – who wants to eat through a thick fug of smoke? But I totally disagree with banning it in bars, at least these city- and state-wide bans. Why can’t each business decide for itself whether to allow smoking, and post a prominent sign on the door to that effect, so that potential customers know whether or not to go there? Would that really be so wrong?

Even in France, which I consider one of the smoking capitals of the world, the cigarette tax was just hiked, and other European countries will be banning smoking in the workplace. Great for the non-smokers, but what about the smokers – who is actually deciding this stuff, and more importantly, why?

As I said, I just quit smoking, and sure I like to go into smoke-free environments. I just feel that the non-smoking lobby or whatever is behind this is being rather selfish. If I choose to pollute my body, and I don’t breathe the smoke in others’ faces, what right do non-smokers have to give me a hard time about it? I just don’t think it’s fair for the government to kowtow to one group at the expense of the other.

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About lklawless

  • Eric Olsen

    LK, excellent and good for you re your consideration as a smoker and your new nonsmoker status – best of luck with it.

    I talked about it a few days ago here. I agree with you that people should be (and are) allowed to do what they choose to do to their own bodies, and under the circumstances you define there wouldn’t be much need for a ban, but the problem is that a) many smokers aren’t as courteous as you were, b) very few places have invested in ventilation systems sufficient to truly purge the air of smoke, c) second-hand smoke is a serious poison that no one should be subjected to. It is C that gives governments the right and the impetus to set up public indoor bans.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    It’s also a problem for the employees of those bars. Waitstaff and bartenders work in those bars and are exposed to lots of secondhand smoke. It’s difficult to claim that there’s a moral imperative to ban smoking in the workplace because of concerns about worker’s health if there’s an exception for the smokiest workplaces of all.

    And as an audio engineer and instrument tech, I can tell you that not only is it a lot more pleasant to work in a club that’s smoke free, it’s also a lot more gentle on the electronics and the instruments, and the vocalists.

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    Unfortunately when you are in a public place there is no absolute way to contain the smoke. Even the best state-of-the-art ventilation systems cannot claim to contain 100% of the smoke. I too am an on-again, off-again pipe smoker. But if I should ever decide to take it up again, I only have the right to pollute my body. So I would never smoke it in a public environment.

  • Taloran

    And C in Eric’s post above is important enough to remove the decision from the taxpaying owner of a given establishment and put it in the hands of elected or appointed officials, regardless of whether it will cause loss of said business and/or monetary hardship to said owner.

    What has been done in Boulder, CO, is to permit owners of businesses defined as “saloons” to determine whether or not they choose to have a smoking section. If the owner decides that smoking is to be permitted in a section of their establishment, certain criteria must be met before the smoking section will be licensed by the city.

    I am not a legal professional, but the criteria as I understand them are:
    The smoking section(s) must have a separate ventilation system from the non-smoking section(s).
    No non-smoker must be required to enter that area for any reason. For example, if the smoking section has pool tables, the non-smoking section also must have pool tables, or a non-smoker would be required to enter the smoking section to play pool in that establishment. Obviously, the only restrooms cannot be in the smoking section.
    The smoking section must be physically separated from the non-smoking section by a two-door (breezeway-type) system, and/or must have a separate entrance.
    The owner of the establishment must place a monetary bond with the city, to be used to offset any claims against the establishment that second-hand smoke has caused harm to a given patron.

    Needless to say, these criteria put a huge financial burden on the owners of the establishment, so there are relatively few saloons in Boulder with a smoking section. But do the anti-smoking crusaders let this sleeping dog lie? Of course not. They want the law changed to completely prohibit smoking in all business establishments in Boulder, and actively petition the city council for such changes at every opportunity.

    Some of the insightful, fair and balanced™ municipal codes considered by Boulder over the past few years:
    Ban smoking in vehicles on public thoroughfares.
    Ban smoking in all residential rental property, regardless of the wishes of the landlord. After all, the next tenant might be a non-smoker.
    Ban smoking outdoors. This would include on one’s own property. Can’t force second-hand smoke down the throat of the next-door neighbor, can we?
    Ban smoking inside all privately owned homes that have a pet. Of course, no one “owns” a “pet” in Boulder, they’re “caretakers” of “animal companions,” which have rights too, including the right to not breathe smoke.

    Of course, Boulder is a wacky place anyway, so all this hooha doesn’t surprise me.

    When did the decision making process for private business pass from the businessman to the government? If I am a business owner, I should have the right to say “Smokers Only. You must show your pack of cigarettes at the door to be permitted to enter. No non-smokers allowed.” After all, business owners are universally permitted to say “No smoking in this establishment” in jurisdictions where smoking is permitted, and there’s no law against making poor business decisions in any jurisdiction of which I’m aware. But I can’t require smoking in my own business establishment in Boulder, New York City, the state of California, or many other jurisdictions. And if I tried it anywhere else, self-righteous people would picket my establishment, calling for my head.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    I absolutely disagree. You may be a considerate smoker, but most are not. Most smokers seem to feel it is their God-given right to fill my air with their foul stench and they will do so “whenever and wherever they God-damn-well-please,” as I have actually heard on several occasions. Why it is not my right to breath clear air, I don’t know – smokers have always been given the right of way on this one. I do not in any way feel sorry for smokers who’ve had to reshape their disgusting habits because nonsmokers have finally stood up and demanded rights. Smokers, may I remind you, are decidedly in the minority.

    Let me tell you how it is for nonsmokers: I have a number of places I cannot and will not go because of inconsiderate smokers. I cannot see bands in small clubs because of it. I can’t go to many restaurants because the owners have decided that smoke somehow knows not to pass between unwalled sections (simply putting fans up does not keep smoke from wandering in large quantities. If businesses want to have smoking sections, they need to completely separate rooms that are sealed off from everyone else.) I do not, under any circumstances, ever want to smell smoke while I’m indoors. What’s more, my wife is extremely allergic to smoke. I am too to a lesser extent, but I can at least breathe around smoke – but I don’t think I should have to. Here’s a list of places where smokers should be allowed to smoke:

    1. Home

    That’s it. I won’t even include cars because smokers are known to pollute not only their bodies with smoke but the environment with their butts.

    Why can’t each business decide for itself whether to allow smoking . . . ?

    Because all they would do is allow smoking. If it were up to businesses, non-smokers would never have an option. The reason why smoking is being banned is because nonsmokers have HAD ENOUGH. I’m sick and tired of having nights out ruined by idiots and their damned cigarettes. What, you can’t make it through a meal without a cigarette? You can’t make it through a concert without lighting up? Why should I have to deal with three days of wheezing and coughing after a concert because some asshole next to me couldn’t take it outside, or better yet, couldn’t hold off for the few hours until the concert was over? And check this out: I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been in a bar precisely ONE time – because of smoke.

    Let me quote this again, so you can read this again:

    Why can’t each business decide for itself whether to allow smoking, and post a prominent sign on the door to that effect, so that potential customers know whether or not to go there? Would that really be so wrong?

    You may be smoke-free for one week, but you are still mentally a smoker – the world should still bend to your need. Let me pose you this question in response: why? Why should you, the smoker, have all the rights? You do realize that nonsmokers have absolutely no say about this, don’t you? My only option is to not do anything at any place that involves smoke now. Is that fair? I’ve asked this of smokers before and gotten the response, “Dude, you should just learn to deal with it.” Really? Should I? Here’s that question again: why? Why is it my responsibility to learn to “deal” with the smoke from someone else? Can you answer these questions by telling me, with a straight face, that somehow the smokers’ rights are more important than the nonsmokers’?

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    When did the decision making process for private business pass from the businessman to the government? If I am a business owner, I should have the right to say “Smokers Only.”

    I hope you’re being facetious here. If not, you really don’t understand the problem, do you? The problem is that businesses will allow smoking and then force non-smokers to decide if they want to put up with the smoking in order to do something in that establishment. So if a business that allows smoking brings in a band to play, I have to weigh my desires to see that band with my need for clean air. Most of the time, I have to respond to my need for clean air and am forced by the smoking status of that establishment to pass on that opportunity. That is not being fair. But this is what clubs and bars do, and I have to suffer either way because of it.

  • http://french.about.com lklawless

    Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments. I would just like to reiterate that I totally understood the non-smoking point of view, since I no longer smoke and therefore have no desire to smell smoke wherever I go. However, I simply don’t think it’s fair for non-smokers (or government acting on behalf of non-smokers) to set the rules, which is basically what is happening now.

    In response to “Why can’t each business decide for itself whether to allow smoking . . . ?” Tom Johnson said: “Because all they would do is allow smoking…”

    I’m quite sure that’s not true. I’m sure there are plenty of business owners who don’t smoke and would be glad to create a smoke-free place for like-minded customers. In the paper today, there’s an ad for a couch for sale from a non-smoking home. Surely if people are concerned about whether a couch is from a smoking or non-smoking home, there must be restaurant and bar owners who would feel the same.

    Regarding employees, in my experience, the great majority of bartenders are smokers, so for me that’s a non-issue. YMMV.

    Again from Tom Johnson:

    “You may be smoke-free for one week, but you are still mentally a smoker – the world should still bend to your need…”

    Excuse me? I am no longer a smoker and my need is to be in places without smoke, so how exactly is my saying that smokers and non-smokers are equal telling you that I’m trying to bend the world to my needs? My point in writing this is that *neither* side’s rights are more important than the other, IMHO. If someone wants to smoke when they eat out or go to a club, I think that they should be able to IF there is a way to do this so that non-smokers are not affected by it. I don’t think this is impossible. As for people telling you to “deal with it,” I don’t think that way, so please try not to lump me in with all of the smokers who have offended you.

    The bottom line is that we are all in this together, and I think there is a more equitable solution than “you can smoke at home.”

  • Taloran

    Just for a moment, consider a private smoking club, entry to which is restricted to members only. Members would be required to pay regular (annual, for example) dues, and sign a no-bitch-about-smoking agreement. Something like a country club designed primarily for smokers. Would that fit in the conceivable worldview of adamant non-smokers? Of course not, because they’re being excluded.

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0120356/ taliesin

    I’m a smoker.
    I’m every bit as considerate with the filthy habit as Laura in her original article.
    And I’m far from alone, even in France, quite stupidly but widely considered to be a nation of unwashed Gauloise-reeking, plonk-swilling renegades.
    A long-standing total ban in the country’s Métros was — almost — universally applauded and obeyed from Day One. Those who breach it are more often than not politely asked, or rudely told, to mend their ways.
    Smoking is banned in most workplaces, but employers are obliged nevertheless to provide facilities for people who wish to pursue their vice.
    And we have, thank heavens, a choice, without hypocritical big-brother governments which rake in an almost indispensable fortune on duties getting as rabid as the anti-smoking lobbies in some “Anglo-Saxon” countries.

    Frankly, I think that while there are, of course, exceptions to the rule of courteous behaviour, the majority are educated and intelligent enough to abide by it without “help”.

  • Taloran

    I don’t know about your area of the country, but here there are far more establishments that prohibit smoking than those allowing it. Almost no restaurants permit smoking, a significant portion of bars/saloons prohibit it, and no other type of business (with the possible exception of bowling alleys, which I don’t frequent) allow it at all. Shopping malls, spas, garden centers, movie theaters, and gymnasiums are smoke free. I agree that this is appropriate. But what you seem to be saying is that you should be able to go ANYWHERE you want to go and not breathe smoke, regardless of the wishes of the owner of that establishment. What I’m saying is that if I own an establishment for which I pay the taxes, and I put up the monetary risk, I should be able to set my own rules. No gang colors, no men in pink dresses, no bondage in the corner or sex on the pool tables, no neckties (or neckties required). And no bitching about other people smoking.

  • Taloran

    That is, until the government decides to ban possession of tobacco products. As long as tobacco is legal, there should be a portion of public establishments in which it is legal to consume it.

    And I hope I still feel this way after I’ve gotten smart enough to quit.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Here in Toronto, we have no-smoking in restaurants, which meant many restaurants turned themselves into bars. The result is that I can’t go to many pubs because they are just smoke filled cesspools.

    I equate it with pissing. Would you eat in a place which allowed and encouraged the patrons to piss wherever they wanted?

    You want to smoke, fine, just don’t do it around me.

    You want to form a club to pee in each other’s mouths, great, just don’t do it around me.

    Of course, the piss lobby doesn’t have a huge backing.

    And I will note that I had to overcome an addiction to tobacco when I was in high school. No, not from smoking it, picking it. I got hooked through it soaking into my skin.

    Cue Stompin’ Tom Connors and “Tillsonburg”

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    Hi Jim. I used to live in TO myself and thanks for the trip down memory lane. So how is Hog Town these days? I had to get out from the land of the politically correct for my own sanity’s sake. I love your analogy so I’ll be sure to keep my mouth closed next time I’m in town.

  • Eric Olsen

    Whoa, went away for a while and a tobacco war broke out.

    As long as tobacco is legal – and I can’t imagine making possession illegal as I am in favor of decriminalizing ALL drugs – there should be SOME compromises.

    The Bolder option sounds fine to me – if a business is willing to make all of those adjustments and guarantees, no reason to not allow a smoking section.

    Another compromise: when the wind isn’t blowing outdoor smoke can be as oppressive as indoor, but I do believe smokers have to have SOME place to go, so I don’t think it’s fair to ban generalized outdoor smoking other than where it is obviously inappropriate.

    I would like to see the stats on what has happened in California – NYC is still intransition so I wouldn’t trust any conclusions from there, but Cal has had time to adjust. My guess is that there are a shitload of people like Tom who would be happy to go to clubs, bars, bowling alleys, restaurants if they know they will be smoke-free. After all, nonsmokers are in the ever-increasing majority.

    I can’t think of a reason why there couldn’t be smoker’s clubs: there are cigar clubs, what’s the difference?

    Lastly, this discussion hasn’t brought up the most helpless victims of all: children. Society jumps through all kinds of hoops to protect children from everything from porn to dirty water, and yet anyone and everyone is allowed to smoke in confined spaces around children in their homes, cars, anywhere smoking is not proscribed by law. It should be absolutely, unambiguously illegal to smoke in an indoor environment OF ANY KIND in the presence of children under 18. The fact that I have never even heard this seriously taken up is a sign of egregious negligence and cowardice on the part of all.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    I’m a former smoker (quit 15 years ago) and I must admit it doesn’t bother me unless someone is just dangling their cigarette in my face (or blowing the smoke my direction). A little whiff of it is actually something this former smoker doesn’t mind.

    With that said, it’s a really dirty habit, a proven killer, and something to quit as soon as one is able to do so. It’s not easy quitting though, so my hats off to those who are able to do so :)

    And just think of how much books, music and DVD one could buy by giving up a $4-5 per pack habit.

  • Taloran

    I do not smoke in my own home at any time, or in my personal vehicle when the children are in it, or in my wife’s vehicle at any time as that is the “chauffeur” vehicle. I do not sit in the smoking section of restaurants when my children are with me. I do not take my children to bars or saloons. I sit in smoking or non-smoking as pleases the other members of my party. I do not light up in restaurants when there are non-smokers at my table, instead I go to the bar, where it is generally understood that people will be smoking. Except of course by the avid non-smoking zealots, who find it offensive when I smoke at a bar covered with ashtrays and look at me as if I had the plague. “I want to sit here at the bar where the tobacco users go and whine about all you smokers, when I could go to the far side of the building and sit in a vastly smoke-reduced environment, or go to a smoke-free establishment, because it’s my right to barge in here and complain about the habits all of you have. The owner should make this establishment conform to MY wishes, not those of the majority of patrons.”

    Years ago, at college, I was sitting in the smoking third of a VERY large public seating area in the Student Union. The two sections were separated by a fifteen-foot-wide hallway. The smoking section was very crowded as usual (a lot more people smoked then) and the non-smoking area was sparsely occupied. I had been there for about an hour studying and drinking a Coke, when this woman I’d never seen before sits down directly across the table from me, places her tray full of food on the table, and sniffs “Would you put out that filthy cigarette? I’m trying to eat here.”
    “Uh, no I won’t. This is the smoking section, I’ve been here for an hour, and there’s plenty of seating in the non-smoking section over there.”
    “You smokers are all the same! So inconsiderate. I hope you die of cancer.” She got up in a huff and left.

    I suppose the anti-smoking folks on this post think the woman was perfectly reasonable in her actions and I was wrong.

  • Taloran

    To clarify a slightly misleading statement in my previous comment – I smoke in the garage when it’s sub-zero out.

  • Eric Olsen

    Tal, if you’re going to do it, there is no doubt you do it right. And as long as nonsmokers have sufficient and convenient options, they shouldn’t complain about smoke in the smoking section.

  • Taloran

    Thanks for the comment, Eric, but I don’t think there’s a way to smoke right. However, we’re generally permitted choices thus far in this country, and I choose to smoke thus far in my life. While I believe, make that know, that smoking is an insanely stupid and suicidal choice, and I’d never start if I could go back to age 16 and do things over again, I have not found a method by which to quit (I’ve quit for more than six months on two occasions over the past five years, but got so stressed out due to circumstances beyond my control I thought “Just one won’t hurt.”).

    I try not to be inconsiderate about my smoking, but it rubs me the wrong way when people sate their opinion about smoking, but what that opinion means is “My right to breathe clean air in the smoking section supercedes the right of the 300 smokers here to partake of their filthy habit. So put out the hundreds of cigarettes burning in this biker bar, so I can breathe easy. I’ve never been here before, and I’ll never come back, but during this one visit all the regular customers should kowtow to my wishes.”

    It’s like that idiot lawmaker in Georgia that was so incensed at not being able to get sweet tea at a Chinese restaurant that he proposed an amendment to the State Constitution making it a high crime to not serve green tea at any food establishment in the state.

    Must be nice to live in a universe that revolves around you.

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    In the alternative I think it brings up another good point. Unless the smoker is in a completely sealed, restricted room, smokers corners are a joke because you can still smell it regardless of whatever corner they are put.

  • Taloran

    Um, state, not sate. Saw it just as I hit the post button.

  • Taloran

    So, allow no more than a certain percentage of establishments within a given municipality to be smoker-friendly. Then if someone who is offended by smoke gets a wild hair up their ass and must go to an establishment that permits smoking, it’s their own damn fault if they can’t breathe for three days. Keep the vast majority of establishments completely smoke free.
    But draconian no-smoking-anywhere laws make as much sense as the complete prohibition of alcohol.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Must be nice to live in a universe that revolves around you.

    Ironic coming from a smoker who has benefitted from the lack of laws to prevent you from doing as you please except in rare instances. Flip it around and see if you feel the same way.

    So, allow no more than a certain percentage of establishments within a given municipality to be smoker-friendly.

    Fine, as long as these establishments are never, ever permitted to hold events of any kind, from which I, the non-smoker, would be excluded unless I agreed to put up with smoking in my presence.

    Again, I say it: smokers don’t get it. Your actions prevent me from being able to enjoy and take part in the things you do. My desire for clean air does NOT prevent you from taking part in anything. Again, who should be making the compromise here?

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    Taloran, sorry but I concur with Tom. In the real world your ideas just won’t work.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Tal:
    I do agree that non-smokers shouldn’t insist that smokers refrain from smoking in the smoking section, but I disagree that it’s fair game to allow smoking in bars because most bartenders smoke.

    I don’t smoke (I gave up my pack-a-year-habit when I got married), but I do work in bars. If bars are exempt from city-wide bans on smoking in places of business, then the rule protects the health of everyone but me.

    I’m sorry you once met a rude non-smoker. I’ve met rude smokers. Rudeness is undesirable. Smokers who allow their smoke to affect my health, equipment, and enjoyment of a drink or a meal are rude. It’s nice to ask the other people you came with, but you’re not asking the rest of us. It’s not the case that smoke irritates only people sitting with you (who, after all, chose to do so). And when you hold your cigarette away from the table to keep it away from your friends, there’s some other table that you’re imposing it on.

    I like the Boulder bar rules as described above. I’d go out to bars more frequently if they were in effect in Houston.

  • Taloran

    So, a small percentage of businesses permitting smoking would be ok as long as they were permanently and irrevocably enjoined from entertainment of any kind. No pool tournaments (or tables), dart leagues (or boards), Karaoke nights, live music, wet T-shirt contests, televisions broadcasting NFL games, lounge lizards, or anything else that anyone at any time might consider to be an event. And if someone considered a card game held by and between the usual smoking customers to be an event, the smoking license would be revoked. This is regardless of the opinion and wishes of the law-abiding, taxpaying owner and investors of the establishment, and the establishment’s regular clientele.

    This would be universal law across the United States (or is it the entire world?) because you might walk in to any establishment at any time and be offended by smoking?

    That sounds perfectly reasonable, and not self-centered at all.

    Let’s make it a Constitutional Amendment!

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Wow, what a broad brush you use, Picasso. Some smokers do get it. I am all for smoke-free places (smoking is forbidden in my home because of the children), but I accept that knowing that it means I can not go out.

    I just wish there were some sort of mechanism under law to allow a business owner to open an establishment specifically for smokers. It would be nice to sit in a bar again. Oh, well.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Picasso refers to Tom Johnson, who, I suspect, wants to ban smoking entirely.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    all of this fuss about people being offended by cigarette smoke is irrelevant when the discussion is framed around the issue of workplace safety.

    exposure to second hand smoke is a definite danger, and aside from spending insane ammounts of money on related equipment, there’s no way to make the bar/club/etc. safe for employees.

    i’m like tom in this respect…i can’t go to see bands play in bars because the smoke just kills me. i don’t mean it’s just annoying, makes my hair smell, etc.

    no, i wake up with a huge headache..sinuses plugged and throbbing…and when i blow my nose, it’s nice & bloody.

    lovely.

  • http://sickpotato.blogspot.com Debbie

    I remember in fifth grade I had a substitute teacher who smoked. I sat in the front row and had to sit with my hand over my nose the whole time. She smelled terrible, no matter how considerate she was when she was actually smoking. And her teeth were stained. Ugly.

  • Taloran

    And it would be unfair to make a mention in the employment ad “This is a smoking establishment. Please do not apply if smoking offends or irritates you.”

    The logical end to all this is to bar meat in all public places – some vegetarians are offended by the aroma of cooking flesh, and a few simply cannot go to places where it is cooking, as they become physically ill. While we’re at it, bar peanuts – we all know what a bit of peanut dust can do to a certain segment of the population, and they have the right to go anywhere they please, just as do zealous anti-smokers. My next door neighbors are Mormons, and are offended to the point of indignation by the smell of beer, wine and liquor, so we’d better ban those too. A Missionary just might walk into the redneck pub down the street, so all saloons had better take all the Coors Light posters with the scantily clad women down from the walls, or risk offending him.

    Wouldn’t it be a great business venture for someone to open a non-smoking club that featured live music? Nah, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Ban anything that could possibly offend anyone, everywhere. That’s much more logical.

  • Taloran

    Exposure to coal dust is a safety hazard as well. Miners sign on knowing that.
    I don’t hear HazMat workers complaining about the safety hazards of their jobs. What makes bar staff special?

  • Taloran

    re: Tom Croft in 25 –
    Where did I say that most bartenders smoke?

    re: BB in 24 –
    What ideas won’t work? Please clarify.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Tal:
    My bad. It was lklawless in #7 who said:

    Regarding employees, in my experience, the great majority of bartenders are smokers, so for me that’s a non-issue.

    But I think you’re trying to frame the debate on the issue of irritation and ignore the issue of health costs that smokers impose on non-smokers and on communities. If we could ban things that annoyed us, then the internet would be substantially more static.

    –Michael

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Natalie, if you will please re-read my comments, I did say that some smokers get it. Unfortunately the number of smokers who get it is outnumbered by a huge margin of those who do not care. Wide brush or not, if it paints the right picture it was a pretty good choice of instrument.

    And yes, I’d love it if smoking were banned. Not gonna happen anytime soon, but I’ll gladly vote for anything that inches it toward fruition. Hopefully bans and raised taxes will make it so painful and difficult to smoke that smokers will quit in frustration. I’ll vote for every one of ‘em.

    And Taloran:

    No pool tournaments (or tables),

    Nope.

    dart leagues (or boards),

    No.

    Karaoke nights,

    Nope.

    live music,

    No.

    wet T-shirt contests,

    No. Well, okay, you can have that one, I wouldn’t go anyway.

    televisions broadcasting NFL games,

    No. Getting this yet?

    lounge lizards,

    Still no.

    or anything else that anyone at any time might consider to be an event.

    No.

    Let me reframe something I’ve already said before:

    When an event is held in a place where smoking is accepted, I cannot go if I do not want to be surrounded by smoke. I do not have a choice other than not to go. If the event is likely to have a large amount of smoke, I have been excluded from the event due to smoke and smokers.

    Okay, did you get this? Read it at least twice, very calmly. Now read this the same way:

    If an event does not allow smoking, you are free to go. I am free to go. Anyone who wants to go is free to go. If you have to fulfill the needs of your addiction, you are welcome to take it outside. But you can go to the event and I can go to the event and everyone is happy.

    Tell me again, please, in explicit detail, why this is not fair. Oh, and tell me again why it’s fair that I have to make a choice about whether I want to put up with the effects of your smoking on my body.

    You have no convincing argument to be made here. Smokers have always had the law on their side and non-smokers have not. Just because you are addicted to a substance that demands attention every 45 minutes, hour, two hours, or whatever level of addiction you’re at so far in your life does not mean that the world has to conform to you so you can take care of it. It means that you need to adjust your lifestyle and your addiction so that it does not interfere with the lives of others. Unfortunately, the majority of smokers are not considerate and take advantage of their current freedom by making those of us who wish to keep their lungs in healthy condition decide whether we want to put up with your disgusting, foul habit. Now the tables are turning and you’re having to conform to something that inconveniences you for once. It’s pretty crappy, isn’t it? Get used to it – it’s going to get a lot tougher as more and more cities and states adopt the same thing. And they will, eventually.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Wouldn’t it be a great business venture for someone to open a non-smoking club that featured live music? Nah, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Ban anything that could possibly offend anyone, everywhere. That’s much more logical.

    Sure, it’d be great. Hasn’t happened, but it would be great. For this to work they will also have to feature ALL of the bands that smoking-permitted venues have, however, otherwise the same problem still exists.

    Like I said, you don’t get it. I’m going to say this over and over until it gets pounded into your head: Your selfish addiction prevents me from doing the same things you do. Nothing I do prevents you from doing the same things I do, except smoking, which you are free to take to the sealed off area for the three minutes you need to take care of your addiction. Who is being inconvenienced again? Me, who must write off nearly all events at bars and smoking establishments, or you who will have to go outside for a couple minutes?

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    …what he said.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Or just stay at home. I live in a city where smoking isn’t allowed anywhere. All of the music venues, bars, offices, etc., are nonsmoking now. Which is more than fine. But I don’t understand why smokers’-only venues aren’t feasible. I don’t care about parity — let non-smokers have the majority of everything. All I need is ONE FUCKING BAR. If I want to go to a restaurant or a movie or a concert or any smoke-free establishment, no smoking, fine. But to be able to patronize one place where I can sit comfortably in a climate-controlled setting with my beverage of choice and ESPN and a ciggie and smoking servers … that would be heaven. I just don’t see why that can’t happen. Call it Tropic of Cancer. It would give smokers a place to hang out while committing pleasurably slow suicide and allow non-smokers clean air and baby pink lungs in smoke-free establishments. Everybody wins — unless non-smokers’ goal truly is to ban smoking even when it is away from them.

    Does anyone know of any cities that allow specific establishments — like cigar bars or something –where smoking is allowed? PLEASE share. I’m all for smoke-free places and respect non-smokers’ rights to smoke-free entertainment. But I won’t patronize a smoke-free bar — what would be the point? For me it wouldn’t be any fun at all. And I can’t swallow that I can’t go anywhere beyond my back yard.

  • BRICKLAYER

    Face it smokers, you are a dying breed, one way or the other. Because I grew up in a household of smokers, and was forced as a child to endure the HORRIBLE AND DISGUSTING effects of second hand smoke,I have found it a filthy, despicable habit from a very young age, and always found that smokers are people lacking in self discipline, manners, and brains. And, any pregnant woman who smokes should have the child taken away from her as soon is it is born, and the woman should be arrested. And, any ignorant fool who throws their butts out their car window should be arrested and have their license taken away for life. I used to be in favor of much stiffer penalties than these, but I am a humanitarian. SMOKERS, YOUR TIME IS COMING TO AN END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eric Olsen

    I would say we have found a topic more polarizing than GW Bush or race.

  • debbie

    Tom,
    “Fine, as long as these establishments are never, ever permitted to hold events of any kind, from which I, the non-smoker, would be excluded unless I agreed to put up with smoking in my presence. ”

    What? What does being permitted to hold events have to do with smoking? You still get to make your choice on whether or not to go. The establishment owner should be able to delare his business as a smoking or non smoking bar. If there is a demand for non-smoking bars then there will be non-smoking bars. That is how capitalism works…. (You remember supply and demand) Then you can contact the local bands or “event” that you want to take part in and have them put on the event in a non-smoking establishment. But to say that a smoking bar should not be permitted to have an event because you don’t want to go is insane….

    As for the employees, they would know up front that it was a smoking establishment and they don’t need to apply there if they have a problem with smoke. I don’t see any problem with this. (Just so you know, I am not a smoker any more, I quit 4 years ago, I would probably not frequent a smokers establishment but I don’t think I should be able to dictate to the owner how to run his establishment. Profits will do that.)

  • The Theory

    Smoking is *not* a God-given right. It’s a choice, and one that affects everyone around you. I don’t see how it’s so unfair to you, who chose, to have legal restrictions on where you smoke, especially seeing how it does negatively affect other people.

    What if people started demanding to masturbate in public because they couldn’t wait until they’re home alone? To millions of people smoking is just as disgusting as that thought.

  • debbie

    Tom,

    Maybe this would be good business venture for you to check into…. A smoke-free bar with live entertainment.

    I don’t question your motive just your solution. I think that it is entirely too much governmental control to dictate to bar/resturant owners whether they can be a smoking establishment or not. They should be able to make that decision themselves. Their profit margin will adjust it if it needs to be adjusted.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Debbie:

    The problem is they are making those profits by passing the some of cost of their activities on to unwilling entities. I could make a profit with many a business if I stole phone and electric service rather than paid my costs.

    I don’t think the “they knew the risks when they took the job” argument is viable. In the first place it’s pretty damn callous about the health of the workers, many of whom do not receive health insurance benefits from their place of employment.

    The real problem with it is that it is well established that the state can make and enforce workplace safety rules involving health hazards. If your argument was valid, then most workplace safety rules would not be valid, either. I don’t see that as a good idea.

  • debbie

    “I don’t think the “they knew the risks when they took the job” argument is viable. In the first place it’s pretty damn callous about the health of the workers, many of whom do not receive health insurance benefits from their place of employment. ”

    They have to be 21 to work in a bar (in my state anyway), that is old enough to decide about where they want to work. Do you honestly believe that you need to legislate that much interference into people’s lives?

    If the establishment has it posted that it is a non-smoking bar/resturant then I’ll know that before I go in. If it is posted as a smoking one then I’ll look for another one. But the “make it illegal” for them to have any entertainment is NUTS!!!

    If I want the local band to play at a non-smoking establishment then I’ll suggest to the owner that they contact the band. The owners are there to make a profit, if they see it as profitable then they’ll do it.

    I started smoking when I was 21, I knew the health risks, it was printed on every pack of cigg. I purchased. It was posted in every Dr’s office, there were law suits in progress, it was in the news. I started the habit out of boredom, I continued it for over 15 years before I kicked the habit. If I die of cancer, it will be no-one’s fault but my own. Nobody is forcing people to work there.

    That’s is my point….if there are enough people that want a non-smoking establishment then they will flourish – not only will they flourish but that is who will get the best entertainment. The bands want to get the most exposure that they can.

    I don’t think that the government should dictate this, it can and should be worked out by economics. Business’ will follow the money.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    If I die of cancer, it will be no-one’s fault but my own.

    (This will likely take things off on a tangent, but it’s another issue related to smoking that probably should be addressed . . . ) That may be true, but all people who have insurance get to help pay for your care in the meantime. I’m not trying to suggest you shouldn’t use insurance to pay for whatever is needed to prevent your death, but I am saying that telling everyone that smoking only affects you is entirely untrue.

    Nobody is forcing people to work there.

    Maybe not “gun to head” forcing, but more and more people are having a difficult time finding jobs and may have to resort to working in bars and restaurants that allow smoking. There’s only so many times people can say “nobody is forcing people to work there” before all of the jobs are filled that are open to people who choose not to work in smoking establishments. Of course, everyone always has the option of living on the streets, but I’ve never seen a bum with a sign reading “Can you spare a dime? Can’t find work except only in smoking-permitted businesses and I won’t endanger my health like that.” Working in bars, etc., may be a “choice by force” in that the employees had to take those jobs for any number of reasons for which the only other option would be living on the street. I don’t think any wait staff would complain about not having to deal with second-hand smoke, even many of those who do themselves smoke.

    Alcohol only has a number of places it may be consumed. As far as I know, drinking in public is not legal in most cities and states. Why aren’t drinkers up in arms about that? All smoking bans are doing is saying that you too will have to find the right place and time to do so. Boulder’s solution is a perfectly reasonable solution to the problem – you aren’t being prevented from smoking completely, only being told where you can do it. If it makes your life so difficult and awful to contemplate having to go outside for a few minutes, maybe you need to look at how important this addiction has become to you. Is it really rewarding to be chained to something so demanding?

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    I think the Boulder law is perfectly reasonable. I pray that something like it will be implemented in Baltimore so that smokers will have some place to go.

  • debbie

    “(This will likely take things off on a tangent, but it’s another issue related to smoking that probably should be addressed . . . ) That may be true, but all people who have insurance get to help pay for your care in the meantime. I’m not trying to suggest you shouldn’t use insurance to pay for whatever is needed to prevent your death, but I am saying that telling everyone that smoking only affects you is entirely untrue.”

    I didn’t say that it only affected me, I said that I couldn’t claim “that I didn’t know it was harmful”. There is entirely too much information available to anybody that wants to see it. If you don’t want to see it then you really can’t blame anybody else when it bites you in the rear.

    I don’t buy the argument that the “smoking establishments” are the ONLY place that someone can look for work either. If a non-smoker doesn’t take that job then a smoker will… Are you saying that a non smoker has more of a right to a job than a smoker? Of course not, that is why you let economics handle the issue not the government.

    I’m sure you could open the want ads in your city newspaper and find any number of entry level positions in a non-smoking environment…. to use that as an arguement against having a “posted smoking or non-smoking establishment” is not valid.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Try this one on for size. Smoking bans should be a business decision depending on the business and it’s client base. This is just one example in one town, but it is real. It happened. I was there.

    Brookline (suburb of Boston) enacted the smoking ban, and it wasn’t a problem in the restaurants. Most smokers have no problem going a whole meal without their vice. Bars and coffee shops on the other hand actually have a base of people who wanted to sit study, drink coffee, smoke, etc. Some of the smaller local bars ended up being ok because there was a huge sidewalk available for smokers to go, but all of the sit-down coffee shops closed. Is this right?

    non-smokers should have the right to go someplace and not smell smoke. SOMEPLACE. If it means a business goes belly up and neither party can go to the place, then what the hell is the point? What was solved? I am all in favor of separating smokers and non-smokers. I am for banning it in restaurants completely. I think you could ban them where bands play because people will still want to come see a band, but without attractions, a regular old bar or coffee shop might be giving up it’s business.

    I also think there would be enough demand for bar owners to make the non-smoking decision all on their own.

    It doesn’t matter though because the trend isn’t going to change and every place on earth will be smoke free in five years.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Brookline (suburb of Boston) enacted the smoking ban, and it wasn’t a problem in the restaurants. Most smokers have no problem going a whole meal without their vice. Bars and coffee shops on the other hand actually have a base of people who wanted to sit study, drink coffee, smoke, etc. Some of the smaller local bars ended up being ok because there was a huge sidewalk available for smokers to go, but all of the sit-down coffee shops closed. Is this right?

    Sounds fine to me. The coffee houses should have made a place outside for their smokers to take care of their fix. Give ‘em a sign to put on their table while they smoke.

    This argument will never, ever sway me. The two minute inconvenience a smoker feels is nothing compared to the last 15 years of my life either suffering the consequences of other people’s smoke or giving up going to events to avoid it. Smokers have dug their own hole on this issue – while a few may be considerate (and I heartily thank you for that) a great majority are not and never will be, so someone higher up in the foodchain (the government) is going to have to step in and teach them how to be considerate.

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    i am a non smoker, but this is ridiculous. the people who own the business, ESPECIALLY bars, should be the ones who decide whether to allow smoking. the anti-smoking sense of entitlement (at someone else’s expense, of course) extending to bars is offensive, sorry.

    if tobacco is so evil, it should be made illegal (i wouldnt have strong feelings one way or the other on such a proposal). few things undermine governmental legitimacy more than their acceptance of tobacco revenues, especially in places like mass. (where cigs are like $6 a pack vs $3 in the south–i wonder where that extra cash goes, besides anti-smoking campaigns).

    i’d love to see the tobacco companies boycott the high-tax states. mass. and ny would wet their pants.

    and alcohol is more harmful than mj, so lets reinstate prohibition. drunks sometimes offend me in bars when i am listening to music, and sometimes they hit and kill people on the streets and roads, so lets outlaw drinking in bars!

    i am going to go now and drink my victory gin alone, where i prefer to be by myself.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    You make it seem like there is no choice for the non-smoker. Last time I checked, the places where you could go and smoke were not in the majority anymore.

    So, let’s make a big blanket rule. I HATE big blanket rules for this reason. They always end up making people feel better at first until they come back and bite someone in the ass later. These kinds of things end up doing something unexpected in society, and or make some other thing possible as a loose base of precedent.

    Life is a compromise last time I checked. And making restaurants smoke-free is an example of that. They also have smoke-free shows for certain bands. That is an example of a choice, instead of a legal dictation.

    What are the business owners’ rights? None? If you don’t like a business, or what it sells, what is it your option to do? Not go. We aren’t talking about government pubs here. They are PRIVATELY OWNED. If you don’t like it start your own business with your own rules. Don’t piss on someone else’s livelihood though. It isn’t a god given right to smoke, but last time I checked, it was an american way of life to run businesses and in doing so cater to an audience. When audiences’ demands change the business changes.

  • debbie

    Tom,

    “This argument will never, ever sway me. The two minute inconvenience a smoker feels is nothing compared to the last 15 years of my life either suffering the consequences of other people’s smoke or giving up going to events to avoid it. Smokers have dug their own hole on this issue – while a few may be considerate (and I heartily thank you for that) a great majority are not and never will be, so someone higher up in the foodchain (the government) is going to have to step in and teach them how to be considerate.”

    If it was posted as a smoking establishment then you probably wouldn’t be in there…how would they be considered inconsiderate?

    If the owner of the coffee shop sees that it would be to his benefit to make his establishment a non-smoking one then he/she will. Let it be supply and demand that decides it….I don’t think it is the government’s place to decide that.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    [T]he people who own the business, ESPECIALLY bars, should be the ones who decide whether to allow smoking.

    Why? We regulate noise in bars when it encroaches on others. We regulate polluting industries and tell them what they have to do to mitigate their output. We require restaurants to meet health and training standards. Why is it different to regulate smoking? Smoking kills more people than Slime in the Ice Machine or some band playing too loud too late at night.

    Your right to give yourself cancer is great, but it stops at my lungs and my pocketbook. Making money by letting someone else pay the costs your incur is only “the american way” in the most cynical of approaches.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Polluting industries and loud bands have affects outside the building that is considered the bar.

    All I am saying is that it isn’t like people are smoking at the grocery store. We are talking about bars. Nobody (well hardly anybody who is sane) could argue with the restaurant thing, but couldn’t you really argue supply in demand in a setting where business livelihood is in question? All I am saying is bars. These represent such a small portion of places on this earth. Why is it that a compromise is so unreachable. We are talking about a place where we want to sit and poison our livers. And like I said, when the customer base demands it, it will happen.

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    If the noise remains within the confines of the bar, does anyone seek to forbid the noise? That’s an atrocious analogy. Surprisingly awful. Just hideously inapt.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    The people who own the business, ESPECIALLY bars, should be the ones who decide whether to allow smoking.

    Let’s all pray that owners are more responsible than those idiots that owned the place where those 100 people died in the Great White fireworks debacle (which I realize didn’t have anything to do with cigarette smoking).

    There are some places that are tinderboxes and smoking should never be allowed there for public safety reasons, regardless if the owner thinks so or not.

    As the Great White nightmare proved, some business owners will put $$ ahead of public safety.

    It’s sort of like people talking on cell phones while pumping gas.

    Just takes a spark!

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    It’s one of three examples I gave, each describing a case where an industry was not allowed to decide something in the way that maximized their profits. The first example, noise ordinances, was meant to point out that mere annoyance at impolite behavior was a subject of current regulation. The second example, industrial pollutants, was to point out that air quality was regulated for effects on health. The third was to indicate that businesses were routinely not allowed to put customer’s health at risk in even marginal ways. Again, all this was intended to point out that there is no reason to accept the statement “that business owners should be the ones who decide whether to allow smoking.”

    I suppose I could have included vehicle emissions standards or fire code regulations or Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations as well. The point is that there is no particular reason to exclude bars from regulations establishing smoke-free workplaces. They are as regulatable as any other business.

    So, if the state has an overwhelming interest in protecting the health of workers in offices from the dangers of secondhand smoke, surely they have the same interest in protecting the workers in bars and restaurants.

    Now as I’ve said, I’m OK with the Boulder solution. I’d prefer a smoking ban in enclosed restaurants and bars, and I really want Houston to pass a no smoking ordinance for restaurants, but I think there is room for compromise. Not because it’s right, but because I’ll settle for “better” if I can’t get “right”.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    And Craig, people who stop by a bar are not necessarily poisoning their lives ;) One alcoholic beverage a day is good for you, health-wise.

    The problem is too many people don’t stop at one and then it gets into the poisoning part you mentioned.

    I am lucky to get one alcoholic beverage a month and I need to work on getting that into a daily regimen. Problem is I don’t like the taste of the stuff very much. Water is so much better!

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    You make it seem like there is no choice for the non-smoker. Last time I checked, the places where you could go and smoke were not in the majority anymore.

    Maybe where you live, but not where I do. The problem that everyone keeps overlooking (because apparently it helps your argument) is that I am talking about EVENTS – concerts, etc. Let’s say Living Colour is coming to my city and they’re playing at a bar/club that allows smoking. What are my choices here? Put up with the smoking and suffer the consequences for the next few days, or skip yet another concert because smokers are inconsiderate? Is that fair? No, of course not. How is it such a huge inconvenience for smokers to TAKE IT OUTSIDE for a couple of minutes and it’s not a huge inconvenience for me to either not go or deal with horrible headaches/sinus infections/etc. for days afterward? How come no one will answer this?

    They also have smoke-free shows for certain bands.

    Yes, once again, it’s not really much of a choice if you aren’t given the option of doing ALL of the things smokers are allowed to do right now.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    “Yes, once again, it’s not really much of a choice if you aren’t given the option of doing ALL of the things smokers are allowed to do right now.”

    You people are crazy. Concerts at SMALLER clubs and bars are the ONLY places smokers have left. You can’t smoke at the arenas. You can’t smoke in more and more restaurants. You can’t smoke in any stores or any public buildings. You aren’t allowed to smoke at sporting events. Where are the OVERWHELMING numbers of places where people smoke. Bars and small concert clubs? Think about it. And those places have made a business decision. So have the sports teams and their respective venues. and the big arenas. Those are all events aren’t they?

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    All I am saying is that it isn’t like people are smoking at the grocery store. We are talking about bars. Nobody (well hardly anybody who is sane) could argue with the restaurant thing, but couldn’t you really argue supply in demand in a setting where business livelihood is in question? All I am saying is bars. These represent such a small portion of places on this earth. Why is it that a compromise is so unreachable. We are talking about a place where we want to sit and poison our livers. And like I said, when the customer base demands it, it will happen.

    It happens because it’s been allowed to happen. Just because it’s the norm doesn’t mean it’s right. If all bars were smoke-free, there wouldn’t be a choice for smokers and they would have to deal with it. And then everyone would be free to go to bars and see bands that only play in bars.

    What I find so ironic about all this is that smokers are kicking and screaming about having to do something that might inconvenience them for a few minutes at a time, when nonsmokers have had to inconvenience themselves all along because of smokers. Does this not set off warning bells in your head that maybe you need to quit smoking, if you’re so dependent on this substance that you can’t stand the thought of not being able to do it whenever your body begs you for it? If people behaved like this with any other drug, loved ones would be holding interventions and admitting you to rehab.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    No, that is patently false. The argument isn’t people going without. It is the government dictating business decisions. Don’t confuse the two.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    the government dictating business decisions.

    Happens all the time, often for good reasons.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    This is what I mean about the bigger picture. Isn’t it important in the scheme of things that I should be allowed to operate an unpopular business into failure if I want? Well the opposite is also true. I should be able to operate a private business however I want. You don’t have to patronize the place. As long as it is not on public property, then I should be able to run it however I want within the law. And changing this law seems a little bit overbearing from a governmental perspective.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Concerts at SMALLER clubs and bars are the ONLY places smokers have left. You can’t smoke at the arenas. You can’t smoke in more and more restaurants. You can’t smoke in any stores or any public buildings. You aren’t allowed to smoke at sporting events. Where are the OVERWHELMING numbers of places where people smoke. Bars and small concert clubs?

    Why is this a bad thing? Maybe if smokers had a place where all they could do is smoke that would be fine. But the fact remains that many bands play at clubs and bars and the benefit goes to the smokers, not nonsmokers. Most of the concerts I want to see play in venues that are simply large bars – which allow smoking. I am therefore unable to attend, as are any other nonsmokers who care about their health. I keep asking this: where is the inconvenience to the smoker when they have to do what they do everywhere else? If you have to take it outside at the bookstore, why shouldn’t you have to do it in the bar, too? Smokers are not being prevented from doing things – only told where to do it. Nonsmokers have no choice other than to put up with smoke or not go at all. Smokers can still smoke outside. Why should society have to make anything easy for smokers, the people who’ve decided against all evidence and advice to do the very thing that offends so many people?

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    “Why should society have to make anything easy for smokers”

    It isn’t society brother, it is a single private business owner using his/her rights as well. Are nonsmoking rights more important than business owner rights? Nobody is forcing you to go to a smoke filled place. Nobody should be dictating the way a bar owner chooses his/her customer base, unless it is the tobacco companies to kids of course. :-)

    I just feel like the natural order of things would be non-smokers making a statement to bar owners, not for governmental dictations. Supply and demand is the natural order of things and don’t you think repercussions could come of this?

  • Eric Olsen

    If this wasn’t such a serious topic, it would be funny

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Hell, it is serious and I still think it’s funny. I can just see smokers out there desperately searching for a picture of me so they can find me in public and corner me so they can aggressively smoke in my direction.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Hey, Tuk Young is still alive at 122+ (allegedly) and he has smoked and chewed tobacco all his life. No reason that won’t work for anybody else here LOL

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I am one of the guys who doesn’t think smoke-free places are a bad idea.

    Why is it that you people are supporting a GOVERNMENT POLICY on this? We live in a society that makes laws where we don’t need them all the time. Why shouldn’t the profile of each place dictate the way the businesses in certain areas are run.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    oh my gawd! not a (*shudder*) Government Policy!! noooooooo!

    we have plenty of ‘em…i especially like he ones where tobacco companies are given subsidies.

    those’r just great. first we pay to prop up the producers…then we pay again in the form of increased healthcare costs, lost productivity, etc.

    and then…me & tom can’t go to see bands in clubs!!

    ;-)

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    i’d be hard pressed to think of a smoker as selfish and inconsiderate as tom (and unlike tom, the smokers pay for their preference). if smoking were illegal, i’d retract that statement. if it’s legal, bars should be able to allow it.

    tom should pay a portion of his salary to the closest bar, then go to mcdonald’s and wait for the utopia patrol to start its campaign against them.

  • BRICKLAYER

    McDonalds and their filthy ilk are poisoning the world. Billions and billions of people served colon cancer, and heart disease worldwide! The government ought to go after them next! In fact, the only place people should be allowed to smoke is at fast food restaurants! A message to fast food eating smokers: YOUR REIGN OF TERROR IS COMING TO AN END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BRICKLAYER

    And here’s what I really, really despise: People talking on their cell phone while they eat McDonalds food, smoke and driver their foreign vehicles with American flags on their bumpers!

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    No, sweetie. It’s a rainbow flag, a Deadhead sticker, or a decal featuring the Jamaican colors.

    Bricklayer, do me a favor. Find the nearest human being and ask for a hug. You sound as if you need one.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    i’d be hard pressed to think of a smoker as selfish and inconsiderate as tom

    I know, I’m soooooo inconsiderate, demanding air I can actually breathe and the right to do as I please without endangering my health needlessly. What in the world am I thinking?

    then go to mcdonald’s

    What’s this about, Chris? Trying to insinuate that I eat fried food all the time – “pot, kettle, black”? Trying to insinuate that I live an unhealthy lifestyle? I don’t. I rarely eat fast food, and when I do, it’s usually a grilled chicken sandwich. I eat well, I exercise, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink. I don’t talk it if I won’t walk it. More people should try living that way.

    And if you weren’t trying to insinuate something . . . just what the hell were you trying to say?

  • Eric Olsen

    It seems to me – who wants to protect the health of nonsmokers and do minimal damage to private business – that the Boulder solution of separate but equal is the way to go.

    Those arguing for private ownership rights are simply wrong that the health of nonsmokers should be trumped by their ownership rights. One of the roles of government is to help express the priorities of the people and then enforce them when private citizens would not be so inclined.

    If we had left health and safety up to private enterprise we would still have rampant sweatshops, limbs being sheared off by the score, miners dying by 40, and workers shoveling DDT. The market does not work for everything, and health and safety is one of those things, pretty much period.

    I would probably not have a problem with private clubs for smokers, a la cigar clubs, but then you still have the issue of employees – it’s very difficult.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    There is something really funny to me (maybe I am sick) about bartenders wanting their rights defended. We aren’t talking about a highly skilled or selective job situation. If you are going to be a bartender, you are going to be around smokers. It’s kind of like complaining that your arm hairs are getting singed by running the grill at the burger joint. It’s not like it was a big surprise. You had to have thought of that going into the job. And I am sorry to be the elitest, but it isn’t like there aren’t about a billion comparable jobs that don’t put you in a smoking situation.

    I am ready for the verbal onslaught.

  • Eric Olsen

    I understand the irony, but a job is a job and ALL workers are entitled to a minimum standard of safety on the job, which would include not being exposed to virulent carcinogens. And there is more to GOOD bartending than one might think.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig:
    Given the “singed arm hairs” comparison, can we assume that you don’t believe that there are health risks from secondhand smoke? I don’t know of anyone except tobacco scientists, tobacco lobbyists, and politicians who even claim to believe that there is no risk.

    Putting aside the advantages to the victims that would be provided by not being exposed to carcinogens, there’s a huge issue of public funds that should be addressed.

    Bartenders and Waitstaff almost never have company provided health insurance, and they’re not paid well, either. When they get cancer because they’re working in your smoke cloud, they end up in the County Hospital, where I pay for their treatment with my tax dollars.

    At this point, it’s too late to find the people responsible for saddling the taxpayers with that cost, but it’s not too late to lower it in the future.

    That’s what the huge tobacco settlements were for, weren’t they? That they were used in some cases to subsidize tobacco growth is a travesty.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Dude. No, you can’t make the assumption that I don’t believe the dangers of second-hand smoke. All I am saying is that if you CHOSE to be a bartender, which isn’t a highly specialized job, even though, as Eric points out, a good bartender is amazing, what do you expect? You are CHOOSING to work in a bar.

    Anyway, I am starting to hate this conversation because even though I believe in how I think and feel on this one, I don’t think it makes a lick of difference. We all know what is going to happen. Debate is nearly pointless.

  • The Theory

    *The Theory… went to a concert in a bar once and almost passed out from the ammount of smoke in there. He barely got outside for fresh air*

  • debbie

    Eric,

    “It seems to me – who wants to protect the health of nonsmokers and do minimal damage to private business – that the Boulder solution of separate but equal is the way to go.”

    How is allowing the business owner to decide if they want to be a smoking or non-smoking establishment not a seperate but equal solution. Surely if the business is there then some bar owners will make theirs non-smoking. They are not in business to loose money, if there is a viable customer base then there will be establishments created to serve them.

    Tom,
    “We regulate noise in bars when it encroaches on others.”
    Not from other people in the bar…only if it is loud enough to disturb somebody in their house or other place of business. I doubt that someone smoking in a bar is going to disturb somebody in another business or their house.

    I don’t have a problem with you wanting to breathe fresh air, (I want to too) but to have government oversee everything is just plain scary! I would agree with you if someone forced you to go to these places but nobody is forcing you to go.

    All you have to do is complain to the local bar owners about not having a non-smoking bar, have people in your area write letters and one will open near you. Then you can have them get the live entertainment that you wish to see.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Someone brought up the example of coal miners before. How do we rid their CHOSEN workplace of harm?

  • Eric Olsen

    Nat, Coal mines are still very dangerous, but there have been all kinds of rule and regulations forced down the mining companies’ throats making them much safer than they used to be. They wouldn’t have done it voluntarily.

    Debbie, No, the free market cannot be relied upon to provide smoking and nonsmoking facilities equally and in all places. Business owners are understandably risk-averse and allowing smoking in a bar or a nightclub, etc., is the “safe” (read inertia, the way it’s always been, etc.) way for them to go. Sometimes government has to step in – this is one of those times.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Debbie:
    “We regulate noise in bars when it encroaches on others.”

    I didn’t write this.

    How is allowing the business owner to decide if they want to be a smoking or non-smoking establishment not a seperate but equal solution. Surely if the business is there then some bar owners will make theirs non-smoking. They are not in business to loose money, if there is a viable customer base then there will be establishments created to serve them.

    The concept of “separate but equal” means exactly that: what smokers get, nonsmokers also get. It does not mean there are choices to be made. It means that if smokers are given a certain privelege in an establishment, the establishment must also give the same privelege, sans smoke, to nonsmokers. I will laugh (laugh, I tell you!) at anyone trying to say this isn’t fair to nonsmokers and smokers alike. It is still, of course, unfair to workers who still have to deal with the smokers.

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    tom, your desire to control private leisure establishments suggests to me that you would back the efforts of the save-us-from-ourselves patrol when it decides to try to ban fast food and perhaps when it moves on to alcohol (and if it ever succeeds with guns). we are talking primarily about LEISURE ESTABLISHMENTS. and because they are leisure establishments, i’d rather have the owner decide what LEGAL products can be used on the premises. that beats leaving it to nanny staters who don’t have to pay the joint’s bills. pot? kettle? the nanny staters should either make tobacco illegal and stop funding themselves with the $, or get off the pot (as in chamber, not doobage).

    i could care less about whether you smoke, drink, and/or eat big macs, but not much. i mean i’m glad that you live a healthy life, but in the context of this argument, so what?

  • The Theory

    well, the only reason they HAVEN’T outlawed smoking is because of the money the government gets, both in taxes and donations from the tobacco companies.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I don’t know that this is a separate but equal situation. Are we really going to draw lines between smokers and non-smokers like we did the races in the past? It is so completely different. We are talking about bars still right? May I please remind you that we are probably talking about less than 1/100th of a percent of the places on earth that people can go.

    I would also like to reiterate that the big tours in the larger venues and arenas are ALREADY smoke free.

  • Eric Olsen

    Alcohol and Big Macs do not apply because they don’t directly affect other people like smoke does. We do not have the option not to breathe. Bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs will not choose of their own accord to be smoke-free – it just won’t happen. It is not in any way reasonable, fair, or acceptable for nonsmokers to have to breathe secondhand smoke in any environment other than the smoking area of a facility that has a nonsmoking area, in which case they have no right to complain.

  • The Theory

    I agree that “seperate but equal” is the wrong term here.

    And while I’m not opposed to the concept of a different room for the non-smokers at bars (but also don’t see it as totally nessisary), it does seem silly to me to ban smoking totally from all bars.

    A bar without smoke is a lightbulb without, well, light.

    Now, it would make sense to me that for events at bars where people who wouldn’t normally enter one (because of either age, drinking preferences, or because of the smoke), like concerts, that no one be allowed to smoke in that room during that time. The few bars that I’ve been to have other rooms where they serve the beverages, so people could smoke there, just not in the concert room.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    A bar without smoke is a lightbulb without, well, light.

    Actually, this analogy doesn’t work. It would work if it went like this:

    A bar without smoke is a lightbulb without heat. Your analogy indicates that a bar cannot function without smoke because a lightbulb would not be functioning if it did not give off light. Bars are perfectly able to function without smoke. The only reason they don’t right now is because “it’s always been that way.” If smoking were banned in all bars, smokers would get over, very quickly I’m sure, just like they got over not being able to smoke at their desks at work, in movie theaters, and in the restaurants that have no smoking. Life will go on for them, and they’ll still be able to do all of the things they were before. In the meantime, all of us who’ve had to abandon most smoke-laden activities will come out of hiding.

  • The Theory

    I stand by my statement. Because you tearing it apart doesn’t change my point.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Some smokers, perhaps. Some will just not go to bars anymore. No big whoop, but still sad for those of us who would like a night out on occasion. Some areas already ban smoking at bars, you know.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    I think it’s time for a ciggie-break. Damn, I quit!

  • debbie

    For me it is really a moot point because I don’t frequent bars anyway… but I still believe that if non-smokers wanted to they could start their own establishment.

    They could then hire their own entainment.

    I just don’t see it as unfair as long as nobody is standing in your way to create the establishment that you want.

    But you don’t want to do that, you want to use the government to force some small business owner to outlay a bunch of his money to come up with the government mandated changes so that he can keep his bar open…

    Hmm, he can either shut down entirely due to lack of business or spend thousands $$$ to make the changes and hope that the government won’t come back later and say “sorry but we changed our minds, no smoking allowed”.

    The best part about living in the USA is that you get to make “choices”, you can choose which establishment to patron and which ones you don’t spend your money at….

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    the problem for non-smokers is that we don’t have a choice.

    not if we want to see bands player in bars or small clubs.

    ..because most of them are not smoke-free and probably won’t change.

    you can preach all the free-market hocum you want and this will not change.

  • Andy

    me and our singer are the only non-smokers in our band. I HATE playing enviroments where the smoke’s so thick it turns my sax into a giant pipe.

  • debbie

    Then open a smoke free bar….
    hire whoever you want to play in it…..
    that is how it is supposed to work.

    If enough non-smokers wanted to they could stop frequenting the bars, write letters to owners explaining why they are losing their business. If it is a significant amount of business then somebody will fill that need….

    Have you tried this? Have you talked to any bar owners? Have you shown him the money to be made being a non-smoking bar? How do you know it wouldn’t change?

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    debbie:
    That was my comment on noise regulation. You may want to read my later comment which extended my point, bolstered by the comment on noise regulation, that such regulations made it clear that there was no special reason that bars should be exempt from regulation that applied to other workplaces.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig:
    So if you do believe that secondhand smoke is dangerous, then it’s not really much like getting your arm hairs singed flipping burgers. Other than both of those examples being sorta gross for the people who have to breathe the air or eat the burgers, that is.

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    demanding that bar owner X ban people from using a LEGAL product in a PRIVATE LEISURE establishment is no different than banning person X from using the same legal product in the private home of the bar owner.

    are the nanny staters going to decree that i must make my non-governmental super bowl party smoke free? no. unless i have the party in my bar.

    a bar is a private leisure establishment. if you want to ruin bars, buy your own bars and ruin them, on your own dime.

    the point about fast food and booze is fair but a bit off. the rationalization mentality will overwhelm–big macs = fat people = medical costs = nanny staters pass stupid laws. booze = drunk = health problems or car crash or belligerent idiocy = the nanny staters pass more stupid laws. for our own good, the layabout uncle of for the children.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    demanding that bar owner X ban people from using a LEGAL product in a PRIVATE LEISURE establishment is no different than banning person X from using the same legal product in the private home of the bar owner.

    so…no ‘nanny state’ rules are allowed because it’s PRIVATE?

    no fire codes?
    no nanny state-mandated egress rules?
    no nanny state-mandated capacity limits?

    how about in the kitchen?

    no nanny state-mandated hoods over the broilers?

    no nanny state-mandated maximum temperatures in the reach-ins?

    no nanny state-mandated standards for cleanliness?

    …and whose dime it is is a pointless argument as the nanny state is already sucking up plenty of your dimes to subsidize the tobacco crop.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Chris,

    I think I’ve made a pretty good case that banning smoking in bars is making smokers and bar owners who are profiting from it pay for their own costs, be responsible for what they do, stop leaning on the taxpayers to pay for their pleasure, etc. Even disregarding the advantage to society of preventing you from giving people who do not share your tobacco cancer, your rights end at my (and the public’s) pocketbook.

    Hardly “for your own good” so much as “pay your own way, you bum, and get your filthy hands out of my pockets and stop making other people sick.” I’m afraid I’ll lose my liberal credentials if I keep this up, and then what will happen to my Vast Liberal Conspiracy checks that pay my bandwidth fees every month?

    I agree with Eric. Health and safety regulations are not best managed by unrestrained free market forces.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    This is just going around in circles now, with the no-smoking-supporters having to restate what they’ve said over and over because the smoking-supporters keep trying new tactics to twist everything around. It’s pretty funny, because the no-smokers are really just fighting for the right to do things smoke free, while the smokers seemingly think that the entire free world is going to cave in if they have to go outside to smoke a cigarette.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    I remember back in 1990 when the owners of the restaurant I was managing at the time decided to turn it into a non-smoking only establishment. At the time this was a pretty bold move in the area where the restaurant was located.

    There were the usual fears and outcries that the customers would go away and it would hurt business. The reality?

    Business improved.

    I don’t know if this would work in the bar atmosphere today, but I guess there is something to be said about people preferring to eat out at places where smoke isn’t a factor.

    Have to wonder if similar studies have been done with the actual $$ effect on businesses who were once a smoking establishment and changed to non-smoking.

    The bottom line is the bottom line.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Here in Arizona, smoking bans are just beginning. Tempe voted in a ban recently (by a huge margin, by the way,) accompanied by the outcry from smokers who frequent the bars and restaurants near ASU. The predictable outcome is that businesses (that allow smoking) in cities around Tempe have gained business. Big surprise. Smokers obviously took their business elsewhere, but they won’t have anyplace to run eventually.

    A smoking ban won’t mean a thing until it is adopted by all cities without compromise. It will eventually happen, but until then some businesses will suffer because the smokers think they’re going to make a difference. The only difference they’re going to make is killing off the very businesses they pretended to care about. Guess those bars weren’t so important to you that you’d still support them, huh Tempe smokers?

  • http://mcfrank.blogspot.com Chris Arabia

    well tsar tom, now that you’ve decreed that you are right and everyone else is wrong and that therefore anyone who disagrees with you is “twisting” things around, i suppose i’ll go home.

    i am a non-smoker. that said, the self-righteousness in here is thicker than…

    if you think fire codes are part of the nanny state, i’ll just let that speak for itself.

    making smokers pay their costs is fine, but this is not the same thing.

  • debbie

    Tom,
    “A smoking ban won’t mean a thing until it is adopted by all cities without compromise. It will eventually happen, but until then some businesses will suffer because the smokers think they’re going to make a difference. The only difference they’re going to make is killing off the very businesses they pretended to care about. Guess those bars weren’t so important to you that you’d still support them, huh Tempe smokers?”

    Haven’t the non-smokers made up the difference? Why aren’t more non-smokers supporting these businesses since you passed the law to ban smoking?

    What is wrong with smokers going to a smoking bar? What is wrong with non-smokers going to a non-smoking bar?

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Haven’t the non-smokers made up the difference?

    No, they aren’t, because non-smokers are not going to drive an hour across town just to go to the tiny city of Tempe’s non-smoking bars, all of which are aimed at college-age kids.

    What is wrong with smokers going to a smoking bar? What is wrong with non-smokers going to a non-smoking bar?

    Please re-read the comments on this post, including your own, for answers to your own question (which you’ve already asked and have had answered multiple times.)

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    What is self-righteous about demanding the right to breathe air free of cigarette smoke? It’s always been smokers who have been self-righteous about the rights to fill everyone’s air with their smoke. When threatened with a ban or simply being asked to go outside, smokers are the ones who loudly complain about their rights being stepped on. Never once have smokers as a whole stopped and said, “You know, we realize that the majority of people don’t smoke, so we’re going to be courteous and not do this around other people.”

    The problem that you seem to want to deny is that it is fundamentally unfair to people who want to go places that may have smoke but do not wish to deal with smoke. Why would people want to go to places that have smoke? Probably because of an event – a concert or something similar. Can you tell me why it’s fair that smokers have the privelege in this instance? I’m seriously asking you to tell me why. “Because it’s legal” does not count. I’ve asked this over and over and over in these comments and so far no one has addressed this issue. So if I’m being so self-righteous, answer that question.

    What I ask is that events be deemed NON-SMOKING so as not to deny the right to take part in events for people who cannot put up with smoke. Why is this such a huge issue? Again, smokers ALWAYS have the option of taking their smoking OUTSIDE. What is the option for non-smokers, not go at all? (Hint: this is another question I ask you to actually address for once.)

    I’ve said it before: Boulder’s plan is fine. It would be no skin off my nose if smoking were banned altogether, but making all indoor places smoke-free is logical, considering that the majority of people do not smoke, and given the health-risks associated with cigarette smoke.

    So there, once again, is my restatement of what I’ve said many times before. This topic is dead, and I’m plain sick of coming here to defend myself. Consider me done with this topic.

  • debbie

    “Can you tell me why it’s fair that smokers have the privelege in this instance? I’m seriously asking you to tell me why. “Because it’s legal” does not count. I’ve asked this over and over and over in these comments and so far no one has addressed this issue. So if I’m being so self-righteous, answer that question.”

    Because it would be just as fair to have a concert in a non-smoking facility. Then the smokers would not have the advantage, the non-smoker would.

    What is fair about you telling the owner of a business how he has to run it
    “in case” you want to visit it?
    If non-smokers don’t take the time and trouble to “frequent” non-smoking bars then nobody will have them. There wouldn’t be any money in it. You don’t invest your blood, sweat, tears and cash in a business to have it fail! You have to invest something in your own ideas, start patroning the non-smoking bars, let the other bars see that it is a viable way to run the business. The bottom line will encourage other bar owners if they see that it is profitable.

    This is a service industry, not a factory. It will work if the non-smokers show that there is a profit in it.

    This reminds me of all the environmentalist wanting to pass laws to
    “regulate” the type of vehicle that you can drive or the type of vehicle that “can be manufactured”. When I asked them if they took advantage of the new hybred vehicles, NOT ONE OF THEM SAID YES!!!!! NOT ONE!!! Well, those are more expensive… Excuses!!!!
    They don’t want to live what they preach..

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    “So if you do believe that secondhand smoke is dangerous, then it’s not really much like getting your arm hairs singed flipping burgers. Other than both of those examples being sorta gross for the people who have to breathe the air or eat the burgers, that is.”

    Ok, Mike, really slowly now for you. Grab a pen and take some notes.

    When a prospective applicant applies for a job at a fast food restaurant flipping burgers, (s)he should expect that there will be some splattering grease off of the grill which could occasionally singe the arms. I used to work in a place like that when I was younger so I know.

    Also, something relatively obvious is that if you are going to attempt to be a bartender, you do realize what the atmosphere is that you are going to be working in. Don’t get a job as a freaking bartender if you are allergic to smoke.

    So, now tell me something, we have said that there is nothing wrong with a cigar bar right? I believe Eric said that earlier. Well why can’t all bars just be smoking then? What is the difference? A cigar bar is a bar set designated for smoking cigars. A bar is a set designated business for smoking AND drinking. I guess that would be illegal. If I want to open a place and cater it to smokers why shouldn’t I be allowed to do that?

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig:

    It’s Michael.

    I appreaciate that you’re typing slowly because you think I can’t read or think very quickly. Your level of consideration is a credit to blogcritics.

    Grease spatters do not cause cancer.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Dude, I know they don’t cause cancer. All I am saying is when you apply to work at a burger joint, do you expect to keep your shirt clean every day? If you are expecting to work in a smoke free environment as a bartender you are an idiot. Dumb. Stupid. Thick.

    This just in, bartenders work near smokers. It isn’t a big surprise.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig,
    They certainly do work near smokers. They shouldn’t have to, though. Many cities, such as Houston, have workplace smoking bans that prohibit smoking in workplaces. If the city can protect me in my cube from the danger of secondhand smoke, and there is an overwhelming government interest in doing so that overrides individual and business rights to make the determination independently, then the same interest applies to bartenders.

    If workers must be protected from secondhand smoke and bartenders are workers, then bartenders must be protected from secondhand smoke.

    There’s really no valid comparison with grease splatters, because “getting grease on your shirt” isn’t like dying of cancer. The state does not have an overwhelming interest in clean shirts and it does in clean lungs.

  • Eric Olsen

    I have a solution: everyone quit smoking. Yeay!

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Michael, I am done. I tried to explain to you that there is some worker responsibility in choosing their own job. Their own place of business. You won’t listen. You keep telling me that grease splatters don’t cause cancer. I know this. You aren’t following the completely different logical path I am going on here.

  • andy

    I agree Eric. Smoking is sick. And it is unfair for non-smokers to not be able to go into certain enviroments and be FORCED to breathe in smoke. If smoking wasn’t allowed inside the building, that doesn’t take away anyone’s rights. Smokers can go outside and smoke WHERE THEY WON’T INFRINGE ON MY RIGHTS. The whole “If you don’t like it don’t go” is bull crap

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig,

    I agree that we’re talking past each other. I’ve tried to make it clear that I don’t think that because bartenders work near smokers that they should work near smokers. At least we agree that they do, I just don’t agree that they should have to.

    I’m also willing to be done.

    Peace Out.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Ok, I can’t help myself, but nobody has given me an answer on this one. I read that someone said Cigar bars are ok, yet nobody can explain to me on a technical level why this would prohibit someone from having their regular bar be smoking. It is a private business catered to a group of consumers. It shouldn’t be illegal.

    FOCUS ON THIS ONE QUESTION AND I PROMISE TO QUIT

  • Eric Olsen

    Craig, what Michael is saying is that second-hand smoke is not within the range of reasonable risk inherent in any and all jobs: grease-splatter within reason, okay; forced saturation in carcinogens, not okay.

    I get the free market arguments, I am pro-business, especially small business. I prefer market solutions whenever possible, but they aren’t always possible, and one of the things business does worst is address long-term hazards – it just doesn’t fit in to the equation. What is the best business model? Attract the maximum number of customers from the widest possible base: this means drawing smokers and nonsmokers as if there is no difference.

    But there is a difference and that is what all these new rules, regulations and laws have been created to address, have been FORCED to address because the market did not.

    The market says, “Be reasonable – can’t we all just get along?” Unfortunately, no, because the needs and wants of smokers and nonsmokers are fundamentally at odds. If government is for anything at all, it is there to make these kind of difficult decisions and enforce them. It’s that simple.

  • debbie

    Eric,

    “I get the free market arguments, I am pro-business, especially small business. I prefer market solutions whenever possible, but they aren’t always possible, and one of the things business does worst is address long-term hazards – it just doesn’t fit in to the equation. What is the best business model? Attract the maximum numbers ocustomers from the widest possible base: this means drawing smokers and nonsmokers as if there is no difference. But there is a difference and that is what all these new rules, regulations and laws have been created to address, been FORCED to address because the market did not.”

    But it would if the non-smokers would bother to patron the non-smoking establishments….. But as Tom pointed out, it a drive across town, and “that’s unfair” so we need to have government kick the door in a little further by making laws to interfere with a small business because the “non-smokers” don’t want to drive across town….

    It wouldn’t bother me as much if they just lived by what they preach…. If I wanted to attend a non-smoking bar then I would drive to a non-smoking bar…not try to put other people out of business by enacting laws that will detract from their customer base and then refuse to patron the bar myself because I have to “drive across town”

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    But it would if the non-smokers would bother to patron the non-smoking establishments….. But as Tom pointed out, it a drive across town, and “that’s unfair” so we need to have government kick the door in a little further by making laws to interfere with a small business because the “non-smokers” don’t want to drive across town….

    this is crazy. up until recently, the only non-smoking bar i could drive to was not across town but across the state border all the way down to cambridge, ma (the Regattabar at the Charles Hotel).

    southern new hampshire has very few smoke-free bars (and even less clubs w/bands).

    now, of course, there are a lot more smoke-free bars in mass. because of the evil ‘nanny state’ regulations.

    the market model just doesn’t work here.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Debbie’s at it again, so here I am to defend what was perfectly clear to begin with:

    But as Tom pointed out, it a drive across town, and “that’s unfair”

    Debbie, when I say “town,” I use the colloquial sense: “town” as in “general place I live.” This is not “across town” in the sense of some backwoods town – this is basically “across the entire county.” I know it makes your argument work so much better to pretend that I’m living in some tiny town where I can walk from one end to the other in a half hour, but the truth is that I live in Phoenix, a sprawling, complex metropolitan area about the size of Los Angeles. Surrounding Phoenix are equally sprawling and complex suburbs. I live in one of those. My choice right now is to drive nearly 50 miles – that’s about an hour’s worth of driving – just to get to one of these establishments. Then I get to drive another 50 miles back home. This, again, is another hour or so. This is, of course, on top of the 30 miles I drive to and from work everyday. If this is no big deal to you, Debbie, why don’t you go ahead and drive 160 miles and see how you feel about it. Hell, I’ll be generous and have you drive only the 100 that I’d have to drive to do anything without smoke. Practice what you preach, Debbie, if you’re going to bring this up over and over again. The truth is that this is the case for a huge number of people not only in Phoenix and surrounding areas but in most major cities. At some point, it will register with you that it can’t be just one or two establishments but ALL of them.

    The market will not cater to non-smokers because it has never had to, and that will never, ever change unless they are forced to – because someone will always open up another business that allows smoking and all smokers will go there. This is common business sense here. Bars don’t have a choice – they have to allow smoking right now because if they don’t, smokers will boycott them, and their business will go under. You see, the assumption right now is that bars are typically smoke-filled places. Non-smokers who care aren’t going to go seek out non-smoking bars because, essentially, they don’t exist. Think of the advertising revenue a single non-smoking bar would have to front in order to get the word out there that there is an option for non-smokers. Of course, they have to pay money for an ad campaign like that. Where do you get money? Customers. Oh, wait, they don’t have customers yet because no one knows about them. Vicious circle – the end result being the bar goes under. The market caters to smokers because it always has, and unless forced to otherwise, it always will.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Nobody is answering my question… what loophole is going to allow a cigar bar, and what is so different? Shouldn’t a cigar bar be allowed to cater to a specific audience? What makes this so different than a regular bar?

  • Eric Olsen

    I believe no entertainment for one thing

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    a cigar bar is different because it is set up specifically to allow people to enjoy cigars.

    ‘regular’ bars are places where people drink and, in some cases, listen to music.

    …some people happen to like to smoke in regular bars.

    they were not set up for that purpose.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Craig,

    Didn’t we both give up? Where’s my comments patch?

    What if there is no loophole?

  • andy

    I don’t smoke. That’s my right. Since when is it someone else’s right to blow smoke in my face thus causing the same effect that smoking has?

    Why should I give up going to shows and stuff just because I don’t want to breathe in air?

  • debbie

    Tom,

    I agree with you that the bars will remain smoking bars unless forced to change but I don’t agree on how to change it.

    “The market will not cater to non-smokers because it has never had to, and that will never, ever change unless they are forced to – because someone will always open up another business that allows smoking and all smokers will go there.”

    If the smokers go to a different bar that allows smoking, so what….are you saying that there aren’t enough non smokers in your area to keep bars afloat? You don’t want to go where the smokers are anyway….

    You need to be letting them know how much money will be lost by boycott of non smokers. There are getting to be more non-smokers than smokers anyway, they’ll have to create a non-smoking bar… as long as non-smokers refuse to go to the bars and let the owners know why. They want your money just as much as they want a smoker’s money.

    “At some point, it will register with you that it can’t be just one or two establishments but ALL of them.”

    Why? As long as the non-smokers partron the non-smoking bars they will grown in number. If you don’t let them know why you will no longer partron their bar they will realize why they are losing money. If a bar notices that the business in Tempe’s bars are going strong because it is now non-smoking why wouldn’t they become non-smoking and get the business on their side of town?

    I do practice what I preach, I don’t go to smoke filled bars.

    When something upsets me as much as this does you, I complain…loudly…to the owners, I contact the newspaper (editorial) and get others with the same agenda to GET INVOLVED.

    You are right about one thing, I will never understand why you feel that there can’t be bars for smokers and bars for non-smokers. If there are both types of patrons they will both survive.

  • andy

    in other words, it’s not about your right to smoke. It’s about my right to NOT smoke.

  • debbie

    Mark,

    So if the bars in your area decided to call themselves “Ciggarette bars” and served drinks or allowed patrons to BYOB, then that would be ok with you?
    Just change the name? Since it is a “Ciggarette bar” that wants to be seen as trendy then maybe they want to hire entertainment there also….

    What has changed? Nothing but the name.

  • Eric Olsen

    Okay, it’s time to think outside the box, er, carton as the case may be: all establishments that want to allow smoking can … as long as they issue self-contained suits, a la space suits or diving suits, that will henceforth be affectionately know as “smoking jackets.”

  • debbie

    andy,

    “in other words, it’s not about your right to smoke. It’s about my right to NOT smoke.”

    Nobody is forcing you to go anywhere.
    Nobody is keeping you from opening your own non-smoking bar.
    Nobody is going to keep you from hiring your own enterainment.
    Nobody is forcing the bars to remain smoking bars either.
    Nobody is keeping you from letting them know that you will not patronize their business unless they go non-smoking.
    Nobody is keeping you from organizing a large group of non-smokers in your area into do the same thing.

    If the bars in your area start losing $$$ then they will notice and start creating non-smoking bars. Then you can see the small bands that play at those bars.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    debbie:

    Have you read any of the other comments in this thread, such as mine? I would agree with you if this were a matter of taste or preference. I would not support a ban on Country Music in kicker bars just because I hate New Country.

    But exposure to carcinogens isn’t something I want the market to determine. From my point of view, this is about the health of workers and patrons versus the convenience of smokers. I’d rather inconvenience the smokers. Take it outside.

  • Taloran

    Or they could offer HazMat suits to the non-smokers as they enterthe bar, Eric. That’ll keep ‘em safe.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Awesome, Eric.

  • Taloran

    I don’t see how Eric’s idea would work, though it is intriguing. You can’t light a cigarette with the visor of your motorcycle helmet down. So, I think my comment 138 is a much better idea.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    I was thinking that smoker’s cones, based on the “Cone of Silence” from Get Smart, might be a possible compromise. The come down over the smokers head and shoulders and draw the smoke up.

    Plus, they can be combined with a Flowbie type system to allow simultaneous haircuts.

  • debbie

    yeah, the government stepping into your lives is always for your best interest.

  • debbie

    But, hey, if they change their name to Cigarette Bars then no problem.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Debbie:
    “the government stepping into your lives is always for your best interest.”

    I don’t care if the government steps into your life for your interest. I am mostly against it. However, if the government will step into your life to prevent you from damaging my health, that may not be so bad.

  • Eric Olsen

    now you guys are thinking!

    I was going to offer another option involving tracheotomies, but then i thought of the scene from “Beetlejuice” where Sylvia Sydney blows smoke out her neck hole and got grossed out

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    the ‘cigarette bar’ thing is silly…and you know it (tho i doubt you’ll admit it)

    again i will say that market forces should not determine people’s safety when it comes to exposure to known carninogens.

    ang constant crabbing about the government stepping in just won’t work. part of the government’s responsibility is to look out for the general welfare.

    it being able to NOT breath in a known carcinogen doesn’t fall under ‘general welfare’ then i guess nothing does.

    and by the way, so far nobody who has complained about government intrusion has answered the issue of our tax dollars going toward tobacco subsidies.

    i guess it’s just easier to ignore it.

  • Taloran

    Our tax money has to go to tobacco subsidies! How else can the big tobacco growers and marketers contribute huge chunks of change to election campaigns? It’s obvious they don’t make enough profit to do it without those subsidies.

    In my opinion, the only thing that ties these two arguments together is the product involved. I am not aware of any federal smoking ban except the one on airplanes, and I’m not aware of the tobacco lobby giving money to local governments, which are the ones to enact smoking bans. Perhaps if the tobacco folks gave some cash to municipalities, we’d see smoking bans disappear. Conversely, if they stopped giving money to the federal government, there might be a federal ban on public smoking. But this is mere conjecture, until such time as the flow of money from government to tobacco and back changes, which is why I say they’re two separate arguments.

  • queenie

    Concerning the health care costs of smokers, we do not pose any more of a health care risk than non-smoking fast food eaters. You must also consider all other unhealthy habits that bar patrons do more often than not, getting wasted and throwing up ,etc. Do not think you non-smokers can convince us that people that frequent bars enough to worry about second hand smoke are really worried about their health. As often as you would have to frequent a bar to get that amount of exposure to the smoke would be pretty regular. Therefore your liver is in just as bad of shape as our lungs you alcoholic!So, you are costing taxpayers $$$ for your filthy, unhealthy habit that is killing you. I don’t buy the spin that you go to a bar and have less than two or more drinks while attending what you call an “event”. So I suggest you get yourself to an allergist and get some allergy shots for your allery to smoke and quit whining. [Personal attack deleted]

  • http://smoking larry

    i am reminded of a joke a comedian tells. someone who is in a bar drink poison and attempting to have unprotected sex with a complete stranger. then asks you to put out your cigarette out! i am a smoker. i really get irritated when us smokers are banished to the outside of buildings,when there is an intermission in aperformance, the nonsmokers follow us outside and complain loudly about getting fresh air. it doesnt embarass me at all. i live in az where any group can petition the for a cigarette tax for their own purpose.the most recent being an eighty cent taxtax for early schooling.

  • alex

    I come from Scotland, where a total ban on smoking in ALL public and work places has been in effect for about a year now. Please remember that Britain is not as egalitarian as the US and while the ban was welcomed by the health-conscious middle class – in Scotland most smokers are working class and the pubs they go to are not and never have been frequented by the middle classes.So their right to clean air was not infringed. Trendy, up-market places like wine bars have been mostly smoke free for years as have concert halls, cinemas and restaurants. Plenty of choice for the non-smoker. As one of the more thoughtful anti-smokers said – “I suppose we should really start going to pubs now that we’ve had them made the way we want them.” And there lies the rub. They won’t. They won’t rush from their offices to the working men’s pubs after close of business. So all that’s happened is that one group in society has succeeded in banning smoking in places that they don’t go to anyway. I’ve no doubt that they would argue that it’s for the greater good of the country but at the least it seems patronising (and typically class-ridden British) that the working class have now been told that they can’t have a beer and a cigarette ‘for their own good’.