Weekend Debate

Alright, I'm going to kick this one over to my hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. Their lead columnist, Phil Luciano, has a column today making fun of Chicago (one of my favorite activities) for their new ban on smoking tobacco (but not ToMacco) in bars and restaurants.

To quote Luciano:
"I understand the idea that it's poor form for smokers to blast tobacco clouds inside, say, a maternity ward. But other places aren't so obvious, such as restaurants and pubs.

You could argue that the free market - remember that? - should decide whether a smoke-filled eatery should survive. But I'd sacrifice restaurants to save smoking in taverns.

Saloons aren't known for healthy lifestyles or behavior. You won't find treadmills or stair-climbers next to the beer coolers and poker machines."

I, for one, hate the government being able to pass a law banning a legal activity inside of private enterprises. Me thinks it's a case of the gov overstepping their boundaries.

I realize that second hand smoke is a health concern to those who do not smoke, but if you really don't want to be around it, go to a non-smoking bar. If none of those exist where you live, open one. I'm sure a lot of other non-smokers would go to it and you would make a bunch of money.

So here is my question for you, loyal readers: Smoking bans...yeah or nay?
Leave a comment below if you have an opinion (or if you're one of the readers who come here looking for "Fucking in the stadium" or "Mike Lervaag", don't)

Oh my gosh, smoking bans are the GREATEST THING EVER. I hate going out in any city without a ban: my clothes smell like cigarettes, I start coughing, I get headaches. Granted, I used to have a much better tolerance for it, which I've now lost. I'm not unusual, though - once nonsmokers get used to the idea that they can go out without getting smelly clothes and a scratchy throat, there's no going back. This is why I don't think isolated nonsmoking bars are good enough. I never realized how bad it was until I moved here.

The ban is good for everyone (even if it makes smokers uncomfortable, I'm sorry about that, but none of my smoker friends really mind going outside, anyway) It doesn't have an adverse affect on economics, so why not do the healthy thing?
I agree with Julia. I love non-smoking bars and I wish there were many, many more of them in St. Louis. 33 Wine Bar is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, although there may be others. I cannot STAND being in a smokey bar... but whats a girl to do? I fully supported the recent effort in St. Louis County to ban smoking.

People who smoke should quit anyway. Disgusting habit.
I completely and totally agree that smelling like smoke reeks and non-smoking bars are great.

But is it really the government's business to tell joe-twelve-pack that he cant have a camel light while he's enjoying a Busch Lite down at "Whitey's Tip Top?"

Again, if a particular bar wants to make it their policy that you cant smoke in it, thats great, but should they be forced to do it? I think not.

Also, 33 is a great bar. Big fan.
I am a habitual smoker, and I actually enjoy the smoking ban in NYC...I smoke less, I feel the urge to smoke less, and when I want one, I just go outside. No big deal, really.

BUT, that's not to say I think the smoking ban is right, which I clearly do not. Who the fuck is the town or the city to tell me I can't light up in a non-public place? What's next, no smoking in houses or cars? That just makes no sense.

I mean, I enjoy the smoking ban, but if it's too cold or too hot and I wanted to light up inside a bar where I know all 25 people playing pool and listening to Matchbox 20 (or whatever the devil it is you kids listen to), why the hell can't I? There's no explanation out there for why this is a good idea throughout the country. Bars should absolutely be the sole arbitor of their own fate in this debate.

Flipping back and forth is my specialty, so let's go back to why it is okay for the gov't to do this. They mandate public health laws like sanitary conditions, and minimum wage, so why is the smoking ban any different?

Bottom line: I need to pick a side.
There have been smoking bans in place in numerous cities up here for years. The few times I've been back in smokey bars since, it's been absolutely ridiculous... stinging eyes, raspy throat, and clothes that stink up my house for days.

There's a difference between private homes and public restaurants/bars... in one of them, you're actively inviting the public into the establishment, to purchase goods and services. So, in that case, I think it's a good idea to have a safe, non-carcinogenic environment for those people.
The man should not be able to tell us where we can't smoke it up man. What's next - the man telling us where we can't drink bottled water, because by the way, that bottle has to end up somewhere, like up your ass!!!
I'm not a smoker, but I think the smoking bans are kind of stupid. If there is too much smoke in a restaurant or bar for my taste, I leave, or at least step outside for a few minutes to clear my head. All I ask is that smokers not blow their smoke right in my face, 'cause that's just being rude.

Beyond that, I don't care. They can feel free to smoke as much as they want, just don't sue Malboro when you start coughing up your lungs.
I agree with one side of Ace's argument. "They mandate public health laws like sanitary conditions, and minimum wage, so why is the smoking ban any different?"
And I fucking love the smoking bans. The first time I witnessed it was in San Diego (you know, a whale's vagina) and it was awesome. Clothes didn't stink, eyes weren't killing me and the throat felt superb.
But alas, if Nick's pub doesn't put up a smoking ban, its not like I am going to stop going there. While I hate cigarette smoke, I realize that its a person's choice to suck on those cancer sticks. So, good luck to them.
Besides, it doesn't matter what we care, the gov't is gonna do whatever the hell they want.
"Hey man, I got a beverage here"
One of the major supporters of smoking bans was groups representing restaurant and bar workers (e.g. waitstaff). When you think about it, if they're working eight hours a day in a carcinogen-filled environment, it becomes a workplace health/safety issue as much as it does a "patron convenience" issue.

You can talk about free markets and so on, but in the end, people deserve a safe working environment.
You're from Peoria?
Born and raised, buudy.
I spent my freshman year at BU!
if people don't like the working conditions of a place in which they are voluntarily employed, they should get a new job, right?. to say otherwise is akin to saying it's okay for someone to come into your home and demand to you change your house rules.

i despise smoke, and i benefit from the bans . i'm all for smoke-free bars IF it's the free choice of the owner. but this law is complete hogwash. americans need to stop feeling like it's okay to have moral agendas pushed down their throats, whether they agree with said agenda or not.

good post, alex. way to get people thinking!
Despite being a staunch anti-smoker, I sympathize with smokers in that it seems odd that their legal behavior is restricted in public places. However, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” And in this case, I think smoking in enclosed (albeit public) places is detrimental to other people. Maybe a good compromise for this would be stricter regulation on separations between smoking and non-smoking areas. Most restaurants really have no physical divider, just an imaginary line, sometimes separated by a half-wall or a walkway. If the two had to actually be separated by a full wall, that would perhaps appease both sides. Then again, forcing bars/restaurants to wall off a section of their establishments just so they can cater to smokers is not that great of an idea either, but there are a fair number of bars that already have multiple rooms, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
And yes, I had to google that quote in order to figure out who had said it. I'm not actually so pompous as to have that memorized just so I can pull it out in situations like this.
yeah but if a bunch of people who are voluntarily swinging their fists at each other (and like to do so) are in a private building, it seems pretty fair that you should simply not enter said building rather than force them to stop so you can.

i just don't see how supporting this ban is any different than supporting a law that would outlaw smoking in private homes.
Honestly, I would not be surprised if someday legislation is presented barring smoking from private homes (in an effort to try to prevent second hand smoke around children)

I should also note that I found a picture of my dad in 1973, sitting in a chair, holding my sister who was two months old in one hand and a smoke in the other (there was also a Pabst on the table next to him. Classy.) so needless to say, I have been around smoke my entire life and am not nearly as sensitive to it as others.
You're absolutely right ethan, in that I would certainly think twice about entering any building where a bunch of people are voluntarily swinging their fists at each other. However, I think it's very different from banning smoking in private homes. After all, you can't go walking around naked in a bar/restaurant, but it's perfectly legal to do in your own home (even around children) and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Granted, nudity and cigarette smoke have almost nothing in common, except maybe that the majority of voters seem to find them both disgusting.
I knew it was coming...http://washingtontimes.com/metro/20051215-112826-9119r.htm
i'm not so sure it's illegal to walk around naked in a bar - i'm fairly sure there are a number of strip clubs in this here land. as long as the naked bar makes it's intentions known i'm pretty sure it's legal. and of course, the owner reserves the right to not allow anyone they don't want it.
First, in response to the link posted by Alex... wow, this is clearly starting to get out of hand. Sure, thousands of people die every year from lung cancer or what have you brought on by cigarette smoking, but how strong is the correlation between second hand smoke and physical illness? I definitely don't think anybody should be barred from smoking in their own home, even around children really. In the case of foster homes, I'd prefer to leave that to the case workers assigning kids to homes rather than making a law that forbids it.

As for strip clubs, I'm not fully familiar with the laws, and I know there are amateur nights and whatnot, but I always assumed that only the employees were allowed to get naked. I could easily be wrong though.
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