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Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 2006

State court will decide legality of smoking ban

Kansas Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments by opponent of Lawrence’s 2-year-old law

August 29, 2006

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The controversy over the city's smoking ban will be played out on the state's highest legal stage.

The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by Lawrence bar owner Dennis Steffes that the city's 2-year-old smoking ban violates the state's constitution.

Meanwhile, city leaders said the ban would continue to be enforced.

"We vigorously will defend the ordinance," Interim City Manager David Corliss said Monday.

The Supreme Court took the unusual step of agreeing to hear the case though it had not yet been heard by the Kansas Court of Appeals. Douglas County District Court Judge Jack Murphy had heard the case and ruled in June that the ban was constitutional.

A date for the Supreme Court to hear the case has not been set.

Steffes has argued that the ban - which began in July 2004 and made it illegal to smoke inside bars, restaurants and virtually all other indoor workplaces - is unconstitutionally vague. He said the law did not provide sufficient instructions on what business owners were required to do if a person was smoking in their businesses.

Steffes also has argued that the Lawrence law illegally supersedes state law. Steffes interprets the state law as only allowing governments to require businesses to provide smoke-free areas, but says it does not allow a city to completely ban smoking within a business.

City attorneys, though, have argued the ban is constitutional and provides specific instructions. The ban doesn't supersede state law, they argue, because state law specifically allows local governments to pass ordinances more stringent than state law. City attorneys also note the Lawrence ban does not prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas of a business.

Steffes had asked the Kansas Supreme Court to hear the case without its going through the Court of Appeals. Corliss, who also is the city's director of legal services, said it wasn't common for a case to go directly to the Supreme Court on appeal. But Corliss said it also is not unheard of for the Supreme Court to immediately take a case when it involves a statewide issue of growing importance.

"This was not totally unexpected," Corliss said.

Since Lawrence began its smoking ban in 2004, several other Kansas communities have followed suit, with Olathe becoming the largest and most recent city to enact a ban.

Comments

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

yeah, you had us until your crusade about marijuana.
It's a drug, it's illegal, get over it.

Kelly Powell 8 years, 4 months ago

i really have not heard anybody bitching about it lately....so basically you people are kicking us when were down....as for weed, well at least cigarettes do not make you lazy apathetic....as for addiction why do all the chronic smokers of pot turn into jerks if they cannot get high? I'm all for legalazation, but get off your high horse man you sound like a tool.

pooter 8 years, 4 months ago

what a ruse.

the logic behind the smoking ban falls way short.

alcohol kills both drinkers and non drinkers so why not ban drinking in restaurants and bars too.

*

Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 4 months ago

Ban cars,guns and the army. They all seem to kill both those involved and others not even doing it. If this is your basis for arguement, that it kills, we have a lot more to worry about. People can simply remove themselves from this situation, as well as many others, if a smoker is violating are clean air. Same could be said for a smoker who is around others who don't. But he doesn't have an option, no rather, Progressive Lawrence steps in once again and tells it's citizens how they are suppose to live.

BigAl 8 years, 4 months ago

Right or wrong, this seems to be a trend. Lawrence isn't the only city with this ban. I believe that it will become law on a national level in the not too distant future.

girly 8 years, 4 months ago

It seems that the vocal non-smokers are carrying their desire to not be around smoke to a point where the rights of other citizens, i.e. business owners, are being unfairly taken away. It's a legal activity, it should be up to the person who owns the business as to whether it's allowed in their establishment. If you don't like it, don't go there, and don't work there. It's that simple.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

pooter -

By alcohol killing non-drinkers, I assume you mean things like drunk driving or bar fights or irresponsible use of firearms or other destructive behaviours people engage in when they drink.

I agree completely that those things should be banned.

That's why I'm glad they're all already illegal.

Or are there passive alcohol deaths of which I'm unaware? Secondhand cirrhosis, perhaps?

The comparison doesn't wash. In general, you can't compare smoking to drinking or unhealthy eating because the act itself doesn't present a direct long-term risk to those exposed to people doing it (with the minor exception of those who have to spend a lot of time with the poisonously flatulent).

It's a pretty ineffective argument against the smoking ban to gripe about booze, because it proves the opposite of your point. The fact that things like drunk driving or having firearms in a bar are prohibited is actually precedent for regulating the behaviours of adults when those behaviours become a danger to those around them. No one says you can't sit in your house and get so blotto you can't see any more, then start cleaning your gun. But a bartender opens himself up to legal liability if you're too drunk to stand up and he keeps serving you, and carrying that gun into a bar to clean it would get you ejected and probably arrested. Heck, even walking out the front door with your beer is illegal.

Every time you make that comparison, all you do is reinforce the awareness that you are already regulated as to where and when you can do things, and that people seem comfortable with the majority of those regulations. I don't think there's a lot of advocates for making the open container and public intoxication laws go away, really, so precedent says you'll all get used to smoking bans, too.

Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 4 months ago

"The fact that things like drunk driving or having firearms in a bar are prohibited is actually precedent for regulating the behaviours of adults when those behaviours become a danger to those around them"

I don't use this arguement in the terms you describe. It's legal to use guns, carry them concealed in some states. It's also legal to drink.

That said, you are far more likely to die in a gun accident if you own a gun then not. You can have a gun in public, and sometimes without others even knowing. So if you get angry what's to stop you from shooting someone in an arguement.

Drinking, well i think we all know the social issues that provides; ie, drinking and driving, domestic abuse, severe health risk, and of course, public intoxication.

MY arguement lies that there are many activities the are both legal, and allowed in public spaces that can produce negative results.

Everything we do can be deemed risk to our health. But smoking is seen as any easy choice; do it, or don't, which is relevant to everything we do in life.

OfficeGirl 8 years, 4 months ago

I have been on both sides of the smoking fence. However, I have always been considerate of nonsmokers, smoking in my own car when no one else was in it or at my home-outside. I never liked going to a restaurant and trying to eat with the smell of cigarette smoke all around. Sickening. I have never smoked in the car with anyone inside it who didn't smoke, even if it was my car. I have never smoked in the house or car with children in it. It's just common courtesy, plain and simple. We wouldn't be going through all of this if smokers could just show a little common courtesy. We do not have the right to smoke up everyone else's air just because we choose to smoke. The secondhand smoke health issues are very real and there is nothing wrong with barring folks from smoking anywhere that it could harm someone else. Neither side needs to be irrational about it. Just be considerate.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

00jester:

If you don't use the argument in the terms I describe, then my post probably isn't relevant to your behaviour, no?

I'm curious. What acts that are harmful to others are legal in public areas? Sure, it's legal to carry guns, and to drink. The risk of carrying a gun is getting shot. It's not legal to shoot people except under very specific purposes. The risks of drinking are developing long-term health problems (which passive exposure hasn't been shown to cause), driving drunk and hurting or killing someone else (illegal), getting in a barfight and hurting someone else (illegal), and falling down and hurting yourself on the barstool (again, not shown to be a threat with passive exposure).

Bartenders who are surrounded by drunks for years on end aren't at risk for alcohol's long-term health problems by virtue of the choices of others. Bartenders who are surrounded by smokers for years on end are at risk for smoking's long-term health problems by virtue of the choices of others.

This isn't actually a justification of the smoking ban; it's pointing out that one of the most common arguments used against it is illogical.

If I choose to drink, I'm legally barred from doing it in a manner that has the potential to harm others. Comparing it to a smoking ban, without advocating the end of drunk-driving laws, assault laws, and laws against drunk and disorderly behaviour, isn't a good comparison.

belle 8 years, 4 months ago

It's not about having to walk outside to smoke. It's about the government mandating stuff that they shouldn't. It should be up to the business owner, just as it is up to the business owner to decide if they want a liquor license or not.

mom of three, as far as marijuana goes, good luck getting people to just "get over it." It is a drug, and it is illegal, but why? Alcohol and cigarettes are worse, yet the government has found way to tax it, so it can be "legal." Hard to make sure you get all your money off of something that is a plant! Our country's "War on Drugs" is a losing war. We are losing resources and money on something that WILL NOT be won. Somethine else has to give.

Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 4 months ago

Simply said, badger, what i'm doing isn't illegal. It is, or rather should, be withing my right to do harm to my body where i choose. It should also be your right to avoid potential health risk due to others deviant behavior.

It's not an issue of me having to go outside to smoke. I actually prefer it beacuse i don't like surrounding myself in smoke, so most of the time i choose to go outside anyway. But i shouldn't have to. Just like you shouldn't have to be around smokers when you're not. It's your choice to leave. No one is telling you that you can't do something, which is why i assume many don't have issue.

But until it's something you do that others don't and it's within every right of yours to do so, but your secluded to certain areas to do it, i don't expect you to understand.

ruby2 8 years, 4 months ago

florida has a state-wide ban on smoking and you don't see something about it in the papers every month.

bugmenot 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, but, a bar holds, what? 50 to 100 people. You're telling me that if just one person chooses to smoke and none of the other 99 people want to breathe smoke that they should have to go somewhere else?

Maybe we should compare the ban to "no shoes, no shirts, no service" restrictions. If there are just a few people who want to do something (like go barefoot in a restaurant or smoke in an enclosed place) that has unhealthy consequences for the many more people who don't choose to do that activity, the minority loses. And, no one's trying to keep people from smoking; they're just saying if it's in an enclosed space, you need to take it somewhere not enclosed. That's all. I can't believe some people are in such an uproar about it. No one is telling you what you can and can't do; they're just saying that some activities in small, confined spaces are unhealthy and offensive for most of the population

If I were a smoker, I think the thing I would find most offensive about this law is that it presupposes I am rude and that I need to be forced to be considerate of others. Sadly, a lot of people, smokers and nonsmokers, are rude. When their rudeness gets in the way of other people's health, there comes a time where depending purely on people being considerate doesn't work. If people thought more about other people in everything they did, we wouldn't need laws like this. This law is more of a commentary on the sad state of human interaction than anything.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Badger, What acts that are harmful to others are legal in public areas?

What about the smoke and emissions from factories? Aren't all those fumes a health hazard to those that come in contact with them?

What about driving? Or is the burning of fossil fuels in engines not a health risk? Are there no negative health consequences from breathing in car and truck exhaust?

See, we ARE willing to put up with something that is harmful to others, even in a second-hand way, because it's our own sacred cow. Because cars and their exhaust are something that people aren't willing to give up, even though there are alternatives.

I have seen many an asthmatic person or one with other lung problems who have great difficulty around both car exhaust and fumes from factories. Yet no one has proposed banning them because it's a health risk.

I don't believe that the ban, and those in favor of it, are doing it primarily because of any perceived health benefits for anyone. They are doing it simply because it's something they don't like, and since they don't do it anyway, it doesn't bother them to ban it.

If they were really altruistic in their motives for banning things because of the health risks to others, there are a lot more things that they could ban.

But they aren't.

robinrander 8 years, 4 months ago

belle says: "It's not about having to walk outside to smoke. It's about the government mandating stuff that they shouldn't. It should be up to the business owner, just as it is up to the business owner to decide if they want a liquor license or not."

So, belle, I assume that you are opposed to other public health and safety regulations, right?. Should it be up to the business owner to decide if their restaurant meets the health code, or has adequate fire exits? Why should government be forcing business to maintain a standard of cleanliness or food preparation? Why should exits have to be clearly marked? Why should they have to send the cook home if he has hepatitis? Should we all just vote with our dollars?

ksmoderate 8 years, 4 months ago

All good points, but I think crazyks has hit it on the head.
I walk outside to smoke and suffer the dirty looks from passersby. Those same passersby have no problem whatsoever filling up their vehicle, all the while inhaling gas fumes.

Argument over. We can all go home now.

bugmenot 8 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, nonsmokers don't want to be around smoke because they don't like it. Your complaint with the smoking ban is that it isn't truly altruistic?!?

I'm sure smokers who are up in arms are motivated purely from a political standpoint. They're interested in not letting the government regulate smoking because it violates their understanding of American federalism. Not because they just like smoking while at bars and it's a pain to go outside.

Everybody's selfish. That's the whole point of this law. If you're selfishness makes you want clean air and someone else's selfishness makes them want to smoke and make the air dirty, if we hold a vote, smokers will lose. Smokers are so much in the minority that they can't even get this issue on ballot to vote on it.

I hardly think attacking the ban's proponents' lack of altruism is a realistic criticism.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Those same people, ksmod, have no problem with using their barbecues all summer long, polluting the neighborhood, which basically puts the same carcinogens in the air as smoking a cigarette does.

It's even worse when they use starter fluid on those barbecues. Then you have other chemicals added to the smoke.

I guess that isn't a health hazard to others.

bugmenot 8 years, 4 months ago

The barbecue argument doesn't wash. You are OUTDOORS. There is no ban on smoking OUTDOORS because the fumes at least dissipate. They can't dissipate indoors.

Yes, we are terrible as a society about mandating other fumes into the air, and we abuse horribly the air's assimilative capacity for pollutants. I'm completely in favor of fixing that. There are so many easy fixes for it, and it is pure laziness that people can't be bothered to conserve our clean air supply and consider their impact on the enviroment.

Maybe, though, by demonstrating that we need to care more about what we breathe in at a very local level, people generally will become more aware of what is and isn't good for their lungs and our environment. I don't see how you can argue that because we allow barbecue grills outside, which spew the same toxins as cigarettes do, that it is an inconsistent policy. There are never barbecue grills operating in confined spaces precisely because there's nowhere for the toxins to go but into people's bodies. Same thing with cigarettes, which is why the ban's in place.

Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 4 months ago

Live, be happy and free...unless me and my friends don't like it then you're SOL

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

crazyks -

The factories? Heavily regulated with regard to their emissions, with massive fines as a result of any sort of leakage. Think we don't have highly restrictive environmental regulations designed to reduce the impact of those factory stacks? Try comparing to China or Korea, where tourists are advised to take breathing masks because the air is so very toxic. During a recent business trip to Seoul, my previously healthy SO developed bronchitis from the pollution. You better believe that the laws keeping mercury from being dumped in our drinking water or requiring scrubbers on coal factory exhaust make a difference.

Take a look at the changes since the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and you have the clear demonstration of the legislation of environmental pollutants to reduce health risks from 'significant' to 'minimal'. Companies aren't legally allowed to engage in that behaviour that presents a clear risk to others.

That legislation came about because there was a clear and demonstrated health risk to the population at large, and that legislation has reduced the health risks the pollution presented. Cars have emissions standards, and many states which require inspections require that they continue to meet a certain emissions standard to be licensed.

It is illegal to expose workers to those chemicals coming out of the stacks in enclosed workspaces, and to require them to work where they'll be exposed to those hazards without providing them safety training and equipment.

The comparison again doesn't wash. The significantly dangerous behaviours are in fact prohibited by law.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

The fumes dissipate? When I've got my windows open next door, the damned fumes come right at me. Sometimes for hours at a time. When was the last time you were exposed to cigarette smoke for hours at a time? Does it take you that long to eat in a restaurant?

Oh, yes, of course, all dangerous fumes that are hazardous to your health dissipate in the open air, outdoors. This is why there is no smog in large cities like New York and L.A. from car exhaust, factory fumes, etc., and they don't issue health alerts to people who are merely going outside.

Have you ever collected a bottle of that pure, OUTDOORS air, and had it analyzed? You might learn something.

And a lot of people use the good old fireplace, or the good old wood stove, all the time, which also spews the same carcinogens into the air, and that isn't OUTDOORS. Vented, yes, but a certain amount always goes into the air in the room. What amount is acceptable to you?

I don't see anybody claiming that having a fire in the fireplace should be punishable by law, and you should have your kids yanked from you if you do it around them. The same has been proposed for smokers.

Are you willing to give up your car, bugmenot, because the exhaust is dangerous to others?

I never claimed to be altruistic in opposing the ban. Yes, there's a health risk in smoking, but I also believe the majority of that health risk is to the smokers themselves, not to everyone around them. I believe the reports have been blown far out of proportion to the actual danger involved. You can find studies that support any view you have on anything. Doesn't prove anything to me. Statistics are far too easily skewed and manipulated to show what you want them to show.

Smokers are just the latest "in" group to bash, that's all.

I am against the smoking ban because it violates my concept of American FREEDOM.

When there was no smoking ban, I could choose where I would or would not go to eat. Sometimes I picked a place that allowed smoking, sometimes I went to a place that didn't. Which was the same choice given to the non-smokers at the time.

Now, the non-smokers still have a choice, but the smokers don't.

And next time you want to put on more after shave or cologne or perfume, or whatever it is you wear, please go outside to do it, regardless of the weather conditions. And if it takes you longer than five minutes to do so, that's just too bad. You have to do it out there, anyway.

I suppose people don't use those things in confined areas INSIDE either, huh?

bugmenot 8 years, 4 months ago

It takes me a normal amount of time to eat a meal; it takes longer to spend time in a bar. I'd imagine someone who has a 6 to 8 hour shift takes issue with your idea that there just aren't that many people exposed to smoke for hours at a time.

Smokers are not the latest in group to bash. Smokers just hate being reminded that their "habit" is going to kill them because it involves inhaling carcinogens. The problem is that others have to inhale them, too.

I never said that any pollution completely dissipates in the air. That's why I said we terribly abuse air's ASSIMILATIVE CAPACITY. That is the capacity the air has to dissipate particulate matter (i.e anything not gaseous).

Your concept of American freedom impinges upon others' concept of freedom. There are two ways to solve the problem of people not wanting to breathe in smoke inside; either smokers leave or nonsmokers leave. I think it's only fair to ask the fewer in number to step outside.

I spent three years studying air quality; I think I've learned quite a bit.

You can still eat at any restaurant you want; you just have to step outside when you want to smoke.

For the record, I own a car that gets 42 miles to the gallon and I walk to work every day. I don't know if I'd be willing to give my car up completely, but I'm doing what I can to make this world cleaner. More than most, I'd wager.

I don't even understand what you're getting at with the perfume argument.

bugmenot 8 years, 4 months ago

It is scientific fact that second hand smoke is very dangerous for people. Recently, doctors found that in even short periods of time, it is harmful in the following ways:

5 minutes: The aorta begins to stiffen 30 minutes: The blood begins to become "sticky" with activated blood platelets; damage to the artery linings begins; blood vessel dilation is reduced 2 hours: Heart rhythm may become disturbed

Oh, but "you can find studies to support anything," right? It's funny how there aren't ever any studies that say second hand smoke isn't bad for people. The only thing I can figure when smokers claim that the science is shaky is that they are trying to make themselves believe that people are just wrong about the dangers of cigarette smoke generally. Why else would people keep smoking? And forcing smoke on others? If it makes you feel better to attack science to justify your habit, go for it. I don't see what's so horrible about stepping outside for 5 minutes.

Kelly Powell 8 years, 4 months ago

But it would be fine if it was pot smoke? oh yes, i forgot pot is a magic plant that has no carcinogens or tar....And unicorns and pixies have it with their tea parties in the gumdrop forest.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

So you've never heard of all the chemicals used in perfumes, and the health hazards they pose for people?

By using Locke's logic, then, I suppose everyone will have to give up their cars because they harm the right to another's "life, HEALTH, liberty, or possession"?

If you want to be able to enjoy a bar and music (like bars are conductive to your health, anyway) without smoke, then I propose that you get people to open bars that are specifically non-smoking to begin with, and not use ones that were forced to become non-smoking whether they wanted to be or not.

I do not believe it is okay to ban something that is legal. It is far easier to state that people that don't want to be around it go someplace else. Nobody puts a gun to your head and makes you go anywhere that allows smoking.

And yes, smokers ARE just the latest "in" group to bash. Cell phone users are rapidly catching up, though.

Yes, you can find studies to support any position that you want. Go ahead. Look up studies that conclude that second-hand smoke is NOT dangerous to others. They're just as easy to find. And they also have been done by reputable scientists.

Why should I have to go outside for five minutes, and not continue to sit at my table, over my meal, which I paid for the same as you, when you aren't forced to do the same? Would you consider it inconvenient if they made you leave your table and go stand outside for five minutes, every time that I do?

Bravo for the car you use, and walking to work. I also have a car that gets about that mileage. I can't walk to work, though, because it's too far away. However, I don't drive much when I'm not at work.

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

Where is this gumdrop forest you speak of? I want to go there, with the pixies and unicorns and where everyone doesn't whine about anything and everything.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Logicsound, the argument is actually that you think it's okay for you to pollute the air with car exhaust and factory fumes, because you're willing to accept that in order to have what you want. But you don't think that others should have the same rights.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

In other words, you think that your type of pollution is okay, and a necessary evil, but mine is not.

How elitist of you.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

Crazy, did you even read my post?

We have, in this country, incredible regulation on environmental pollutants. Please believe me, the restrictions on industry in this country are some of the strictest in the world when it comes to air quality.

In cities like St. Louis, where ozone is a problem, some municipal governments have instituted special emissions testing. Kansas is way behind the times; in most states you can't license a car if it doesn't pass some form of emissions or at least safety testing annually.

No industrial employer would be allowed to subject an employee to the level of carcinogenic pollutants available in the average bar on a Friday night without training and protective equipment like a respirator.

Your belief that somehow industrial environmental pollutants are less regulated than smoking and that the government isn't taking extremely serious steps to minimize people's exposure to them is just plain wrong. Check out www.osha.gov or www.cdc.gov/niosh/ to see just how closely atmospheric quality is regulated in the workplace.

Remember that smoking bans are usually less about casual exposees like other diners, and more about those whose workplace that location is.

It's not about 'necessary' pollutants or things being 'evil', it's about an extension of a long-established governmental tradition of regulating workplace conditions to minimize worker exposure to known hazards.

I'm not even saying it's right or it's wrong. What I'm saying is that none of this should have surprised anyone, because government regulating personal and corporate behaviour as a matter of employee or public safety is nothing new.

rpm 8 years, 4 months ago

"get used to it" ?? "go outside"??

Fact. Bar owners have lost money. Ask them.

Either side of this issue could "go outside". Why legislate it?

Before the ban, all of these non-smokers spoke of spending more time and money in these places if the ban was passed.They haven't. If they have, apparently there were more smoker's than they told us and everyone else because the lack of revenue tells me a very different story. That, or they backed out on their word.

The smoker's offered a mulitude of compromises yet, not one single idea was considered. The plan was already set in stone long before the commish voted.

This whole idea is a ruse to force their personal agenda on those who annoy them. What next? Are you going to make me pray?

robinrander 8 years, 4 months ago

For once I wish the people opposed to this ban would state a legitmate, rational argument why it is unsound. If you can't put forth a reasonable and APPLICABLE argument to support your position, then walk away, please.

The closest you seem to come is the argument that government ought not regulate private activity. Unfortunately for you, you picked the wrong country to live in, because our Constitution has been interpreted to allow regulations and restrictions on almost everything.

When you start resorting to arguments about pot and perfume and BBQ grills, I truly can't understand how you don't realize how rediculous you are.

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know what the Lawrence rules are re: opening a private club and allowing smoking? Like Olathe did, when they passed the ban, it was for all public places, excluding private clubs.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

logic -

In places where things are illegal, like smoking or drinking, some businesses get around it by operating as a private club. There's a restaurant here, just outside of Austin, that's across the line into a dry county. You pay a dollar, sign a registry, get a wristband, and you're a member of the private club and can purchase alcohol from the private bar.

There was, for example, a business in Lawrence for several years that operated as a clothing-optional private club for members only.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

logic -

One of the compromises offered by smokers was that if a restaurant wanted to put in separate smoking and non-smoking sections with completely separate ventilations and double doors between the two areas, that they be able to keep their smoking sections. I found that eminently reasonable, but it was rejected on the grounds that servers would still have to work in that section and be exposed to smoking risks.

Another offered compromise was to ban the smoking in restaurants but keep it in venues which made most of their money in alcohol sales. This was also rejected for the same reason as above.

I think, on the whole, that many of the anti-ban folks have been pretty reasonable, but the "How DARE you tell me what to do! I'm AMERICAN!!!" crowd really hasn't. Since the days of Upton Sinclair, we should not be surprised when government starts stepping in and telling us just exactly what to do and when to do it for our own good.

And, lest you forget exactly why they do that, I might suggest a rereading of "The Jungle" as a reminder of what it was like when there weren't any government regulations about workplace and food safety.

I'd prefer a balance of rules vs. freedoms, but if we have to go to one extreme, I'll take this one over what Sinclair saw.

ksmoderate 8 years, 4 months ago

Logrithmic,

On your list of facts, it's important to remember that although some smokers act like idiots, not all do. Be nice to the nice smokers!

Also, for me and many friends who are smokers and who never went on to do any other drugs, what are the stats supporting your claim that nicotine is THE gateway drug? I'm sure it happens, but what's the percentage of smokers who go on to do more and worse drugs because they smoke? Just curious.

rpm 8 years, 4 months ago

logicsound04 -- The list of compromises included time frames when smoking would be permitted such as in Salina's "after 8pm" (I believe that's the time) so folks could eat in a smoke free environment (which I perfer even though I smoke. I never smoke in restaurants or in the company of folks who don't..I move away from them, downwind...it's a courtesy), other's were offers of incentives for better ventilation (many private owner's can not afford to upgrade their current system and why couldn't some of the cigarette tax be used to help with these improvements), absolutly no plans have ever been made to accomodate smoker's being pushed outside such as weather protection (we all get cold and wet...but, non-smokers could care less about those filty, dirty smokers) or even ash trays (white buckets abound...tacky and bad, visually, for downtown Lawrence). You see, it's not about stepping outside for a 7 minute smoke, we like to have a cigarette with out drink, not between them, and there is no right of yours that trumps my right to do so. Why is it you can't go outside and enjoy the clean, fresh air and we stay inside? Because we're dirty filthy people and we're killing everyone. Anyway, I thought I'd waste my time sharing some of the actual thought process some exersized as opposed to just kicking and screaming. Some of us looked for common ground.

jayhawks71 8 years, 4 months ago

hey redneck you said: "as for addiction why do all the chronic smokers of pot turn into jerks if they cannot get high?"

You should see a smoker denied the chance to smoke when he/she needs a cigarette. See the threads from 2 years ago when the an was enacted. Lots of angry smokers; they were probably puffing while they typed.

As for marijuana, it is a plant (one that grows in the wild without a farmer!). The government spends BILLIONS "fighting" the "war on drugs." What a joke. This warring mentality that Americans have developed is sickeningly primitive. Why not just butt out and let people put into their bodies what they choose. Let people smoke , drink alcohol, get high. The crime isn't the "smoking" the "drinking" or the "toking". The crime is when someone's rights are infringed (e.g., you kill someone while driving.).

KS 8 years, 4 months ago

logrithmic - You seem to be so sure of yourself that the Supremes will uphold this ban. Have you been having secret lunches with members of the court thereby influencing them? Remember, there have been State Supreme courts that have overturned laws that have been voted in by the people before. That argument doesn't hold.

belle 8 years, 4 months ago

robinrander writes: "So, belle, I assume that you are opposed to other public health and safety regulations, right?. Should it be up to the business owner to decide if their restaurant meets the health code, or has adequate fire exits? Why should government be forcing business to maintain a standard of cleanliness or food preparation? Why should exits have to be clearly marked? Why should they have to send the cook home if he has hepatitis? Should we all just vote with our dollars?"

The things you are mentioning have to do with the building, structure, health codes, etc. I'm fine with the government having standards for the business, I'm not fine with the government mandating what the customers can and cannot do, THAT is up to the business owner. It is also up to the business owner to enforce it if he/she doesn't want smoking in their establishment. If the individual does not comply, they can always call the police. WE DO NOT NEED A LAW FOR EVERYTHING! It is nice to be able to go to a restaurant and not come home smelling like smoke. However, once we become willing to let government take control of every decision and make laws for everything, then we are in serious trouble. ..

cmdln 8 years, 4 months ago

You have to love how caring people are these days. I am so moved that my fellow human beings care so much about me and everyone else that they are ready, willing, and even eager to forgo their freedom for the safety of everyone else. I mean honestly I don't know what I would do without the government. How would I be able to consume to my hearts content? Thankfully the same people that are willing to give up their own freedoms for others safety are also willing to give up other people property for the benefit of the entire community when a new business moves into town (Ya speedway!). Seriously, I smoke. I don't smoke in my own car, I don't smoke in my own house, I get non-smoking hotel rooms (and go outside to smoke), and when I goto a restaurant I generally sit in a non-smoking section. I believe that I am polite about my smoking most of the time but I believe it is up to the establishment to decide if a specific activity is acceptable on their premises. Clubs that cater to the Hip-Hop crowd are more prone to violence. While I also believe if two people would like to duke it out they should be able to, unfortunately sometimes bystanders get injured. Those bystanders chose to attend that type of club knowing the crowd that generally attends. (I kind of doubt that people who hang out at the Jazz House or The Red Lion are going to go rob a gas station en mass) Are we going to outlaw certain music? I certainly hope not, diversity is a good thing and you can choose to surround yourself in any type of harmful environment or not. So there are no non-smoking establishments in town and you want one? You think the rest of the public does too? Wow sounds like a good time to open up a non-smoking bar or non-smoking restaurant. Why must you force everyone else to bend your way. Now I cant even open up a smoking-only establishment. The government believes it is mandated with controlling the population. When in fact the populous is mandated with controlling the government. Party: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

sarah_hunter 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with both sides, yet more so for the ban.

I am a smoker, yet do not like being in a cloud of the filth.

Would you blow cigarette smoke into the face of a child? (Hopefully your answer is no) So why blow smoke into the faces of a room full of people? Yes, they can go some where else or choose a different seating area, but whatever happened to respect for others?

On the other hand, I also believe that an establishment (mostly places serving alcohol) should have the right to choose whether or not they allow smoking. To be honest, and I know this goes for most smokers, when i have a couple drinks I like to have a cigarette as well. This is some what off the wall, but let me set up a situation. Let's say someone is at a bar that does not offer an outside seating area (LOTS of bars do not) and there is a smoking ban, the said person has had a little too much to drink yet has to go outside to have a cigarette, once the person is outside....they are now publicly intoxicated....which is ILLEGAL! (They could be arrested, which would be very off the wall, but either way they would be drunk in public).

I know you will all say that they could choose to go to a place with an out-door seating area....but....Im just trying to make a point for both sides.

I dont know why Kansas doesnt worry about the more important topics first. For instance: raising the driving age....seeing as how motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers, 16 yr olds have higher rates then any other age, and 16 yr olds are also 3 times more likely to die in a car accident then the average of ALL drivers. And why not raise the legal drinking age while their at it?!

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Of course we have government regulations on environmental pollutants, Badger, but no matter how hard we try, there is no way to totally eliminate them from the air. They have been reduced, but they haven't been banned. A certain level of pollutants in the air is still acceptable.

Yet the government feels the need to totally eliminate cigarette smoke from restaurants and bars. There is no such thing as an acceptable level.

And there is no way to totally eliminate factory emissions. The only way to do so is to close the factory so there are no longer any emissions at all.

Logic, if a restaurant could have an employee sign a waiver if they were going to serve people in the smoking area, then they could have just as easily had employees sign such a waiver before the ban, stating that they understood the possible dangers of working in an establishment that allowed smoking but chose to do so anyway.

I have no problem at all with their being separate smoking sections, with separate ventilation systems. That would have been a way to make everyone happy, but it wasn't given as an option.

Restaurants that allowed smoking could also just as easily posted signs at every public entrance stating that it allowed smoking, and they could have had customers sign waivers as well.

Sasquatch, I suggest you do some research on the chemicals that are commonly used in soaps, perfumes, and candles, and read up on what inhaling those scents can do to people, and has. Many people with lung problems can't be around things like perfume, bleach, grills, burning candles, paint, ammonia, and other cleaning supplies.

And I'm not talking about smokers. I'm talking about people with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Contrary to popluar belief, all people who suffer from these ailments are not smokers.

cmdln 8 years, 4 months ago

I dont know why Kansas doesnt worry about the more important topics first. For instance: raising the driving age....seeing as how motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers, 16 yr olds have higher rates then any other age, and 16 yr olds are also 3 times more likely to die in a car accident then the average of ALL drivers. And why not raise the legal drinking age while their at it?!

That is an entirely different topic. However since the 16 year olds are 3 times more likely to die in a car accident than other drivers what do you think will happen if you raise the age to 18? All of the sudden your youngest drivers just happen to be a bit older. Age alone does not increase experience or the ability to make sound decisions. All you will do is shift the stats and the 18 year olds will be the ones 3 times as likely to die in an accident, then again it might shift it all the way to 70+ year olds since they may tend to be a bit more frail. Maybe we should outlaw 70+ year olds from riding in cars because its dangerous.

For those in the age group of 1 to 30 years, the leading cause of death is being involved in a car accident. People, who are between 15 to 24 years, and those who are above 75 years of age, are the people who are most severely affected by car accidents.

Wow with statistics like those it looks like the only safe people in cars are 25-74. Quick to the legislature ....

prioress 8 years, 4 months ago

"So we all pay for the addiction of the few. If we begin to eliminate the desire for this addiction, there will be added benefits - lower taxes and lower health care premiums." +++++++ Take care logrithmic. Smokers are dying younger so the rest of you can have more Social Security. Speaking of addictions, the govt. is addicted to the tax income they get from cigarettes, and the parties are addicted to the money tobacco firms lavish on both the R's and D's. Businesses should be able to decide when and if they will allow for smoking. Nonsmokers can take their business elsewhere if they choose to do so.

rpm 8 years, 4 months ago

Sasquash -- Careful. I didn't "lie". Watch how you conduct your commentary. What little credibility you still possess is fading.

You've also chosen to not list the bars you claim have shown profits.

You state that those "profitable" bars added outside seating. Louises put it out in the alley. Who else? Not the Harbor, Red Lyon, Stu's, Sandbar, Taproom, Rick's (who has outside seating but you can't bring your drink outside) Long time, privately owned Lawrence businesses who pay taxes and are currently not allowed to conduct business as they should be. The city commish chose to impose this new smoking ban without an exit stragedy, not only sending smoker's outside without ash trays or comfortable seating, but missing the opportunity to find common ground with both non-smoker's and many bar owner's by allowing them outside seating, which is currently controlled by a very restrictive ordinance prohibiting many from adding to their current allowed seating. Had the commish modified this ordinance prior to imposing it and allowed more bars & restaurants to add outside seating, profits may not have dropped as drastically as they did. Consider the vendor's who have lost money. Crown Amusement lost over 40% profit in the first 3 months (no lie..I know the owner). So many besides the bar itself have been affected by this ban, many more than you and others care to consider. But, am I surprised? No.

amazed 8 years, 4 months ago

Marijuana will NEVER be legalized because it is too easy to grow/impossible to regulate. Thus, the government would never be able to tax the hell out of it as it does alcohol and cigarettes. Never mind what any of these things do to our health, environment, etc. The bottom line seems to be if someone can make a ton of money, well, then it's legal.

As far as public smoking is concerned (which I believe is what this article was originally about) I am amazed at what a difference this law has made. It is disgusting now, to go to KC or somewhere where smoking is still allowed. Lawrence is a much more pleasant/cleaner place to dine since this law went into affect.

rpm 8 years, 4 months ago

Sasquash -- I meant to mention that prior to this ban a non-smoking bar opened in the old Nabil's / currently Limelighter building. It closed due to the fact that no one wanted to go to a non-smoking bar.

No smoking in restaurants is fine with me, I don't smoke in them. Bars are different animals. They're not daycare centers nor are they health clubs....they're bars where folks go to drink.....you know...alcohol....the thing that causes heath problems....bad for your liver.....can kill you.

Air quality levels should have been established so bar owner's could have the opportunity to meet them. Soooo much is wrong with this ordinance on sooooo many levels.

badger 8 years, 4 months ago

crazyks said:

"Of course we have government regulations on environmental pollutants, Badger, but no matter how hard we try, there is no way to totally eliminate them from the air. They have been reduced, but they haven't been banned. A certain level of pollutants in the air is still acceptable.

Yet the government feels the need to totally eliminate cigarette smoke from restaurants and bars. There is no such thing as an acceptable level.

And there is no way to totally eliminate factory emissions. The only way to do so is to close the factory so there are no longer any emissions at all."

The allowed environmental pollutant levels are based on what is considered a safe level of exposure for the general public. There is a formula that determines the safe and acceptable chemical exposure levels for both one-time exposures and frequent or daily exposures. the NIOSH link I posted should give you that information, especially about atmospheric quality in enclosed spaces.

The rules for enclosed spaces are much more strict than the rules for atmospheric release, and that's reasonable. Companies that place their workers in confined or enclosed spaces where there are atmospheric hazards are required to give safety training and protective equipment.

If the government was committed to eliminating air quality issues entirely, we would see a completely different set of regulations everywhere. What we have is a governmental attempt to manage people's involuntary exposure to atmospheric hazards in enclosed spaces.

Is there a safe level of daily tobacco smoke exposure, and could a restaurant or bar maintain a ventilation system that would guarantee that level of air quality? That's the first thing that needs to be determined. At that point, if it's not possible for a bar or restaurant to provide that atmosphere to its employees, we'll start seeing smoking bans pretty much across the board for all enclosed workspaces, and it won't come from public votes or city councils. It will come from OSHA, and the municipal 'smoking ordinance' fines will be a pittance compared to the federal fines for violating workplace safety regs.

rpm, how many different ways can it be explained to you that if I am drinking a beer, it does not hurt the liver of the guy sitting next to me, so the alcohol comparison doesn't work? Not everyone who goes to a bar goes to drink enough to cause health damage. Moderate alcohol consumption is actually shown to be healthy for most people, and some people like designated drivers aren't there to drink at all. Health club or no, the decision to be in a bar doesn't mean you forfeit all concern about your health.

rpm 8 years, 4 months ago

Amazed -- I beg to differ on the issue of taxation. Both tobacco and alcohol can be legally produced privately, just as marijuana can be (though not legally), and the govt manages to gleen plenty of tax dollars from them without restricting them legally. What we have is legally produced products (cigs & alcohol) that are well made, cheaper than privately, and accessable on every corner so, private production of them is usually for the conissure(SP) not the average Joe who just needs to grab a six-pack and some Luckys. Marijuana isn't even available to get through a dr's prescription, though substances like cocaine, heroin & demerol are so this is about old men and oil fields, not rational, everyday folks. Alot of money is spent and misdirected / misapproipated through the Drug Wars, which have failed year after year, for decades. Who's the real criminal, here?

I say legalize it....tax it...free up the courts and get those folks out of prison for posession of personal qtys.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

I find OSHAs rules laughable, Badger, quite frankly. They worry so much about stuff like this, yet every day when I go to work I am subject to danger and possible physical harm, maybe permanent harm, from the consumers I have to deal with. I am offered no safeguards from said abuse.

The company I work for doesn't care, the state doesn't care, OSHA apparently doesn't care (I can't even find any regulations online for group homes that pertain to employees), workman's comp doesn't even care.

I have been hit numerous times with fists, remotes, videos, cans, etc. I have had heavy furniture thrown at me. I was hit in the back of the head once with a full can of soda. I have suffered several concussions while at work, and none of the higher ups even called to see if I was okay. They didn't even let me go home. I have been spit on, pulled, pushed, had unknown liquids thrown on me, been required to clean up body fluids without adequate protection, etc., etc.

But OSHA makes sure I can go to a smoke free restaurant, by golly.

No wonder I continue to smoke. With that kind of stress, who wouldn't?

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