Archive for Sunday, January 15, 2006

Effects of city’s smoking ban still in dispute

January 15, 2006


Those who made New Year's resolutions to quit smoking have had two weeks to contemplate the decision.

Is it worth the hassle? Can they stick to it?

Similarly, Lawrence itself is experiencing the effects of such a decision nearly two years after banning smoking in "all enclosed public places."

"It wasn't my idea, and I wasn't on board at first," said Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger. "But I think this is the most popular decision I've made since I've been on the City Commission. I know in certain circles it's not, but it is if you count the population as a whole."

While the commission instituted the ban based on public health concerns, the main opposition continues to stem from those citing economic fallout. Three types of businesses seem to be the most vulnerable: bars, restaurants and music venues.

"Downtown is taking a major hit," Nick Carroll said. "There are a handful of places right now that are contemplating, 'Is it even worth being in business?'"

Carroll is in a unique position to gauge the effects. He owns The Replay Lounge and The Jackpot Saloon. Replay has an ample outdoor patio in back, while Jackpot has none.

Rick McNeely, owner of Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass., is one of few Lawrence bar owners who support the smoking ban.

Rick McNeely, owner of Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass., is one of few Lawrence bar owners who support the smoking ban.

He said Replay's inside bar revenue was down about 60 percent and the outside up about 60 percent since the ban.

"It used to be even in the summer," he said. "Now, even though it's winter, the back bar is stronger."

Though Replay was the first music venue to feature an outdoor area, he said the amount of smoking clients gained by this setup didn't offset the overall financial decline.

"Everything else is going up," he said. "All expenses are going up. The city is growing. The sales should be up 5 to 10 percent. But they're not. If you don't have growth, you're losing."

Like L.A.

Lawrence's ban is still among the harshest in the nation, falling in line with cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Unlike smaller towns (such as Ames, Iowa) that allow smoking at restaurants and bars after a certain time in the evening, the law is no more lenient toward indoor businesses than if the establishments were within a commercial airplane.

A number of venues created an outdoor patio area or expanded an existing one.

"I have a lot more people on the patio now, but I had to spend a lot more money on the patio, putting the roof on, getting the heaters and that kind of stuff," said Rick Renfro, owner of Johnny's Tavern.

Renfro said his sales were down 15 to 20 percent from 2003, yet he was able to recoup most of that by raising his prices. That and the ban combined to drive away some regular customers - a group he prefers to call "professional drinkers."

"I think a lot of them don't like people telling them what to do as much as anything," he said. "It's not just the smoking. I raised my prices so now they can go to the liquor store and buy a six-pack for what they can buy two beers here.

"I think only 20 percent of the national population smokes now. My little, small Johnny's universe of people, it's probably more like 60 to 70 percent. ... Johnny's is going to survive, and I'll get by, but it just makes it a heck of a lot harder to do that."

What about the music?

Some claim Lawrence's music scene has borne the brunt of the smoking ban.

"I can easily say we're not the same music scene," said Carroll, whose clubs feature live music several nights a week. "Look at Bottleneck's calendar and tell me if it's the same. Look at the Jackpot; we're not doing what we were a year and a half ago. We know we can't pay those big guarantees because we're not certain we can fill the room."

Carroll said many of the national acts that played at one of Lawrence's many concert spots their first time through the Midwest are now bypassing the city to play at similar clubs in Kansas City.

"This (smoking ban) is the worst-case scenario: We're the first ones who are doing it and we're the only ones who are doing it in the state," he said.

Rick McNeely, longtime owner of The Jazzhaus, disagreed that bands were skipping Lawrence for more smoker-friendly locales.

"We had a pretty rough couple of months at first, but it seems to all be sorting itself out," he said. "Everybody is getting used to it. That's the way people say it is everywhere. Whenever there's a smoking ban, the clubs really get hit hard for a few months, then it all kind of works itself out."

But he said the club's out-of-town crowds were thinning because of the ordinance.

"We did lose a lot of our south Johnson County business that we were getting," McNeely said. "For those Blue Valley kids and those at 135th and Roe, it's faster and safer to come to Lawrence than it is to go to Westport, in addition to a whole lot more fun. But I do think it's gradually starting to filter back - so to speak."

Regardless of the economic repercussions, he approved of the prohibition.

"It makes it better for everyone," he said. "Who wants to smell like an ashtray?"

Health benefits?

Measuring the short-term health benefits of the ban is a little more tricky.

"In order to see the difference from an environmental change like the indoor smoking ban, you have to have organized research both before and after the ban," said Dr. Steve Bruner of Lawrence Family Medicine & Obstetrics.

"Several good studies now have shown that an indoor smoking ban dramatically reduces the incidence of heart attack (27 to 40 percent) within the short time of the institution of a ban. In Lawrence, it's very difficult to study that, because we're not an isolated community. People with heart disease go to multiple hospitals around the area, and that's further complicated by the fact that Lawrence Memorial has a new heart program that occurred simultaneously with the ban."

As for the long-term benefits, Bruner cited statistics by the National Cancer Institute that attribute 3,000 deaths from lung cancer per year attributed to secondhand smoke.

"I'm not like an anti-smoking Nazi at all," Jazzhaus owner McNeely said. "I'm not crazy about sitting around people smoking cigarettes, but I don't get up and tell them to move or put it out. As far as an individual health issue, I know I'm going to be 55 in a few months. How healthy can THAT be?"


Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

Survey Shows New York City's Smoking Ban is Good for Business; Other Cities, States Should Follow Suit Oct. 21, 2003

Today, you can add more data to the mountain of evidence that clean indoor air laws are good not just for health, but for business, too. The impartial Zagat survey of the impact of New York City's smoking ban confirms what every other credible survey has shown: Smoking bans are popular with the public and pose no economic threat to restaurants, bars or other businesses.

When New York City was debating its proposed clean indoor air law, the tobacco industry predictably argued that a smoking ban would be bad for business the same argument that industry has made whenever a smoking ban has been considered, whether on airplanes, in restaurants, at stadiums or anywhere else. But Zagat found that not only has New York City's smoking ban not hurt restaurant business, it "has given it a major lift."

The survey of 29,361 diners, conducted from May through mid-July, found that 96 percent are eating out the same amount or more often as a result of New York City's smoke-free restaurant law. Specifically, 23 percent said they were eating out more often because of the law. Seventy-three percent said they were eating out the same. Only 4 percent said they were eating out less often. The survey also found that the number of jobs in restaurants and bars in New York City are up as are hotel occupancy rates.

Of course, the real benefit to smoking bans is to the public's health. Environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of coronary events by about 30 percent and results in approximately 35,000 deaths from coronary heart disease among nonsmokers every year.

Again, the economic numbers shouldn't surprise anyone they merely confirm what other cities and states that have banned smoking in public places have learned. California, which banned smoking in restaurants and bars in 1998, also saw positive economic benefits as have other cities and states across the country. The real surprise is that more cities and states aren't doing the same. More than a quarter of the U.S. population more than 70 million people now live in a jurisdiction that has enacted a comprehensive smoke-free law. Political leaders in the rest of the country need to follow suit and provide this protection for their citizens. If they do, they'll not only be protecting the health of their citizens, they'll be giving their economies a boost as well.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

EDITORIAL: Philly, it's your turn Source: State College (PA) Centre Times, 2006-01-13

The way Philadelphia City Councilman Michael A. Nutter sees it, "We're now virtually surrounded." . . .

Nutter was referring to the three neighboring states with laws banning smoking in most workplaces, restaurants and other night spots.

In other words, the region is going smoke-free - and it's long-past time for Philadelphia to join the mainstream and limit indoor smoking. . .

Approval of the smoke-free law is a proud moment for the state, long the butt of jokes for its air quality. . . .

Tavern owners who feared a Philadelphia smoking ban would send their customers to South Jersey don't have to worry about that now. . . .

Ideally, the whole five-county region would go smoke-free, if not all of Pennsylvania, as proposed by measures so far stranded in Harrisburg committees. Philadelphia should be leading the way, but eight holdouts on City Council have yet to embrace the idea. . . .

Street can do better than that. The mayor launched his administration with a progressive, public-health outlook . . .

For that prediction to become reality, the mayor must get a move on and exert his leadership skills: The great cities of today are providing healthy indoor settings that are

¢ Bowling alley operators strike out in bid to snuff smoking ban Source: (Long Island, NY) Newsday, 2006-01-13 A Superior Court judge on Friday denied a request by bowling alley operators to stop Gov. Richard J. Codey from signing legislation that will ban indoor smoking in most public places.

Superior Court Judge Neil Shuster rejected the Bowling Proprietors Association of New Jersey's bid for a preliminary injunction prohibiting Codey from signing the law, which would outlaw smoking in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other indoor places. Gambling areas of casinos are exempt from the ban.

The bowling group, which says the ban will cost bowling alleys business by keeping smokers away, contended that Codey's status as governor ended when the 211th Legislature formally ended Tuesday. Codey, who is state Senate president, became acting governor in November 2004 after Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned.

Codey plans to sign the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act into law Sunday.-

--------------------------Austin Texas

Shardwurm 12 years, 4 months ago

I love coming to Lawrence to dine!

Food tastes like it should and I don't have to get up and leave because of some thoughtless smoker.

I wish all cities did this!

cowboy 12 years, 4 months ago

New Yorks study is a bogus piece of research. If you have ever traveled to the city you know once there you are a captive without choices !

nut_case 12 years, 4 months ago

Like the ban...hate the way it was implemented. A VOTE would have bee nice.

Moderateguy 12 years, 4 months ago

Fairly lopsided article that's just trying to stir up public opinion. "This guy says that he's losing a bunch of money." Well, prove it! The sales tax revenues don't back you up. The only month it was really down was when we lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Think that had anything to do with it? Come on LJW, do some real research, and stop this he said, she said stuff. As far as the Jackpot Saloon, that place can't figure out what it wants to be. First it was a tappas bar, apparently now it's a music venue. Bottom line, people have been threatening to close because of the ban since before it was implemented. It hasn't happened.

admills 12 years, 4 months ago

If these local "professional drinkers" aren't going to a bar anymore, what are they doing? I doubt they're traveling to KC or (gulp) Topeka to drink every night. Hey professional drinkers, if you're reading this, let us know. I'd like to meet some of you. I can imagine all the professional drinkers and smokers huddling together in some obscure garage in west lawrence watching an 8" TV through their own cancer causing fog while drinking Miller High Life and bickering like a bunch of old women.

Also, isn't business turnover a part of downtown? What every happened to Dos Hombres, Blew Jacket, The Bike Shop, Roly Poly, Brown Bear, Easton's, Everything but Ice, Sakaroffs, etc. (I know! the smoking ban got 'em). I thought that the majority of new businesses don't make it anyways. Seems like everyone just to blames the smoking ban. How about the familys that will actually take their kids out now because of the ban? Maybe these owners need to make some adjustments to their business model so they can reap the benefits.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

So, is the smoking ban what caused your downtown business to fail, Marion?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

"You know, "them", the generally unqualified clueless public?"

I understand. You probably see enough of them at RCT as it is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

We're so lucky to have someone of your high standards protecting the values of baublery and conspicuous consumption.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

"Elitist" does not immediately come to mind when I read your posts, Marion.

Confrontation 12 years, 4 months ago

I love the smoking ban. Maybe all those people (smokers) who don't like it should move to Topeka, and take the homeless with them. I'd hate to have us ranked as the 2nd meanest city for smokers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Maybe they wanted to go in there to have a drink, or hear the music, eat the food, hang out with their friends (smokers and non-smokers.) And given that the majority of establishments used to be "smoking establishments," choices were pretty slim if you only went to "non-smoking" establishments, especially if there were smokers in your group who wouldn't consider such places.

hurlehey 12 years, 4 months ago

still legal at Hallmark. the chamber saw to that. Gues their employees don't matter.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

It's legal only in a smoking breakroom that is a very clearly defined exception.

Perhaps you smoking advocates should put together an equally well-defined exception for bars/restaurants to present to the commission.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

I answered your question, Marion.

And, no, non-smokers don't want to ride on the back of the bus.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

How about the choice to smoke outside or at home, rather than exposing other people to it?

Ember 12 years, 4 months ago

Still waiting for links to reports that state conclusively that second-hand smoke was the leading cause of anything even approaching a health risk.

Just another fine example of people wanting what people want, and not giving a rat's rear end about anyone else. I mean, honestly, didn't this all start up because some JoCo yuppie in training whined to her daddy about it, or some such nonsense?

Why doesn't O.S.H.A. flat out ban smoking in places of business, if it is so harmful?

What I want to know is why it is illegal, suddenly, to operate a smoker's only establishment? Doesn't that fall under the category of Free Enterprise? Didn't think a local ordinance could interfere with federal laws, but I could be wrong.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

That's pretty much what this Ilk does, and it's so much easier these days.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

"Just another fine example of people wanting what people want, and not giving a rat's rear end about anyone else."

This would describe way too many smokers, especially those so vocally opposing the ban.

"Why doesn't O.S.H.A. flat out ban smoking in places of business, if it is so harmful?"

I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with the millions spent on lobbbying and lawyers by the tobacco industry, does it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

The overall effect is one of preventing you from imposing your will (and smoke) on me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Smoking is still a legal activity in Lawrence, Marion. All you have to do is CHOOSE to do it someplace that is NOT an enclosed public area.

Ember 12 years, 4 months ago

Lobby all you want. O.S.H.A. is only moderately overseen by Congress, and funded much less than any other governmental organization in effect today. Kind of deflates the whole lobbying argument.

Nothing has ever been said about creating an enclosed area for smokers in any establishment in this city, now has there? Hallmark is the only business that I can think of that has made any progress in telling the city to store the ban some place interesting and amusing.

I notice you have absolutely no comment on a smoker's only establishment. Why is that?

I'll stop b*tching about smoking bans when you, personally, start lobbying for the reduction of tobacco taxes nationwide. Heck, just here in Kansas would be a nice gesture.

Marion has the jist of the problem when he brings up the issue of choice. Choices for smokers have been reduced, with no alternative options presented accept suffer through it.

A non smoker had the ability to choose whether or not to go into an establishment that allowed smoking, pre-ban that is.

If you go to a concert, for example, do you accept that the volume of sound will most likely be damaging to your hearing?

Want an example of a business, not connected to bars or restaurants, that has been affected, go talk with A.B. Coker over by the S.R.S. building. I know for a fact that their business has dropped off from less cigarette sales in business around town. They provide quite a few businesses with cigarette, cigars and chewing tobacco.

I still think an effective demonstration for smokers would be to gather in a business owned by one of the commisioners and break the ordinance, and let THEM deal with this stupid form of enforcement.

Or better yet, in city hall. Who would get the fine then, as the business owner? The city itself?

An amusing idea, to say the least.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Take the Hallmark "exception" and adapt it to bars, coffee shops and restaurants (I assume other business can already do the same thing Hallmark did) and I could support it.

I say keep alcohol and tobacco taxes exactly where they are, but anything above the regular sales tax should be devoted exclusively to the social and public health costs of the use of those drugs. Beyond that, its users shouldn't be financing other unrelated government programs.

What businesses are you referring to? Highberger works for the state, Rundle works for the Merc (where your sit-in by smokers wouldn't have been tolerated even before the ban,) Shauner works for KNEA in Topeka, and I'm not sure what Hack does these days (retired teacher.) Are you going to take over Amyx's barber shop?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

"If you go to a concert, for example, do you accept that the volume of sound will most likely be damaging to your hearing?"


Couldn't care less about AB Coker.

Kookamooka 12 years, 4 months ago

My husband and I just recently drove to KC for the evening and ended up choosing to come back to Lawrence for a drink for two reasons.....1. the smoking ban meant we wouldn't have to do our laundry right away to remove the smoke smell from our house and 2. My husband just quit smoking recently and didn't want the temptation.

I love the smoking ban! We should be attracting more people from KC who want to eat food that tastes really fresh, not smokey! I think it's a HUGE selling point. Middle aged Johnson Countiers should eat in Lawrence EVERY WEEK.

tolawdjk 12 years, 4 months ago

Marion's entire arguement is a wonderful circular jerk. Don't like something, then don't go there. He smokes, so he can go everywhere. You don't, so you shouldn't. It's fine for him, he gets where he wants, what he wants, and when he wants.

Except that his perfect world doesn't exist. People are "impossing" thier will on his world. And he has no other outlet than to rant and rave on here.

It's kinda sad to watch dinosaurs die.

Sigmund 12 years, 4 months ago

The effect of the smoking ban is that we know Lawrence citizens are willing to submit to facism as long as it is aimed at some politically incorrect group. I fully expect a new bans on drinking in downtown bars, unprotected sex, caffinated drinks, and on fatty foods to be next.

If you proudly sport a T-Shirt that says "My body, my rules" and yet are thrilled about the anti-smoking might be from Lawrence.

glockenspiel 12 years, 4 months ago

People don't have the RIGHT to go to a restraunt. Its a privelage granted to you by its owner.

If an owner decides to allow smoking at his establishment, you have the RIGHT to not go.

If you insist on choosing safety over freedom, you will soon find yourself living in a cage.

dex 12 years, 4 months ago

nobody is going to comment on the bit about the replay? the comparison between the indoor vs. patio sales against data from pre-smoking years is the closest that the ljworld will come to publishing a careful scientific study of the economic effects to food/drink business owners from a city-wide but not statewide smoking ban. though the replay only represents one trial and if we take the buisness owners at their word, then it's clear that the smoking ban does have an effect on the bottom line of local businesses. proponents of the ban are gambling with the investments of others, mostly those that have chosen to invest their dollars in the community. why not open your own smoke-free business if smoke in the businesses owned by others bothers you so much?

those that are least able to adapt (probably downtown locally owned are among them), those with thin profit-margins or lack of mangement skill and creativity, will probably be victoms of the ban. that is in addition to the loss of the right to allow the use of a legal product on the land of property owners.

the current and recent city government enacts policies that makes lawrence, kansas a less desirable place to do business compared to other towns, all things to the bottom line being equal. if new jobs are less important than the convenience of walking onto somebody else's property where people might be doing things you don't like, then by all means ban smoking ... and whatever else is bothersome. just understand that there is a tradeoff, the ban is a 'win' for some people and a 'loss' to more people than just the smokers.

Kookamooka 12 years, 4 months ago

I appreciate the fact that marion can take his money, his cigarettes and his manner and enter a smoking establishment... in another city. Way to excercise your right to smoke! Somewhere else.

Kookamooka 12 years, 4 months ago

(this is the place in the log where Marion's head explodes)

gccs14r 12 years, 4 months ago

Of the businesses that continue to have fewer customers this long after the ban, I wonder how many of them raised their prices? That's what ran me off. I'm not spending $4 for a beer.

dex 12 years, 4 months ago

The Key Question: "If you do not like smoke, why do you go into smoking establishments?"

because i'm making a tradeoff, i will live with the discomfort and nebulous second-hand smoke risks to enjoy the services offered by an establishment. those establishments that are "too smokey" don't get my business.

the people that whine on the forums about better tasting food or their imaginary "rights" want it all, they percieve the short term advantage of eliminating the tradeoff mentioned above without considering the tradeoff that they're forcing upon business owners and the unknown tradeoff that takes a few years to play out: the possible decrease in downtown locally-owned businesses because those are the ones most likely to have fewer resources and management crutches as franchise businesses. and, assuming the observations by the replay owner in article are accurate, a possible decrease in selection of high-quality live rock entertainment.

what is the cost of the smoking ban? moreover, what is an acceptable cost? keep in mind that the costs are carried by those that stand nothing to gain from the ban. is it okay if one business goes under? two? three? did the city commission carefully weigh potential the costs? did the ljworld highlight the the potential costs in every article about the supposed 'benefits' to the ban?

my impression from reading the ljworld and chatting with the intellectual "elite" on the hill for the past 5 years has been 'no' and as such, i would not open a business in lawrence, kansas if given a choice among other similar towns because lawrence, as a community, doesn't appear to take seriously the "community" (city commision) decisions that have a direct and tangible, if unknown, effect on the investments of those who put their dollars in the community.

the "counter argument" to this argument will rest on the faulty premise that the smoking ban saves the lives of those that work and shop at those establishments. this presupposes that the customers and the employees don't have a choice in the matter. "they shouldn't have to make a choice between their health and a job/dinner" but then again, i shouldn't have to make a choice between a cheeseburger and a salad. why not ban cheeseburgers while we're at it?

the smoking ban won't be the first time that prohibitionist laws will put the people of kansas at an economic disadvantage relative to their friendly neighbors to the east.

dudesmithy 12 years, 4 months ago

The smoking ban rocks. Now if the smokers could just get a few more manners and quit using the parking lot, street, sidewalk, parks, lakes, their own personal ashtray...we'd be even better off.


Kookamooka 12 years, 4 months ago

I guess his head didn't explode after all!

EvaTrujillo 12 years, 4 months ago

Right on!!! Life here in this town with over-priced cheap built houses, pyro-developers, and little grade-school students left alone every Wednesday due to teacher-collabation, has now has something that really, really is positive. The smoking ban now lures my family and friends to come visit us (from other towns). Having better air rocks!!

corporate_sleaze 12 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I think smoking is a vile, digusting, harmful thing to choose to do. I hate the smoke, the odor, the staining and the resulting problems it causes.

However, every poster (except this Marion person) always misunderstands this subject, the fundamental concept, the clear line of reasoning that is being misapplied.

Don't force a business to not allow a legally produced, legally distributed substance from being legally consumed by a legal consumer on the premise of a private business.

There is no law that forces a nonsmoker to enter a smoking-permitted business. A nonsmoker enters a smoking-permitted business completely of their own choosing. So, if you don't like the smoke then don't go into these businesses.

Excersize "consumer choice" and find a business that does not permit smoking... because that business owner chooses to cater to your particular customer preferences as a nonsmoker.

But, you say you can't find any businesses (restaurants, coffee shops, whatever) that are nonsmoking. Then again, excersize consumer choice... ask for it.

If that doesn't work then start your own smoke-free business. If there's a "free" demand for such a business, it will probably succeed. If there's not a demand for such a business then the free market has spoken.

EvaTrujillo 12 years, 4 months ago

"A Tarrington smoker would rather fight than quit." Sigh. Imagine that fifty years ago, smokers always had to ASK, "Mind if I smoke?" instead of assuming it was okay. Imagine smokers disposing of their butts in an empty pack instead of throwing out on the ground. The irresponsible few smokers have now become way too many. And now this requires intervention.

Ember 12 years, 4 months ago

"Sales tax receipts are up..."

What a silly argument. Of course they are up. The prices are up to offset the loss in business. Most incoming funds means there is more to tax. Nice to know that people still understand the concept of percentages in this day and age.

Bozo, about your comment about supporting an enclosed smoking area. I hate to tell you this, but this ban makes such a concept illegal. Hallmark had to throw around a lot of weight just to get their smoker's only breakroom, and it still had to have massive amounts of ventilation present. I know that at one point, the plant itself threatened to close doors permanently.

I never said anything, though, about alcohol taxes, since they are NOT astronomical, but cigarette taxes are absolutely insane. When my grandfather started smoking, back before MLK made his march, a pack of cigarettes cost roughly 10 cents, depending on where you went for them. That same pack of smokes is now over $3.00 a pack. The taxes levied on a pack of cigarettes are figured into the price, and THEN sales tax is charged.

The money will never be used to promote quitting smoking, and we both know that. It will be used to shore up a variety of special interests that the state has going, and if there is any left over, well, they might consider spending a little on a few billboards, or maybe a study. That's about it. Kansas got billions of dollars from the big tobacco settlement. Where did it go?

And smokers never enforced their will on anyone, ever. Smokers never lit up in the non-smoking sections. Smokers never purposely blew their smoke towards anyone behaving themselves in public. Air circulation is the reason cigarette smoke never stayed in one place. Hate to break it to you, but second hand smoke is NOT a living entity and it does not roam willy-nilly just because it can.

Air currents and thermal drafts from food, hot beverages and bodies, as well as doors opening and closing, and people moving hither, thither and yon is what circulates smoke.

But none of it matters. Some beaurocrat that none of use will ever meet in person, let alone talk to in passing, announced, through some very faulty data gathering, that second hand smoke is a leading cause of so many diseases. I say he's full of it, because it takes a certain amount of any chemical to create the changes in the human body needed for cancers to form, for example. If a smoker has to smoke for at least 10 years before there is even a hint of any permanent damage, then how int he hell can 3-5% of that total amount affect anyone?

It's about personal comfort, and the non smokers' personal comfort zones were feeling cramped, so hey expanded, pure and simple.

goose 12 years, 4 months ago


your arguments are good. you're right about the fact that people have the choice to go or not to go to the establishments that allow smoking. most of the people that detest smoke do avoid the smokier environments. unfortunately for all of us, one smoker imposes on the right to breath fresh air of many non-smokers. for many years the law has protected the right of the smokers by making it legal to smoke in resteraunts, bars, ect. with the number of smokers being around only 20 percent of the population now, those laws are obsolete. non-smokers have legally changed the law so that smoking is no longer permitted in public places. if this law is so unjust, then it should be no problem for you and people like you to change it back. instead of whining about this issue online for the last 16 hours, why weren't you out there trying to fight it in a way that will actually get something done?

stbaker 12 years, 4 months ago

In the long run, it's likely that the smoking ban will save everyone more money. Heart disease is the number one killer in America, and billions and billions of dollars are spent each year (lost wages, loss of productivity, medical costs). Subjecting thousands of employees and patrons to second-hand smoke increases the risk of developing heart disease. By implementing the smoking ban, Lawrence is likely doing the economy a favor, as well as all those who choose (or chose, rather) to work in a smoking establishment because that's where they could earn a living. With many jobs, there are occupational hazards. People who work in healthcare are provided with gloves, gowns, masks, etc. to help protect them from pathogens. Those who do asbestos abatement are provided with appropriate protective clothing and respirators. Those who work construction are provided hard-hats and earplugs. I could go on and on. The smoking ban was not about tearing away the rights of smokers, but about protecting employees and customers from having to be exposed to the thousands of carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Oh, and then there is the backlash from those who oppose the smoking ban about people choosing to eat in restaurants that allow smoking. Well, how many non-smoking establishments were there prior to the smoking ban? Subway? The Taco Bell/Pizza Hut bar at Target? Oohhhhh...My mouth is watering. Give me a break.

Ember: Medical Journals...Scientific Journals...There are a couple of places to start when researching the perils of second-hand smoke. Some beaurocrat is not just rolling the dice and pulling the fact that second-hand smoke is very carcinoginic out of his arse.

The smoking ban is great. Now, if some smokers would just be courteous enough to dispose of their cigarette butts in an appropriate receptacle, instead of on the sidewalks, or out their car windows.....The alcohol industry advocates for drinking responsibly, what about smoking responsibly (how many forest fires are started by discarded smoldering cigarettes?)?

Ember 12 years, 4 months ago

AU contraire, Stbaker. None of those reports lists a single death where the MAIN cause of death was second hand smoke. It is, at best, a tertiary (3rd leading) cause of death in EVERY single report that I have read in the last 3 years.

Give me a list of every single chemical in cigarettes and I can find them in everyday, household products and common interactiosn in the real world that we deal with every single day. Who's to say those products aren't the leading cause?

And heart disease is no longer the leading cause of death in this country. Obeisity is. Read a newspaper once in a while. Would do you good.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

"This ban has contributed to the pollution you complain about, sbaker."

The butt is created by a smoker, whose responsibility it is to dispose of properly. Blaming their irresponsible behavior on the ban is abusrd.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, there is an exception in the law, (the hallmark exception, for lack of a better term) that could be used as a template for exceptions in bars and restaurants. It would be an uphill battle to get that exception into law because this existing ban is very popular, but if it's that important for people to swill and smoke, quit bitching and do something.

stbaker 12 years, 4 months ago

Ember, don't you know that obesity causes heart disease? aka Coronary Artery Disease? People don't just die from too much fat. They die because their hearts can no longer sustain the workload involved with maintaining vital organs and that extra hundred pounds of tissue? Perhaps you should not be so quick to insult someone, eh? I'm not saying that smoking is the only cause for heart disease, just a leading risk factor. And you don't need to preach to me about harmful chemicals in household products. However, do you sit behind the exhaust of your vehicle inhaling the exhaust? Do you use your toilet bowl cleaner for eye drops? You wouldn't knowingly do this, because you know it's potentially harmful, even fatal, right? Insulting people shows your insecurities. It doesn't reinforce your intelligence.

EvaTrujillo 12 years, 4 months ago

Remember when the tabacco companies lost? That was completely wrong. Their packs of cigs clearly show a warning, and based on that, the smoker knew the ramifications. The smoker and their family should have never sued the tabacco companies. After reading the statement that the smoking ban here in Lawrence, Ks, has caused more littering of butts, methinks, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is a trait that must encouraged amoungst people who smoke. About the second-hand smoke studies - those are probably slanted and there's alot of variables to substantiate the ill-effects of smoke, but this is 2006 - you can make something up to get your way (like weapons of mass destruction). But really, just as miners must have un-polluted air to breathe, so must the wait help. Cheers to all, it's Martin Luther King Day, the guy was defending the rights of garbage workers to have equal pay before he was murdered.

Meatwad 12 years, 4 months ago

If I owned a business and it wasn't doing well I would be happy to have something (the smoking ban) to blame, too. Rather than take a good look at the reality of the situation and maybe my business would have slipped whether or not people smoked inside of it. Bars go in/out of business ALL THE TIME. That is reality.

Meatwad 12 years, 4 months ago

I was talking to a smoker friend a few weeks ago at Free State. She told me she was initially so angry about the smoking ban that she wrote an angry letter to the city council. She has since changed her mind and when she ran into Boog on the street, told him that the smoking ban is the BEST thing to ever happen to Lawrence. Who would possibly want to SMELL THAT BAD? Smokers have NO IDEA how bad they smell until they quit. Many smoking people LIKE the smoking ban because they smell less bad by smoking outside. If you did a survey of the people smoking outside on Mass, I'll bet you'd find a majority LIKE or could care less about the smoking ban.

Meatwad 12 years, 4 months ago


We could ALL make a LONG list of bars that went out of business before there was a smoking ban?

Maybe the Jackpot wouldn't have done well anyway? I've been to several shows there and when it's crowded, you can't see the band and the sound isn't great. If the stage were higher so that sightlines were better and if the sound were better, maybe that would help business? I'm not saying the smoking ban never hurt any bars... but I also think that some bars like to use it as an excuse. The patio on the Replay is one of the best places to be... for smokers and non-smokers. Always has been. Also, it's generally only $2 or so to get in, so if there is a band playing that you've never heard of, no big deal, wheras the Jackpot admission price is usually $5-$8. The Replay has a MUCH better set up and that's why it does well, better than the Jackpot. Most people don't mind paying $2 for a band they've never heard of, and if the band isn't to their liking, they can hang out on the patio.

Meatwad 12 years, 4 months ago

ljreader wrote: "It seems to me it is discriminatory to owners of bars, restaurants, and other private businesses to not be allowed to choose whether or not they wish to allow legal substances (such as tobacco) into their establishments, as well. I agree with Marion. Tobacco use in private business places should be the choice of the owner. Whether or not you wish to visit or work in a smoking environment is the choice of the individual."

If it weren't a health issue, I would agree. If the tobacco could stay with the user instead of filling the entire environment and lungs of employees, the public and everyone around the user, I would agree.

down_the_river 12 years, 4 months ago

Here are a few notes to consider when hoping for a boost in the health factor of Lawrence with the diminishment of secondhand smoke. The first thing to ponder is the fact that of the 18 developed nations with a greater life expectancy than the US, 15 have greater rates of smoking, and by extension, greater exposures of secondhand smoke (sometimes much greater, e.g. Japan). Something else may be a factor in the US life expectancy than secondhand smoke?

For normal cholesterol level nonsmokers, our greatest health risk is stress. ( articles/36672.php) Secondhand smoke does not show up in the nine factors that contribute to ninety percent of heart disease deaths. Stress does play a role, so perhaps getting wrought up about tobacco smoke is much worse than breathing it?

If you are exposed to secondhand smoke and are concerned about the impact on your heart, have a drink. The blood thickening impact of one cigarette is balanced by two drinks. ( Since the typical guest in a nonsmoking section of a restaurant would inhale the equivalent of one cigarette after 3 years of once a week dining visits, they should be able to sneak two glasses of wine or beer into those 150 visits. (Continued)

down_the_river 12 years, 4 months ago

One of the two health studies Doc was referring to is the Helena Montana study directed by the smoking activist and Mechanical Engineer, Stanton Glantz. The study first reported a sixty percent drop in heart attacks during a smoking ban period, but later revised it to a forty percent drop. This is still rife with problems from a scientific standpoint (see responses in the British Medical Journal such as very small sample size, no accounting for smoking/nonsmoking status of the victims, no accounting for exposure to secondhand smoke among victims, no acknowledgment that the same drop in mortality had been noted at the same facility in previous years while there was not a smoking ban in effect. In other words, a good headline grabber, but very poor science.

What we know about lung cancer, two to four percent of active smokers will develop lung cancer. ( Ninety percent of lung cancer cases are among active smokers, five percent are radon exposure, and the remainder are attributed to one of thirty to forty causative agents: asbestos, silica, wood dust and second hand smoke among them. So, even though there is a sixteen percent increase in lung cancer possibly attributed to secondhand smoke, it's a small increase from a very small number. Also, most of those increases are postulated to be spouses of smokers, rather than workers at restaurants, and certainly not customers at restaurants.

As a final reality check on the mortality threat posed by secondhand smoke, if you believe the theoretical 50,000 to 60,000 deaths each year as suggested by some activists, filter it through your experience. Take the number of years you have lived in Lawrence, multiply it by 20, and that's the number of people who have theoretically died in Lawrence during the time you've lived here. Does that resulting number match what you are aware of? If not what do you attribute the difference to?

Smoking stinks, it burns your eyes, irritates your nasal passages and fouls your hair, and for smokers, it cuts your life expectancy by 7 to 10 percent. If smokers quit, the health of Lawrence will improve, but it most likely won't have much of any impact on the mortality of us nonsmokers.

The smoking ban is designed to abate the nuisance for us nonsmokers, and hopefully entice a few smokers to quit, so they can reap the health benefits of a nonsmoking lifestyle.

(Please note, several of the links cited are to popular press articles for simplicity's sake. They can provide further reference to source studies with links or detailed search.)

(one last continued)

down_the_river 12 years, 4 months ago


The biggest challenge to the media strategy of the anti-smoking crusaders has come in the past six months from within the ranks. Michael Siegel, a physician and tobacco control scientist has decided to eschew the dogma and stun his colleagues by insisting on the truth. Anyone who wishes to learn what's really going on in the anti-tobacco crusade could not find a better source of science than Dr. Siegel presents. He is now a political outcast in a movement he was a leader of just two years ago. His review of the other study Doc was alluding to in the JW article can be found at his blog:

Let's not even touch on the curious studies of nicotine as preventative for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Columbia_Smoker 12 years, 3 months ago

I have stopped traveling to Lawrence for shows because of this smoking ban. I am a smoker and live in Columbia, Missouri. I will take my disposable income to locations that don't feel like using fascism to enforce a hateful opinion against smokers. Unfortunatly, i'll be doing the same thing in Columbia soon. I can't wait to vote to criminalize the public consumption of alcohol now that I see just how far some of you will go to circumvent stinky clothes instead of using the liberty of choice. Cherry picked second hand smoke studies don't have anything on the tangible reality of drunk driving. I guess Live and Let Live isn't as much fun as limiting choice these days.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

It seems to me you do have a choice, and you are exercising it by staying away from Lawrence.

Too bad your addiction prevents you from seeing some great shows.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

What do you call Marion's and Vito's baseless smear campaign of Shauner if not a form of ad hominem (some of us can even spell it correctly) attack?

If Marion is the best you can do to satisfy your obvious need of hero worship, I really feel for you. Isn't there a higher quality cult you could join somewhere?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

Seems like you have a pretty firm obsession with continuing the accusations against Shauner, along with defending Marion as if he were the Messiah.

Get a grip, lady.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

I've really no more interest in joining Phred's cult than I do in joining Marion's, but have him send me an application if you think I'd be a good fit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

Shh! Don't say that so loud, jannie-- it's supposed to be a secret.

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