Archive for Monday, February 26, 2007

City not alone in defending smoking ban

February 26, 2007

Advertisement

The city is getting legal help in the Kansas Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the city's smoking ban.

The League of Kansas Municipalities - the statewide organization that lobbies for issues on behalf of cities - has been allowed to join the lawsuit, said Sandy Jacquot, the league's general counsel.

Jacquot said the league decided to join the lawsuit as a "friend of the court" because the lawsuit brought by Dennis Steffes, owner of Last Call and Coyotes nightclubs, has the potential to damage city smoking bans and ordinances across the state.

"We believe it would pretty much do away with any kind of smoking ban if the plaintiffs win the case," Jacquot said.

Jacquot said smoking bans are becoming more of a priority for cities.

"Many of our cities have smoking ordinances, and many more want to have them," Jacquot said.

Toni Wheeler, the city's interim director of legal services, said the city welcomes the league joining the case.

"They are very knowledgeable about municipal law," Wheeler said.

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

Steffes also has argued 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 does not allow a city to completely ban smoking within a business.

"I believe the city of Lawrence basically went far above and beyond what it was allowed to do," said William Rork, the attorney for Steffes. "And the enforcement is very arbitrary and capricious, which makes it unconstitutional."

The city and the league dispute both arguments. Jacquot said the city has the power to adopt a ban based on its home-rule authority and that the ban is not vague because it puts both businesses and the public on notice about what activities are illegal. Plus, she said the ban cuts to the heart of what cities are empowered to do.

"Cities regulate for the health, safety and welfare of their citizens, and this is a classic example of a city attempting to do that," Jacquot said.

The Supreme Court has not set a date for the case to be heard, but Wheeler expects oral arguments will begin later this spring.

Comments

davisnin 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the link merrill. Accordind to that ours doesn't include bars. The compromise that makes sense.

Here are some interesting links about the ban. http://www.huxley.net/ http://www.americanfascistparty.com/ http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

It's only a matter of time before tobacco is illegal. Might as well quit now.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

The arguments in favor of the smoking ban are simple and convincing to me:

Second-hand smoke has been shown to have negative health effects on non-smokers.

Bars and restaurants cannot sufficiently protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke simply by creating non-smoking areas.

When the majority of jobs available to young people are in the bar/restaurant industry, it is a job-related health issue for them to breathe in large amounts of second-hand smoke.

Our government has regulated various industries and practices to ensure the health and safety of citizens and workers for quite some time now, and our overall health and well-being have been well-served by this regulation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm a non-smoker, I like the smoking ban, and I think the complaints about how it damaged the bar business are greatly exaggerated.

That said, if someone wants to start a petition drive to allow some very narrow exceptions to the smoking law to allow a few very small bars and coffee shops to become "smoking joints," I would sign it. The rest of the smoking ban should remain as is, though.

common_cents 8 years, 4 months ago

If smoking is truly that bad for everyone, then I think the state should just ban the sale of tobacco completely. Show us that you really care about our health!

Oh wait, what am I saying... they like those tax dollars too much. Can't ban the sale, let's just ban where you can smoke, yeah, that's it. KEEP people smoking, lurking in the alleyways, puffing away, feeding the govt those tax dollars.

We are still in the United Stats of America, are we not?

How about something I'll quote from a movie....

FREEDOM!

So many people, when talking about the abortion issue, speak about freedom of choice.

BUT, we can't have that in this case, nope... no freedom for you, come back in 1 hour!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

There are all kinds of laws that prevent an employer from subjecting employees to unsafe working conditions, Marion. This is one of those laws.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

I suppose one could create "smoking joints" for smokers to patronize and work in.

Sounds kind of like an opium den :-)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Sounds kind of like an opium den :-)"

Nicotene dens.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 4 months ago

I remember buying a lemon bar dessert at Henry's on 8th prior to the smoking ban. I took it home, removed the cellophane from the tasty treat and took a bite. It tasted like stale cigarette smoke. I had my wife take a bite to confirm my findings. We threw it in the rubbish and never went back to Henry's again...until after the smoke ban went into effect and the food became edible. The smoke ban gave Henry's a boost in business in our case.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Just because you don't like my answer doesn't mean I didn't answer your question, Marion.

Clearly, if smoking establishments are quite limited in their size and number, then that would mean that employees there would likely have a good deal of choice about whether they accept working in an atmosphere polluted by second-hand smoke, and that's why I think a very narrow exception would be an acceptable compromise.

common_cents 8 years, 4 months ago

And don't forget, they are the ones whose parents always yell at the school because their child was causing trouble.

Has to be the school's fault.... could be no fault of the parents nor the student. Nope... can't be.

No Freedom for YOU! Come back in 1 hour!

Candice Chandler 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Marion. We are adults with options. We can choose to patronize an establishment or not. If you don't like smoking, don't patronize an establishment that allows it and don't work there. Jeesh! I am sick & tired of all the cry-babies that want to government to intervene! Pass a law to ban smoking, pass a law to force handwashing at school, don't say "God" in the pledge of allegiance, blah, blah, blah. The more the government gets into our business, the less freedoms we have. Where is this all going to end?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Learn to spell it if you're going to oppose it!"

Now there's an intellectually overpowering argument.

And anyway, if you actually read my post(s), you would have noticed that I wasn't opposing it. I was proposing what I thought could be an acceptable compromise.

common_cents 8 years, 4 months ago

It's "havening"

http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/tickets10.htm

See problem ticket #2 - havening I say!

No Freedom for you! Come back in 1 hour!

altarego 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't smoke, and I can't stand the stink of it. If you smoke, I can smell you twenty feet away.

But I agree with Marion. It doesn't make any sense to me to ban cigarettes. People should be able to choose whether to smoke, and whether to go to a place where smokers are. And whether to work in a place where smoking is allowed. There was a no-smoking bar that opened pre-ban (can't remember the name now), and I think they were on the right track.

Good Luck, Mr Steffes

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

The difference between junk food and smoke is junk food does not float across a room at free will and invade others.

If all non smokers stayed away as some suggested there would be far fewer places to socialize simply because of a dramatic loss in revenue. According to many reports 80% of the population does not smoke.

None of the "stakeholders" at the time wanted neither compromise nor put it to a vote. This is the end result and more smoking restrictions will follow elsewhere. Our neighbor Colorado made it statewide and Kansas City will eventually.

An Ohio State Univ. study defintitely concluded that second hand smoke does in fact enter non smoking bodies. I fail to understand what it is about bars and smoking and why they must have each other. I do not believe revenue loss should over ride the ban. I would not support the ban if were only about consumers such as myself who disliked the odor on my body,clothes and in my hair. That would be unacceptable and irresponsible. Health is the only reason of substance.

meggers 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion,

It's insufficient, not insufficent. Sorry, couldn't resist...

I agree with you, though. A business owner should have every right to cater to the clientele of his/her choosing, as long as it is a legal activity. Smoking is still a legal activity.

It's especially absurd to know that a business owner who happens to smoke can't even do so within a business they own and pay taxes on, even if they do it in the back room.

I think the ban should be lifted and every establishment that's open to the public should be required to clearly post on the outside of the business whether it is a smoking or non-smoking facility. Problem solved.

budwhysir 8 years, 4 months ago

Where there is smoke there is always fire

down_the_river 8 years, 4 months ago

Some interesting arguments here. For a little light with the heat you might check out the recent article in the Environmental Law Review by MU Law Professor Thomas Lambert. It's a 21 page article titled "The Case Against Smoking Bans" and it's likely the most complete and rational review of the public policy and science that's ever been published. You can download it through the Social Science Research Network at http://ssrn.com/abstract=897511

Be aware, at 21 pages with lots of footnotes, it's only for those who are serious about the discussion. For the rest of you, please carry on.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 4 months ago

In a place held open to the public, the right to fill your lungs with toxic fumes ends when they pose an imminent threat and nuisance to my lungs. Smoking bans in businesses is good public policy. There is simply no inalienable right to smoke in a restaurant. Thus, if public policy supports a law on the grounds of health affects, which are significant, then smokers can wait 20 minutes to fire that cigarette up. Moreover, a comprehensive ban on cigarette use in restaurants actually stands to increase sales revenue in some instances. For example, a restaurant has a max serving volume on a given night based on the seating capacity, the hours of operation, and the length of stay per customer. If the length of stay per customer is shortened for any reason, i.e. smoker having to leave earlier than the non-smoking patron, the volume of net customers in a night increases. Thus, the loss of business argument is not entirely sound and smoking bans may actually increase business.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

""The Case Against Smoking Bans" and it's likely the most complete and rational review of the public policy and science that's ever been published."

Not really. He's merely taken the side that says that smokers' rights and property rights supercede the rights of patrons and employees to breathe unpolluted air.

cowboy 8 years, 4 months ago

the case against smoking bans is simply one of what choices can adults make and what is governments role. How far is Lawrence's do good community willing to go to protect the public ?

Been in one of those nail salons lately , if thats not hazardous I don't know what is , light a match and kablooey you'll go

I'm sure that the alcohol consumed daily in our bars is all therapeutic

How about the glassware and ceramic kilns in town spewing lead and cadmium into the air

Will this generation be the first to start dropping dead from caffeine overdoses

If you live in central lawrence your house has lead based paint in it , be careful with your kids and make sure you get all the proper permits before remodeling these homes

My point being that there are all sorts of hazards out there , how many should be addressed and where does it stop ?

Rationalanimal 8 years, 4 months ago

"I notice no comeback to my statnement, "If you don't like smoke, don't go where the smoke is!"

Thanks.

Marion."

================================== To ensure clean air in enclosed public places, smoking is not permitted.

Respectfully,

RA

Crispian Paul 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, Marion, just a thought...you seem to be of the "don't like smoking, don't go to a smoking establishment" school, right? Couldn't the same be also said for "don't like abortions, don't have one..."

If you are going to refer to "killing", smoking kills too (and I smoke, and even I will admit this).

person184 8 years, 4 months ago

It would be a different argument if the smoke only harmed the people that chose the activity. We now know a lot better. Keep the smoking ban and smokers go on over to Marion's house to light up!

Rationalanimal 8 years, 4 months ago

"why would you want to go into a place which allowed smoking?"

I don't mean to be flip, but, I suppose the same question could be asked of black people wanting to go into "white only" establishments back in the day.

One could also use this argument as a basis for eliminating food and premise inspections under the theory that if people don't like rats and roaches, they can go to other businesses free of rats and roaches.

The issue is a matter of public policy and regulatory will. There is no inalienable right to fill the air in public places with fumes toxic to other citizens. If the regulatory will is in place, which it appropriately is based on objective evidence, the regulation is legitimate.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion's doing ALL CAPS again. That's the last refuge of a ranter.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 4 months ago

I am not really advocating the abortion comparison, but how does this statement not apply to the abortion issue?

"Why cannot a group of people CHOOSE to engage in a legal behaviour in a given place?"

That's all I will say about the pro-choice/life argument.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, and your selecting to focus only on my analogy to a Jim Crowe argument and completely avoid my comparison to food oversight and the lack of inalienable rights to smoke is glaring. Your silence implies you agree that the City has power to regulate smoking pursuant to the same power it has to regulate business through food and safety inspections.

down_the_river 8 years, 4 months ago

The city regulates no businesses through food and safety inspections. Those reviews are the domain of KDHE and OSHA, both of whom have mandated scientific review processes to assure proper (not over-reaching) implementation of restrictions on businesses. As I'm sure you know, OSHA has found no indication that second hand smoke is dangerous for employees in common concentrations. Therefore, the bans have been left up to non-science based efforts to enforce the questionable wisdom of majority rulers. Majorities have been too willing to dump on minorities in many social settings. Here's another. This is only a progressive crusade if you still regard Carry Nation as a progressive. She managed to ban tobacco in Kansas altogether.

davisnin 8 years, 4 months ago

Stop saying PUBLIC PLACES! These are PRIVATE ESTABLISHMENTS! They are not owned by the government*. It is your privilege to enter. Health codes that inspect the kitchen are there because you cannot perceive the cleanliness of it from the customer area. There were two non-smoking bars pre ban, the Gaslight and the Bella Lounge. The Gaslight holds 10 people and was mostly empty. The Bella switched to a smoking bar to avoid going out of business, but it was too late. Where were you anti-smokers then?

*unlike Clinton Park where you people whine about the government intrusion of cameras.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 4 months ago

"I notice no comeback to my statnement, "If you don't like smoke, don't go where the smoke is!"

Here's my comeback. Your reasoning is flawed. The marketplace does not work the way that you suppose. Suppose there are 100 potential customers of a business. 95 do not smoke and 5 are nicotine addicts. What rational businessman would voluntarily risk reducing his potential marketplace by barring smoking in his restaurant? Almost none. Instead, as 100 years of history on the matter demonstrates, our businessman will cater to the lowest demoninator and allow smoking in hopes of attracting the 5 nicotine addled customers & will hope that the permitted smoking does not alienate the 95 nonsmokers. The marketplace will not give the vast majority of nonsmokers the options you claim we should simply choose & therefore we, the majority, are imposing our will politically. If you do not like it, marshall the political forces necessary to change the law. Otherwise, go home, or to your car (with your windows shut) and smoke to your hearts content (or rather detriment.) And, keep those butts to yourselves too. And please be sure to breath deep & let that lung cancer settle nice and deep in your lungs. The sooner you all go to that great smoking section in the sky, the sooner I get my fresh, clean air back.

davisnin 8 years, 4 months ago

No, the pro ban people believe that the world and other peoples livelihoods should revolve around their preferences and they use 'public' to assert their 'right' to do this. Just like they become the defenders of workers health because it serves their end, even if that protection means the workers become unemployed.

No, I wouldn't prefer cameras. What I'm pointing out is the hypocrisy. "Regulate what I don't like, not what I do. Even though what I do is is actually illegal."

The only important thing here is: You are an adult, take responsibility for your own life and entertainment choices and stop trying to get the government to hold your hand.

moxxie_mama 8 years, 4 months ago

Smoking bans are not for protecting the health of non-smokers, it's a bunch of hooey. Amazing we have so many centurians when they were exposed to all that deadly smoke for so many years!

Take for example all the new businesses banning smoking on all their properties- even the public owned sidewalks. Not in your car, not in a bar.

This is just what nonsmokers wish to do, dictate what others do, and it doesn't matter what the real science is on second-hand smoke, they ignore it.

They don't like it, therefore you shouldn't do it.

Next they'll be forbidding cheesecake. Non smokers need to just get over themselves.

down_the_river 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, but if those 95 who did not smoke cared enough about it to not go to a bar with smoking, and went to a bar without smoking, then the original rational businessman would be left with those 5 customers. He would abruptly learn to innovate and accommodate. Instead, now we are in the thrall of a small group of activists who have learned to intimidate and spread fear, both with businessmen and customers. There are much better options than prohibition. Carry Nation's plan did not last long the first time, and neither will this. Science, reason and innovation will eventually resolve the conflict. Air quality will become a new standard, and standards will be measureable. The model from St Louis Park Minnesota seems like a good start.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 4 months ago

"Yes, but if those 95 who did not smoke cared enough about it to not go to a bar with smoking, and went to a bar without smoking, then the original rational businessman would be left with those 5 customers"

No, that is my point, the 95 have no such choice. The vast majority of businesses cater to the largest number of people possible. They want to compete for a universe of 100 customers, not just 95. They rarely act against their own selfish interests and limit the number of potential customers. Unless the government acts or laws are passed, businesses have never offered widescale nonsmoking options. Thus it is foolish to suggest that the nonsmoker may simply choose not to patronize an establishment that allows smoking. Again, I say change the law via the political process if you can marshall a majority.

davisnin 8 years, 4 months ago

So obviously most nonsmokers don't care. Or you're an idiot. Or both.

Bella Lounge, Gaslight, nonsmoking, empty. (feel free to ignore this, I'm sure you will)

If they had been overflowing I'm sure those selfish businessmen would still not cater to the nonsmoker.

Its sad that your rampant gluttony and alcoholism and armed men and the government forced you into those bars and restaurants for so many years... God, you must have lung cancer by now, I'm so sorry, all that second hand smoke.

wildcat86 8 years, 4 months ago

"If you don't like smoke all you have to do is not go where the smoke is!"

Marion: How is this to be accomplished when smoking is everywhere? You can't go anywhere where there isn't smoking because, well, it's everywhere so you can't say "go where the smoke isn't".

Thanks

Meatwad 8 years, 4 months ago

oh man, i wish LJW wouldn't publish any more articles on smoking bans for the sole reason that, when they do, it means Marion is going to fill up the whole comments section with tired old arguments. Yawn.

Also, don't forget that smoking ban opponents are often non smokers (and just are anti laws in general), and a great many smokers love the smoking ban.

How about a ban on posting comments on this tired subject unless someone has something new to say? :)

Emily Hadley 8 years, 4 months ago

Whew, yeah--something about smoking really flips his crazy switch!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Let adults make adult decisions. What are you afraid of?"

Too many juveniles, like you, pretending to be adults.

davisnin 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow Logic, um, good arguments. Except you obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about because the Gaslight is just a couple years old. It was a sandwich shop before. Oh, there was a place with the same name on Oread in the olden days. And my argument wasn't that they were struggling, it was that non-smokers didn't go to the non-smoking bars that were available. The options were there for them, and there would have been more if they were successful. No, what they did was force business owners to make them new bars. So obviously it is more of a burden to drive 3 blocks than deal with smoke? Where does it say that the governments role is to babysit special interests? At least you don't pretend it was for the 'health' of the employees, but it was just wanting things your way.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

This topic certainly does inspire quite a bit of rancor and name-calling.

Marion and others' argument about letting the market decide is flawed, imho.

There are many instances wherein our government has "intruded" in order to preserve important rights, prevent abuse, etc.

Without that "intrusion" we'd still have Jim Crow laws. In fact the South protested the "intrusion" of the North at the time.

The question is whether smoking is an activity which is a fundamental right or not. If not, it is permissable to curtail it on the grounds of the common good, or to ensure the rights of others.

And, Marion, please don't insult me by calling the analogy irrelevant. Why would blacks want to go where they're not wanted, private businesses should be able to decide for themselves, they can just patronize black businesses, etc. were all arguments that were advanced by proponents of segregation.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 4 months ago

"Whatintheeverlovin'hell gives you the RIGHT?"

Majority rule. Don't like it? Convince the majority of your position and change the law.

"If you do not like smoke, don't go to where the smoke is."

I think the postings that precede this one have pretty much put this claim to shame. For the reasons listed above, the marketplace failed to provide any meaningful "choice" for nonsmokers. So they(the overwhelming non-nicotine addicted majority) have acted by passing this law you find so offensive. Don't like it? Tough, you are free to choose to live in a less progressive town without such restrictions. Lord knows there are still plenty of them. And since you are free to "choose" a new place to live at any time, if I follow your reasoning, there is no problem. Right?

Scott Drummond 8 years, 4 months ago

"Your argument is specious.

some places would be smoking and others not.

You would be free to make the choice yourself as to which establishments you would enter.

The market would determine which succeded and which failed

Easy and simple.

Thanks.

Marion."

OK, since you seem to be ignoring the market failure point that Logic & I (in a much more clumbsy manner) have been making, please name all the pre-ban bars in existence in Lawrence during the last, say, 30 years, that us non-smokers could have "chosen" to go to to avoid smokers. I've seen the two names listed above, so no point listing them again. Please point out how the argument that the marketplace has failed us is wrong by reminding me of all the choices I've had.

I'll be watching for your prompt and thorough response.

Oh, yeah, and it's been my experience that when one person starts calling the other names, for example like this:

"scott3460:

RE: Your earlier posts.

You are an idiot.

Thanks.

Marion."

it usually means that person is losing the argument and resorting to distractions to avoid closer scrutiny of the weakness of his position. It is pathetic.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

In the Libertarian free-market ideology, what prevents large multinational corporations from dominating the market? Or companies getting together to pay lower wages and hurt workers? Or environmental destruction on an even larger scale?

Where does this faith in the free market come from?

And, I notice that no one has commented on the basic question here - is there a fundamental right to smoke?

Our fundamental rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - smoking may be an expression of the last. However, being able to go out without being exposed to carcinogens may also be interepreted that way. In which case, best case for smokers, we have a conflict between "pursuit of happiness" rights. Generally speaking, when one's exercise of that right interferes with others', it can be curtailed. In other words, smoking in public places interferes with non-smokers' right to eat out without inhaling second-hand smoke.

It is similar to the "my right to wave my fist around stops where your face begins" concept. Smokers can smoke outside where it doesn't affect non-smokers as much.

fsbchuck 8 years, 4 months ago

jafs, could it not just as easily be said that your right to tell me to stop swinging my arms around ends when you step into my boxing ring? There really seems to be a disconnect between what is regarded as public and what is regarded as private space. The further we push scientifically questionable laws into private space, the more we abandon freedoms for someone else's definition of safety. Sorry if it seems like I don't trust the government to look out for my best interests rather than looking for their desire to control. There are too many examples I've seen to give blind faith to a government, either local or national.

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 4 months ago

That would be correct, you can not open a place because those who choose to use an otherwise perfectly legal product have been deemed incapable of excericising the self-control and personal responsibility to refrain from infringing on others.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

If a place allows smoking, Eva, and you can't stand smoke, why on earth would you even consider going there?

I personally don't enjoy the sound of screaming children during a meal, so I choose not to go to places like Chuck E. Cheeses, because I know that's what I'll find there.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

REIN IN BIG TOBACCO

Monday, February 19, 2007 Posted by Jim Hightower

The food and drug administration regulates the contents of Aspirin, potato chips... even dog food. But this safety watchdog has neither bite nor bark when it comes to setting standards for the deadliest product in our society: tobacco.

This highly addictive drug hooks children, kills some 340,000 Americans ever year, sickens nonsmokers who merely are around the fumes, and adds billions of dollars in costs to our heath care system. Yet, thanks to Big Tobacco's campaign donations and lobbyists, the White House and congress have refused to require FDA regulation of this killer product, allowing corporate profits to trump public health.

There are easy steps the corporations could take to reduce the addictive and carcinogenic power of their products. Far from reducing the killer contents, however, cigarette makers have deliberately been juicing up the potency of their cancer sticks. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health finds that the amount of addictive nicotine that cigarettes pump into the lungs of smokers jumped by 11 percent from 1998 to 2005.

With no regulators to restrain them, the corporations have merrily added higher-nicotine tobacco to cigarettes and get this modified cigarette design so smokers take more puffs from each one! In other words, they have carelessly made their products a greater danger.

This year, however, the new Democratic majority in congress has a chance to rein in these runaway greedheads by putting tobacco products under FDA regulation. Sen. Ted Kennedy has proposed legislation allowing FDA to crack down on tobacco advertising (especially ads that target children) and to regulate the contents and design of cigarettes to reduce their harm to smokers and those around them.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Tobacco corporations literally are sucking the life out of people. To learn more about Kennedy's bill, call his office: 202-224-4543.

Soures: "Regulate Tobacco, Finally," Washington Post, January 19, 2007.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

"This highly addictive drug hooks children, kills some 340,000 Americans ever year, sickens nonsmokers who merely are around the fumes, and adds billions of dollars in costs to our heath care system."

Marion wouldn't you think it would be fair if the tobacco would publish each time the nicotine levels are increased considering you are a smoker?

"A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health finds that the amount of addictive nicotine that cigarettes pump into the lungs of smokers jumped by 11 percent from 1998 to 2005."

"With no regulators to restrain them, the corporations have merrily added higher-nicotine tobacco to cigarettes and get this modified cigarette design so smokers take more puffs from each one! In other words, they have carelessly made their products a greater danger."

fsbchuck 8 years, 4 months ago

Merrill, before you start patting yourself on the back too much about the FDA regulation bill from Sen Kennedy, you should heed the comment about politics making strange bedfellows. The FDA legislation has been the main legislative push from Phillip Morris for the past 2 years. Once again, an idea that is presented as a protection for us little guys is nothing more than a market manipulation and protection racket for big corporations. Check out Dr. Michael Siegel's testimony on the bill at his site:

www.tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com

Don't get suckered into being a promoter for Phillip Morris' agenda.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion,

I have no objection to businesses opening "smoking joints", as you colorfully call them.

Provided, of, course, that there are enough non-smoking places that people who wish to work without exposing themselves to carcinogens can do so.

Fsbchuck, the question is whether a restaurant which is open to all customers should be seen as "your boxing ring" or not.

Also, there are many examples of the government involving itself in business to safeguard the health and well-being of workers, the environment, etc. Why is this different?

I notice that Marion didn't answer any of my questions about Libertarianism - I wonder why not.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion,

I disagree - your position (and others) on the smoking issue seems to have a Libertarian philosophy embedded in it.

It is of course not the responsibility of private businesses to ensure employment - that's why the government gets involved.

Government has been involved in protecting the health of workers for some time now out of necessity, given that businesses wouldn't do it on their own (another reason Libertarianism seems inadequate to me).

A free market is only an economic entity and, as such, unconcerned with other issues which may be important to us as a society.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

Have we devolved into name-calling now?

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

I suppose I could come up with some for you, if I had to.

down_the_river 8 years, 4 months ago

Jafs, I agree with you - "Government has been involved in protecting the health of workers for some time now out of necessity, given that businesses wouldn't do it on their own (another reason Libertarianism seems inadequate to me)."

But, as I'm sure you know, the agency for those concerns is OSHA. For five years (during the Clinton administration) OSHA reviewed studies and testimony on the workplace impact of secondhand smoke. They factored the components of smoke exposure based on their tabulated data for air contaminant substances, and the established Permissible Exposure Levels. Their conclusion? "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels. It would be VERY RARE to find a workplace with so much smoking that ANY individual PEL would be exceeded."

This issue has been taken out of the workplace safety realm by crusaders who have a disdain for science. That's the trouble.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

"For five years (during the Clinton administration) OSHA reviewed studies and testimony on the workplace impact of secondhand smoke. They factored the components of smoke exposure based on their tabulated data for air contaminant substances, and the established Permissible Exposure Levels. Their conclusion? "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels. It would be VERY RARE to find a workplace with so much smoking that ANY individual PEL would be exceeded."

If this is true of employees in places that allowed smoking, then I would think it would also be true of patrons of those establishments. After all, the patrons are there for a much shorter length of time than the employees are.

moxxie_mama 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion I disagree with you about this being liberal vs Neocon. Libs believe in choice, remember?

Most of the ones I've encountered for the bans are neocons.

Haven't you figured out yet, this isn't about ideology, this is about dictating what others do with their lives- a very neocon philosophy!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.