Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2010

Going against ‘nature’

Jerry Fitzgerald, Ozawkie, lights a cigarette from a stool at the Perry Bar and Grill Monday, June 21, 2010. As of July 1, patrons will no longer be able to smoke in all restaurants and bars, with the exception being state-run casinos, when the statewide smoking ban goes into effect. In addition, smokers who choose to smoke outside must be ten feet from a public doorway when doing so. "I probably won't be at the bars as much," said Fitzgerald in response to a question regarding the challenges that such a law creates for smokers.

Jerry Fitzgerald, Ozawkie, lights a cigarette from a stool at the Perry Bar and Grill Monday, June 21, 2010. As of July 1, patrons will no longer be able to smoke in all restaurants and bars, with the exception being state-run casinos, when the statewide smoking ban goes into effect. In addition, smokers who choose to smoke outside must be ten feet from a public doorway when doing so. "I probably won't be at the bars as much," said Fitzgerald in response to a question regarding the challenges that such a law creates for smokers.

June 27, 2010


The Perry Bar and Grill, 215 E. Front St., will be just one of the many Kansas bars and restaurants affected by the statewide smoking ban that goes into effect Thursday. Owner Rick Wilks estimates that 40 percent of his patrons are smokers and fears a loss of revenue because of the new law.

The Perry Bar and Grill, 215 E. Front St., will be just one of the many Kansas bars and restaurants affected by the statewide smoking ban that goes into effect Thursday. Owner Rick Wilks estimates that 40 percent of his patrons are smokers and fears a loss of revenue because of the new law.

A growing number of college campuses are implementing campuswide bans on tobacco use. KU lands somewhere in the middle.

A growing number of college campuses are implementing campuswide bans on tobacco use. KU lands somewhere in the middle.

— Pickups, mini-vans — even a school bus with curtains — park right next to the railroad tracks that run along this small town’s Front Street.

Hanging from a mish-mash of a building, a business sign from a different era alerts motorists to what everybody who is anybody already knew: They’ve arrived at the Perry Bar & Grill.

The sign also advertises that the joint sells Coca Cola — which is kind of like announcing Martin Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States. It’s true, but nobody really cares.

These days, the more fitting sign hangs from behind the bar, which has survived the Great Depression, the 1951 flood and countless pounds of grown men leaning, slumping and lying upon it.

The sign — over a bit from one advertising both pickled eggs and candy bars for 75 cents — reads:

Price List

Answers: $10

Answers Requiring Thought: $20

Answers Correct: $50

Dumb Looks: Still free

These days, dumb looks also are plentiful here. Come July 1, this small-town bar and every other one like it in Kansas will become smoke-free. And the patrons of the Perry Bar & Grill are not embarrassed to admit that this idea of a statewide smoking ban has left them confused.

“Everybody knows when you go to a bar,” said Steven Ernst from his stool at the end rail, “you’re going to drink, you’re going to smoke and you’re going to get stupid. It is just nature.”

• • •

Evidently, for the last six years nature has taken a back seat in Lawrence. That’s how long Lawrence has had an ordinance that bans smoking inside bars, restaurants and pretty much every other public workplace in the city.

Whether that means going to a Lawrence bar sans cigarette has become second-nature is still an open question. It depends on whom you ask.

“I think it has gotten to the point that people sort of accept it as normal,” said Dave Kingsley, a Kansas University Medical School professor and former chair of the mayoral task force that studied Lawrence’s ban. “From what I see, people are very happy with it. It doesn’t appear to have hurt the businesses really. I have nothing but good feelings about it.”

Jerry Neverve, owner of the Red Lyon Tavern, 944 Mass., and a longtime ban opponent, can think of a few people who would disagree. He says the after-work bar crowd has nearly evaporated as smokers skip the bars and pick up a bottle on the way home.

But there are others who may miss the old days even more.

“We used to employ 15 people, and now we employ nine,” Neverve said. “That’s one of the first things we had to do.”

• • •

Even after a half-dozen years, the issue in Lawrence remains clouded by emotion, with neither side all that willing to concede a point to the other.

Perhaps numbers can clear it up.

The numbers most often used to determine the economic impact of the smoking ban are drink tax numbers. Bars and restaurants charge a 10 percent tax on all liquor sales. The city gets a portion of the tax and produces annual reports on collections.

At a glance, it appears Lawrence’s hospitality industry has done OK. In 2003, the last full year without the ban, the city collected $1.55 million in drink taxes. In 2009, with the ban firmly in place, the totals had grown to $1.84 million. Collections per establishment also rose, from about $13,000 in 2003 to about $15,000 in 2009. Those aren’t the type of numbers for an industry devastated.

But a deeper look shows the industry has slowed since the ban. From 1999 to 2003, drink tax numbers grew by 24.4 percent. After the ban, from 2005 to 2009, the growth rate slowed to 16 percent.

Maybe that is just a sign of a slowing economy. To check that, drink tax numbers were compared to overall sales tax growth in Lawrence. In each year from 1999 to 2003, the drink tax grew faster than the sales tax. But from 2005 to 2009, the growth in sales tax outpaced the growth in drink tax every year but 2008 — the year of KU’s NCAA championship and much merriment at local bars.

The two sides don’t agree on what the numbers mean.

Dr. Steven Bruner, a Lawrence physician and ban supporter, said the post-ban numbers are skewed by lulls in 2005 and 2006 that were created by first-round losses by the Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament.

“The thing to draw from this is if you want to sell a lot of booze, don’t lose in the first round,” Bruner said.

Neverve believes the general economy has had an impact on the numbers, but he thinks it is disingenuous to say the ban hasn’t hurt, too.

“These numbers show exactly what we were saying back at the beginning of the ban,” Neverve said. “It would hurt business.”

So much for numbers clearing this up.

But maybe we’re not looking at the right number. When Bruner talks of the ban, he doesn’t talk of dollars and cents. He points to studies that show the number of heart attacks decline in communities with smoking bans. A Lawrence study hasn’t been conducted, but he said several U.S. and European studies have shown heart attacks have declined by 15 percent to 20 percent following bans.

“When the City Commission first passed this ban,” Bruner said at a recent City Hall meeting, “I told the commission that I had been a family physician for 30 years and that with their vote they had the chance to save more lives in one night than I would in an entire career.

“Now with the state passing its ban, it turns out that was a wonderful understatement. You’ve saved many, many more.”

To that, Neverve answers with his own broad argument.

“Anything you can do to improve health is a good idea, but this is still one of those personal freedom issues,” Neverve said. “Tobacco is still legal.”

• • •

When Steven Ernst — our friend at the end of the bar — thinks of numbers, seven comes to mind. That’s how many cartons of cigarettes his parents smoked per week. It was a good number because it allowed a young Ernst to steal a couple of packs a week without anyone noticing.

“I became a very good smoker when I was 15,” Ernst said.

He’s 37 now, and sits next to two packs of cigarettes at the bar. Taverns across the state are full of men just like him.

“I would have never thought the day would come that you couldn’t smoke in this place,” said Rick Wilks, who has owned the bar for the last 16 years. “If the state wouldn’t have stepped in, it never would have happened in Jefferson County. I guarantee you that.”

Wilks isn’t sure how much the smoking ban will hurt his business. But he is worried about the bar, which has been going in one form or another since 1928. He notes that Perry is much different from Lawrence. This bar relies on a relatively small group of regulars, not a constantly changing group of students.

Wilks is spending $3,500 to build a deck to try to keep some of the regulars happy. He’s hoping that a few more families will come in for a burger and fries, now that smoke won’t be an issue. And maybe, just maybe, this ban will cause a few people to drop the smoking habit.

Three-rail 8-ball shots were drawing more bets than that proposition.

“I know I need to quit smoking,” said Paul Maline. “But this is just making me want to say, ‘The hell with you.’”

So maybe the ban will hurt places like this. Kingsley, the KU researcher, isn’t afraid to admit that. To him, the issue has never been about the customers who choose to frequent these places. It has been about the workers who have to go there day after day. And, no, he doesn’t buy the argument that they could just choose to work somewhere else. He doesn’t think it works that way, especially in this economy.

“It might hurt a smaller bar,” Kingsley said. “But when you think of the whole public interest, that is really what we have to think about here. When it comes to the overall good of the public, we’re doing the right thing.”


number3of5 6 years ago

I did not read any protests from Fred's Place in Perry or don't they count?

number3of5 6 years ago

I did not read any protests from Fred's Place in Perry or don't they count?

Liberty275 6 years ago

Hooray, the government can save lives. They could save even more lives by putting all 300 million Americans in pseudo-prisons and forcing them to exercise (while wearing sunblock and a helmet!) and eat the proper foods. They could also regulate how much sleep you get and with which other people you are allowed to breathe hard.

Just think of all the lives that could be saved! We need to start filling up those cattle cars with Americans for their relocation and re-education.

ralphralph 6 years ago

The Greater Good ... as determined by your Government. Nyet!

parrothead8 6 years ago

Government by the people, for the people. Nonsmokers outnumber smokers, and I bet more people support a smoking ban than don't.

Liberty275 6 years ago

I'm a non-smoker and I disagree with the ban because it is just more erosion of property rights. Not everyone is so shallow to vote for or against something based on whether they will personally benefit from the outcome.

KC_Chicagoan 6 years ago

"Not everyone is so shallow to vote for or against something based on whether they will personally benefit from the outcome."


Then what's the point of having a say at all? I'm not saying you're wrong. However, most people DO vote because they're being affected, not because they're not being affected.

I disagree that this is an erosion of property rights. It's one thing to own private property that serves a private membership (e.g. a family's house), but another thing when it's private property open to the public. If properties have an obligation to provide safe environment (and they do, otherwise there wouldn't be a need to have property insurance) for their customers, why shouldn't it include smoke-free air, especially within a confined environment? (outdoor patios and other open-air locations should still be smoking areas, IMO)

That aside, I see these smokers saying how they won't be going to bars or restaurants anymore/less often. I find that that truly hard to believe. There will be some who will protest by following through and not frequenting bars/restaurants, and I admire them for their persistence; it is their right to do so. However, the vast majority are just going to suck it up and have a smoke outside. They'll complain about it for a little and then it will just become another fact of life.

Liberty275 6 years ago

but another thing when it's private property open to the public

Why is it different? Is the property somehow less personally owned by a citizen because it is used to sell a good or service? It isn't like the public is forced to buy anything (except for health insurance), so they can't be compelled to enter any establishment.

However, most people DO vote because they're being affected

Sure. But it is petty to vote against personal liberty so you can enter someone else's personal business with the expectation of not smelling smoke. Between the two opposed ideals of liberty and not voluntarily breathing smoke, liberty is much more important.

why shouldn't it include smoke-free air, especially within a confined environment?

That should be left entirely up to the property owner. It should also be left up to the patron if they wish to spend their money at the establishment.

Jock Navels 6 years ago

I believe Voltaire, the freedom loving libertarian philosopher stated, "Your freedom to swing your fist stops where my nose begins." Air and water, being fluid and pretty much uncontainable are actually held in common. No one has the right to put others in danger for their own personal enjoyment. Hence, a smoking ban in public places is not an infringement on anyone's 'rights.' I am a smoker, roll my own, have been for 45 years, and I have no problem with the ban.

Liberty275 6 years ago

Your freedom to swing your fist stops where my nose begins

Interesting point. Does your right to swing your metaphorical fist end at the tip of the business owner's nose? In effect, what we have here is legislation allowing the government to ignore the business owner's right not to be hit on the nose and swing away on your behalf.

Of the two sides, only one is using force against the other, and it is the anti-smoking legislation employing force. The business owner is entirely impotent as he cannot render fines on customers that don't patronize his business.

Can you not see the contradiction in your own use of Voltaire's statement?

parrothead8 6 years ago

The only one using force is the anti-smoking legislation? You cannot be that naive. Are you just ignoring the heavy-hitting, high-dollar lobbyists employed by tobacco companies to make shady back-room deals at the expense of public health over the last several generations?

Anti-smoking legislation is just the non-smokers finally hitting back after decades of absorbing back-alley sucker punches. The smoker's right to swing their ashy, cancer-causing fists now stops at the law.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

"Nonsmokers outnumber smokers, and I bet more people support a smoking ban than don't."

Democracy: Three lions and a zebra voting on what's for dinner.

Larry 6 years ago

Good suggestion Tarball. Everyone knows Mexico doesn't have drug problems and is a perfect example of how legalizing illegal drugs can only benefit society as a whole.

Majestic42 6 years ago

Owned. (I seriously do not understand people who still think legalizing drugs is a good idea)

Liberty275 6 years ago

It's your body, you should be able to put into it whatever you want as long as you don't harm other people. That's the only reason that matters.

A less important reason is that it would put the thugs selling illegal drugs out of business.

maxcrabb 6 years ago

Does basketball really have such an impact on numbers it skews an entire years worth of stats?

jonas_opines 6 years ago

Have we not hashed and rehashed this out enough yet?

Tom Miller 6 years ago

...mmm, hash...oops, nevermind...

jonas_opines 6 years ago


Had that thought myself. Well played.

zzgoeb 6 years ago

This is NOT a personal safety issue, it is a public health issue. Smoke at home all you want, but not where I eat, drink or work. For the same reason you don't want a hog farm in your neighbor's yard I don' t want smoke in public places.

lawrencenerd 6 years ago

So what exactly does this Steven Bruner guy know about running a bar? It says he's been a physician for 30 years, not a bar owner. His opinion on what has harmed business isn't informed or valid. His opinion on how it affects health is all he has to offer up as an expert. If the bar owners say it is the smoking ban that has hurt business, I'm sure they are right.

So, why no mention of how this new state smoking ban really screws business owners who have worked to comply with Lawrence's smoking ban while still allowing a place for customers to smoke? Many business owners have spent money on building patios. A lot of those are out in front of the business on the street. It is my understanding with the new state ban it would be illegal to smoke within 10 feet of a door, effectively making any patio in front of a business a place where it is banned to smoke. So if you go for a pint at the red lyon, you could no longer step out front and sit on the benches to have a smoke. That'll definitely harm business. Many people I know would not go to a bar you cannot smoke at, period. Liquor store sales will probably go up.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Will also allow us nonsmokers to enjoy the patios for a change.

lawrencenerd 6 years ago

Lets be clear on this. I don't smoke, and it isn't an emotional slant on the issue. A physician is not an expert on running a bar. He doesn't own a bar, doesn't run the books for a bar, and doesn't work at a bar in any other capacity. He is not an expert on what causes business to go up and down for a particular bar. I'm not gonna ask a chimney sweep what his opinion is of the algae growing in my pool, nor would I ask a cook to diagnose a rash developing on my skin.

I'm not sure what halfwit you are speaking of hovering over a pack of cigarettes. If that is what you think of people that own and run businesses that is your assumption, not mine. People that run bars don't even necessarily smoke, but they are certainly more informed about what is good and bad for their business then a physician who seems to think all bars are affected the same way. Not everybody gives a damn about sports, and there are bars out there that the games aren't even shown at.

There are a few patios appear to still be legal to smoke on around, and certainly business in those places will go up. As for moving 10 feet from the door, you'd be asking people to leave downtown for a cigarette essentially. I doubt there are many places you can manage to get 10 feet from a door without being within 10 feet of another door downtown. It certainly will hurt business owners, and considering the economy being as rough as it is, I think it is a little foolish to encourage people to spend their money elsewhere. You can still go to KCMO and drink until 3AM and smoke indoors. People will likely spend more time having private gatherings as well.

greenworld 6 years ago

Hey Jerry- Why dont you try quitting smoking?? So the real question is do people go to bars to smoke or drink. Or do they do their to try and meet people??

KEITHMILES05 6 years ago

Cry me a river but this is the way it's gonna be. You can't beat it so join it. All those bars and whatnot can build an outside area to smoke. Reasonable people will go there and smoke and continue to give the business their patronage. This is alot of too doooooo about nothing.

greenworld 6 years ago

Hey Jerry- I thought you were from Meridan??

puddleglum 6 years ago

smoking damages your skin. If you want to be pretty like me (not gonna happen, but you can try) You must not smoke cigarettes or weed. second hand smoke is worse. stay clean, stay pretty

Liberty275 6 years ago

I'm pretty twice. Pretty ugly and pretty apt to stay that way. Neener!

tomatogrower 6 years ago

Going against nature? What is natural about drug addiction?

Majestic42 6 years ago

Wait for it. A smoker will come on here and yell about how it's his "right." It all boils down to a selfish control disorder. They want all the control possible over their life, when in reality, our lives are nowhere near in our control.

barlowtl 6 years ago

Did I read correctly, State run casinos are exempt? Dare I ask why? If the bars were state run, would smoking be legal? Or, if there was gambling in bars would smoking be legal? Just wonderin.

Steve Jacob 6 years ago

Very simple. No one would build the state owned casino with no smoking.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

It is too bad that the Free State Brewery and Johnnies have shut down due to the passage of the smoking ordinance.

oh.... nevermind.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

These addicts inflict harm on the wholly innocent, however.

Keith 6 years ago

Jerry Fitzgerald, Ozawkie, lights a cigarette from a stool...

Yer doin it wrong.

Mike Ford 6 years ago

jeff county anti government rural people don't want government intervention on their smoking but they'll certainly take government intervention when medicaid is covering the emphasema and cancer treatment costs that could've been averted by stopping smoking. If you don't act responisbly as a person, the government is left to do it for you so that the escalating costs of healthcare can be brought down by ending smoking cancer and emphasema costs. Just like roundabouts slowing down drivers who refuse to respect neighborhoods and other drivers. You act dumb and you will be intervened on for the the betterment of the rest of us.

Liberty275 6 years ago

On the day I can no longer work (either at a job or as hobby) I'll have a nice party for one, go to bed happy and never wake up. That's my responsibility.

Besides all that, I have enough insurance that there is no reason to be concerned with getting the crappy service medicaid patients receive.

As for those silly roundabouts, I think of them as chicanes and speed up before going through them. They aren't working out in my case the way the nanny state thought they would.

Your thinking that government is the answer for every problem is not unexpected. Professional victims are almost always reliant on the state and can't imagine other people not embracing their lowest-common-denominator lifestyle.

always4ever 6 years ago

The first think I'm going to do once the ban goes in effect is go eat at the cafe in Grantville. Their food is so awesome, but could never take the smoke. Set a table for me, I'll be on my way soon!

moveforward 6 years ago

so it took 6 people at the red lyon to empty the ash trays?

So the smokers stay home... and the great majority of folks go out more often. if your business can not adjust to a changing world it should go away.

mr_right_wing 6 years ago

So on the first day of the state-wide smoking ban, who is going to go into this redneck bar and tell all these 'good-ol boys' to put out their cigarettes??

Even if it is law enforcement; any minority would be a bad idea.....

Hey, they already admit they 'get stupid'.

Better find an aryan brother to send in if you don't want trouble.

(With all the old signs they have, do you suppose the "WHITES ONLY" sign ever came down??)

kernal 6 years ago

It's just business evolution - adapt or die.

Jeff Cuttell 6 years ago

Leave business owners alone to do as they see fit. These small town bars and restaurants can't afford to alienate 40% of the small market they work with.

Or here's a better idea. Let them sell pull tabs and have video poker payouts so they can be considered a casino also. Then people can still smoke there and the State revenues will increase from a gambling tax.

In a state with as small of a population as we have, we need to explore NEW ways for tax revenue instead of increasing the same old things all of the time.

kernal 6 years ago

Just where do you think that 40% of the market is going if none of the restaurants (except casinos) will allow smoking? Part of eating out is the social aspect, so I doubt the entire 40% is going to stay home and eat alone just so they can smoke. Also, why the comment about the cafe in Grant? Are they getting ready to close or are you just making an assumption due to the new law?

ccp 6 years ago

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the writer made Perry and Perry residents sound stupid?

kernal 6 years ago

If you're wondering about his use of the word "dumb", i think the context indicates he used it instead of "at a loss for words".

snowbird 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

beatrice 6 years ago

I heard someone make this statement recently, and I thought it absolutely correct. Why are we called "non-smokers"? Why define ourselves based on the actions of others. There are smokers and there are breathers, or rather, breathers and non-breathers. Do we call those who don't do heroin non-druggies or non-addicts? Nope. So why do it with smoking?

For the people who claim that businesses should be allowed to do as they please, I just ask, are you the spokespeople for British Petroleum? No, businesses shouldn't be allowed to do as they please. If I wanted to live my dream of having a bar that not only allowed smoking, but indoor fireworks as well, should this be allowed? Sure, indoor fireworks can be dangerous, especially with my preference for dried-wood panelling for decoration, and sure, some might die of second-hand fire, but hey, its my business, right?

Can I have a target range for gun enthusiasts inside my bar? I'll name it "Shots" for obvious reason. Free pitcher with every round of ammo purchased. Can I have children, and I mean the really young ones, serve drinks at "Shots"?

Sorry, but owning a business does not allow people to have free reign on all decisions about how that business operates. Yes, there was a time that child labor was allowed in manufacturing plants because their tiny fingers could better work the heavy machinery than adults, but does that mean it should continue? Likewise, there was once a time that non-breathers were allowed to smoke inside businesses, and now they can't. Deal with it.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"Why are we called "non-smokers"?"

Because the smokers were there first.

lawrencenerd 6 years ago

People that smoke do, in fact, breathe. They wouldn't be alive if they didn't. Non-smoker isn't a misnomer, non-breather is.

beatrice 6 years ago

The point is, why define a group of people (those who do not smoke) based on the actions of others? There are fewer smokers than people who choose not to smoke, so why are those who don't called non-smokers? And what if we called non-smokers non-addicts instead? Would you gladly identify yourself as a non-child molester since some people do molest children, or do you just call the people who do molest molesters? Do you call yourself a non-thief, a non-embezzler, a non-(fill in the blank) just because others are doing these things? No, you just identify those by what they do for what they do, not for what they don't.

Yes, it is a word game and a silly one, but I find it interesting. If you don't care for non-breathers, how about non-lung lovers, or just we call smokers what they truly are -- junkies and nicotine addicts. Going to now call others non-nicotine addicts?

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

...don't forget lawn darts and grenade tossing...

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

...don't forget lawn darts and grenade tossing...

Liberty275 6 years ago

My thoughts on that:

No ban on smoking Legalize ALL drugs Let you grass grow as high as the agreement you signed when buying the home specifies Allow abortions, period.

Also Legalize prostitution Delete speed limits on well-designed highways Let people use their intelligence to decide when they need a seat belt End all welfare for corporations and non-handicapped people.

The only cause I want the government to champion is the constitution.

tomatogrower 6 years ago

Poor LO, no more child labor to exploit, and we even educate and feed poor kids, when they could be laboring away for you. Oh for the good ole days.

beatrice 6 years ago

Liberty, are you really taking a pro child-labor stand because otherwise they might starve? Well, ... um, okay. Child labor or death, those are the only options. How very labor baron of you.

In this stand of your against laws prohibiting child labor, would this include children making a buck doing child porn? I'm sure you would hate to see a child "starve to death" when they could just as easily make a living in kiddie porn, right? I mean, the choice is clearly either work or death, as you state, so you must be pro child-porn, correct?

Is there any way in which a child could be exploited that wouldn't be justified in your mind, as long as there is payment at the end of the exploitation that keeps the child from "starving to death"?

I guess you are opposed to laws against theft, too, since a thief's option might be to steal or starve to death. So you must be pro theft, otherwise, you are pro death. The choice is clear.

The fact that some would gladly exploit children in all sorts of ways is why we have laws preventing it. We have laws because some people won't do the morally and ethically right thing just out of choice. Sometimes, people have to be forced by society to what is best for society. Not allowing people to pollute the very air others are breathing is one of those things.

Maddy Griffin 6 years ago

No, we think that keeping children from being exploited for the benefit of others is what is necessary.

beatrice 6 years ago

Oh, and I'll bet those jobs you had raking leaves actually kept you from starving to death too.

beatrice 6 years ago

Riiiiiiiiight, when people talk about child labor they aren't talking about the 12 hour shifts in the garment district or working heavy machinery, we are really just talking about stopping a neighborhood kid from making a few bucks by raking leaves, washing cars or baby sitting. Uh huh.

Or do you really think that any type of work a child can get is the same as any other? Raking leaves is the same as working in a coal mine, correct? Do you really not see a difference between allowing a child to be exploited and a kid being afforded the opportunity to make a few bucks?

Yes, you do see the difference, but you are just being deliberately dense here and you know it.

beatrice 6 years ago

So you agree that child pornography should be allowed. Wow.

beatrice 6 years ago

I never said that not allowing child labor prevents child pornography. I said you support allowing child pornography since you say it will prevent starvation. Are you saying you don't?

Liberty275 6 years ago

Liberty One, if you were a talented kid like Mary-Kate or Ashley Olsen, you could have been exploited by child labor into a multi-millionaire. Don't feel bad though, I share your lack of talent and did the same typical stuff for money that you did while growing up.

purplesage 6 years ago

How about throwing out the booze and having a big AA meeting with coffee and cigarettes. Not that good for you, but not nearly as harmless as drinking and "getting stupid" as some idiot put it. The booze is a far greater hazard.

puddleglum 6 years ago

booze is more fun...I am very pretty, as everyone knows, and drinking CAN make people more pretty than usual, if you know what I mean. It may not turn you into a puddleglumesque starlet like myself, but everyone around you will certainly become 'more hotter'... someone invented beer goggles awhile ago-but if you want to really level the playing field, you need to strap on the whiskey welding mask. I must warn you-you never know what you might wake up with.

also wanted to add that earlier I said smoking makes you ugly and this is true, unless you are smoking meth. these people REALLY start to look great in about the 5th week of addiction, losing all kinds of weight and such. might go down hill after that, especially if you don't have dental insurance.

verity 6 years ago

As usual, puddleglum, you are completely right. I'm so glad that intelligence goes along with beauty in your case, as that is not always true.

For some reason, the beer goggles and whiskey welding mask also affect the hearing and make the music sound much better.

But then the next morning always arrives---

puddleglum 6 years ago

hey verity, you're lookin good, whuddya say about hearing? I couldn't hear you.

verity 6 years ago

Never so good as you, but I'm improving with age. Possibly when I reach 1,054---

Majestic42 6 years ago

Apparently our troops don't defend your right to a good education.

novalissuperstar 6 years ago

This is a result of our freedom of association being taken away. If a private business must serve everyone whether they like it or not, I ask myself: where will this lead to as the government finds more and more things to regulate for our own well being? How large is the step from regulating private business to private residences? Not as large as one may think. It is just a matter of time until a bureaucrat is instructing you how to raise your family or live your life in a way that you'll be able to empathize with a smoker. Good luck with that. Your family means nothing. You mean nothing. You belong to the managerial state. Have a nice day.

tomatogrower 6 years ago

So for years and years you were only allowed to drink and have sex in certain places. Yet have they come into your home and told you that you can't drink and have sex in your home? Poor argument.

Armored_One 6 years ago

"Nonsmokers outnumber smokers, and I bet more people support a smoking ban than don't."

Is the ultimate goal to eliminate cigarettes from the United States completely? Public opinion poll, shall we say...

BethM 6 years ago

Texas has the right idea. When Lawrence enacted the smoking ban several years ago, I thought it was over the top. My thought at the time was of allowing two different permits. If the bar/restaurant has a food license, then they do do not qualify for an indoor smoking permit. If the establishment serves no food, then they are eligible for an indoor smoking permit. I'm sure there are greater issues at hand and someone could challenge this, but at the time it seemed to make sense. It allows for freedom of choice.

tomatogrower 6 years ago

Perhaps they should allow private clubs like they did when Kansas was "dry". They wouldn't be allowed to serve food. They would have to be a free standing building, for example, there couldn't be one in a strip mall or downtown, since most of those buildings abut one another. Exhaust wouldn't have to be regulated, since the members choose to be there. All employees must be smokers, and sign a document informing them of the risks they are taking. I honestly think these clubs wouldn't bring in a lot of money, since non smokers wouldn't join, and I'm guessing that many smokers wouldn't want to hang out with just their smoking buddies, but why not try it out. In rural areas, where we are given the impression that everyone smokes, then it might work.

independant1 6 years ago

Smoking isn't the only risky life style choice that costs the country money and can cause a person to die.

other top ten lifestyle choices

poor diet and physical activity alchohol direct and indirect drug use direct and indirect sexual behaviors direct and indirect

tomatogrower 6 years ago

  1. But someone who is overeating isn't going to harm others, like second hand smoke does.
  2. There are many, many restrictions on where you can drink, in public, driving a car, underage, etc.
  3. Well you can go to prison for drug use.
  4. You can't have sex in public without getting arrested.

So all these things, except obesity, have many legal restrictions, now so does smoking What is your point? It's a little harder to control the obesity thing, since people do have to eat and are obese for a variety of reasons, not just overeating. For example, the anti rejection drugs my cousin has to take to keep his donated kidney functioning makes him gain weight. Many former smokers I know gained weight when they quit, but they are actually a whole lot healthier than when they smoked. So I'm not sure how you would regulate obesity. You can't make eating illegal.

independant1 6 years ago

all those behaviors do cost money to all tax payers

independant1 6 years ago

peel a few layers off the onion the costs to society of lifestyle choices are enormous if not astronomical

puddleglum 6 years ago

you can do it on the top of a water tower, and nobody will notice

Liberty275 6 years ago

But then nobody will see how pretty you are. And you would probably burn your butt on the hot metal.

Just do what we did as teenagers; go to the beach and have your fun 40 feet offshore.

KawHawk 6 years ago

Two points:

1) Only 20% of people smoke, according to the CDC. So 80% of the population is tired of being smoked out of places they want to go to, based on the demands of a small minority. I'd say representative government and majority rule are alive and well here.

2) Considering the demographics of smoking, high smoking rates are found among the poorly educated and low rates among the well-educated. Education furthermore correlates with income. "even cartons of cigarettes a week" ? Let's do the math, assuming a carton costs $30. Seven cartons x $30 = $210/week X 52 weeks = $10,920/year. (Hey, guess there's a reason why you're poor!).

Low income people with minimal education also are less likely to have health insurance, and therefore rely on Medicaid or other public sources of health care; furthermore, there's a higher incidence of smoking in those homes, which has been documented to depress intellect. Lower income/low education people are furthermore less likely to vote or be elected to public office.

In short, you're poor, you're stupid, you're spending a huge portion of your income on a known carcinogen that has health consequences that you can't pay for, so as long as the government and the well-off educated people who determine the makeup and mission of that government are paying the bills, you're gonna do what they say.

Danimal 6 years ago

As delicious as cigarettes are, I support the smoking ban.

Maddy Griffin 6 years ago

Me,too. I'm a smoker but it doesn't bother me.I don't smoke in the house or the car, always outside.I'm not trying to pass this addiction on to my grandkids, so they know I better not catch any of them smoking. Call me hypocritical but I know it's bad and will try to save the kids from it as much as MY addiction will allow.

Armored_One 6 years ago

To quote KawHawk:

"1) Only 20% of people smoke, according to the CDC. So 80% of the population is tired of being smoked out of places they want to go to, based on the demands of a small minority. I'd say representative government and majority rule are alive and well here."

That small minority, which is an appropriate term, also pays, just in Kansas, an additional 115 million dollars in taxes. Where does that money go? Why is there a 400 million dollar gap in the budget, despite that additional revenue?

When cigarettes are taxed out of existance, because ALL sitting governments in this country know an outright ban will nearly bankrupt most of the states, where is that revenue going to come from next?

Sales taxes increasing 200-300 percent?

Gasoline taxes increasing to over one dollar?

Perhaps property taxes nearly doubling?

This is not a hypothetical situation. The cold, hard fact is that every state government will be an average of 150 million dollars further in the hole if cigarettes are no longer a taxed item, mainly because no one can afford to buy them. That 80 percent that you refer to will be the straw that breaks the proverbial backs of the United States, both at a state level and at a federal level.

Bravo. Who said political change cannot be achieved by those that simply want something bad enough?

verity 6 years ago

And just how much smoking is costing the state---as in added medical costs, both for those who smoke and those who are affected by second-hand smoke? That money brought in by the cigarette tax is not free and clear.

Liberty275 6 years ago

We'll still smell like whatever perfume our dancer is wearing. Until they ban the wearing of perfume in private businesses.

Armored_One 6 years ago

--Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths and health care costs. Increasing levels of imposed tobacco user fees have been demonstrated to decrease smoking rates, resulting in long-term savings in lives and costs. At the end of 2005, the average state excise tax on cigarettes was $.922 per pack and by early 2007 that figure had risen to about $1.03 per pack. Currently the excise tax on a pack of cigarettes in Kansas is $.79 per pack. Tobacco use costs Kansans the equivalent of $.86 per pack of cigarettes sold to pay for the tobacco-related illness of Medicaid recipients alone. However, Kansas currently collects only $.79 per pack of cigarettes in health impact fees to offset this expenditure (KDHE). An increased excise tax on all tobacco products would both reduce the number of youth who take up smoking and diminish the annual $167 billion health care costs associated with tobacco consumption.--

Quoted in the entirety from the below listed website:

The website for the annual budget report for Kansas in 2010:

The budget reports a little over 6 billion dollars as the state income.

The first website states 169 billion dollars.


gccs14r 6 years ago

The $167 billion stated on page 3 of the first report is a nationwide figure, not a statewide figure. The statement on page 7 that smoke is ingested in two ways does not include recent research that shows that cancer-causing chemicals are absorbed by simple skin contact with smoke-contaminated surfaces.

novalissuperstar 6 years ago

Second hand smoke is hysterically overblown as a health risk. The human mind is horrible at assessing risk in general. This is why most anti-smoking campaigns are based on emotional string pulling than detailed numbers.

Effective marketing: Second hand smoking gives you an 82% higher chance of having a stroke.

Not so effective marketing: Second hand smoking raises the likelihood of having a stroke from .33 % to .6%

"public enclosed places"

The problem isn't being able to smoke in City Hall. The problem is not being able to smoke while I'm having a beer and a pair of titties in my face at a strip club. That in no way is "public" by any means but a bureaucratic legalese stretched out sense of the word. If you don't like it then don't go, the business owners respect your decision not to work or take your business there. Yes, it is as simple as that. Have a nice day.

Armored_One 6 years ago

"The $167 billion stated on page 3 of the first report is a nationwide figure, not a statewide figure. The statement on page 7 that smoke is ingested in two ways does not include recent research that shows that cancer-causing chemicals are absorbed by simple skin contact with smoke-contaminated surfaces."

Copied in whole from gccs14r.

The statewide figure is listed much further in on page 8. I purposely listed the numbers I did to see if anyone would be bothered to actually read, or just provide yet another knee jerk reactionary response. Obviously at least one person read it, and I thank you for not making my research time online futile.

This is the link for the 2006 oversight of the Kansas Medicaid and Medicare programs. It provides a fairly clear look into the actual costs incurred by both programs, as the figures are tabulated from previous years that are documented in prior reports, although I was unable to access them beyond finding them mentioned in other documents. I won't bog the conversation down with 40 or 50 websites all stating much the same thing, that the reports are unable to be found at this time.

The above mentioned website, though, does state that in 2006, 2.2 billion dollars was esitimated to be spent on the two state sponsored programs, although Medicare is also federally funded. I am not 100 percent sure as to where the entirety of the funds for Medicaid in the state of Kansas are derived, so I will not cram my foot in my mouth, proverbially speaking, and state that I do know.

Further cost analysis breakdowns within the document show that disabled Kansas residents, on average, incur over 11 thousand dollars per person in medical costs paid by either Medicare or Medicaid.

There are references as to what those actual numbers are, but they are vague, at best, usually being stated in terms of percentages of the state population. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to perform that much mathematics.

If most of these costs are incurred by the elderly and the infirm, how does smoking, either primary or second-hand, force such a huge debt?

Again, I contest that it is such a financial burden on the state.

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