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Do you think the city will ever lift the smoking ban?

Asked at Southwind 12 Theaters, 3433 Iowa on June 25, 2005

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Photo of Curtis Chrisco

“I don’t think they will. At least I hope they don’t. A lot of other places have done the same thing, and everyone I’ve talked to in other cities enjoy the smoking bans - even smokers.”

Photo of Nichole Counts

“Probably not, but I think they should. I just feel like if the nonsmoker doesn’t want to be around smoke, then they shouldn’t go there.”

Photo of Terrance Fowler

“I would say no, because they have already started the ball rolling, and I think they will stick with it.”

Photo of Crystal Crain

“Probably not. I agree that it’s unconstitutional to some degree. People should be able to kill their lungs if they want. It’s their decision.”

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GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 11 months ago

"I just feel like if the nonsmoker doesn't want to be around smoke, then they shouldn't go there."

That is the most obnoxiously selfish rationale I've ever heard.

"Hey if you don't like the fact that I'm suffocating you with my noxious fumes, you should go stand outside with all of the other non-smokers!"

enochville 12 years, 11 months ago

I think if someone is breaking the law on your property and you know about it and don't do anything to make it stop, then you bear some responsibility for it. Futhermore, I am grateful for the smoking ban, because smoking does not just affect the smoker.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

;-) Good one, Jonas! Keep it handy we will probably need it again.

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

i say, fight it mr. steffes.

the thing i don't understand is why is a bar owner or landlord able to be punished for something someone else does?

say you own a car and let someone else drive it. you are the passenger. the person driving speeds and gets stopped by the police. the police write YOU the ticket!!!

the analogy rings true.

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

redbird, i don't think the third party clause applies in kansas - i'm not an attorney, just something i read somewhere.

my undertanding is: if a landlord has some tenants smoking in the hall, the landlord can get cited.

i do not undertand how someone who is not breaking the law can be nailed for someone else's actions. drinking and getting drunk is one thing, smoking in a bar is another.

if the smokers didn't like to go into smoke filled bars, there were bars that were smoke free before the ban. they also did horrible business.

i think mr. steffes could win.

redbird 12 years, 11 months ago

lunacydetector....I'm not sure about the landlords,but the bars and barowners do fall under what is called a third party clause,where they are responsible for what thier patrons do in the bar and if they leave and get into an accident.Strange but true,that is why they can take your keys away if they sense you are too drunk to drive,at least responsible employees will,not fun but they(the drinker) will eventually understand.I bartended for 11 years and the taking of keys from patrons avoided us many potential lawsuits,in Oklahoma I should say,yes you could sue a bar if you left and got into an accident,as a result of getting drunk at the particular bar!!!Cigarettes though,hmmm......if you don't sell them in the bar itself.....I see no reason then for the bar/barowner to be held responsible!! As for the reponse for the question,I hope they don't ,for me as a nonsmoker,I rather enjoy walking into any and all the resturants and bars and be able to breathe relatively clean,fresh air.They were very.very few establishment in Lawrence that had adequate air cleaning systems...i.e. smoke eaters,odor eaters and so on.....

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

No it will not be lifted. Kansas City Metro one day will follow suit as will Topeka, Kansas. Other small Kansas towns are doing it. Lawrence, Kansas was a long way form being the first to impose this SMART Ordinance.

I would say if smokers did not want to breathe cleaner air on the inside they should not go inside. My logic is founded when inside of bar/grill types who is in the far greater majority...non smokers.

Who knows maybe someone will get more nutty than Mr. Steffes and sue him for promoting lung cancer. Mr Steffes then will be asked by the court to pay expenses for his clients who become diagnosed with such.

I thought it was odd that neither side would talk compromise and now I'm pleased that they did not choose to do so. That opportunity is now lost as so many do appreciate the non smoking atmosphere. This family is out more often. I've spoke with many who opposed the ban initially but now love dancing in a smoke free atmosphere. I seriously doubt voters would support over turning this ordinance.

Bruce Bertsch 12 years, 11 months ago

Forget other cities in Kansas...New York City and the surrounding counties have virtually the same ban. The largest supporters, although it didn't start that way, are the bar owners. Mr. Steffes and his ilk are at best a bunch of whiners who refuse to adapt to a changing business environment. If bar owners in NYC can adapt and prosper, why can't bar and restaurant owners in Lawrence do the same? Oh yeah, there is one other side benefit; smoking has decreased by 11% in New York. Granted, $8 per pack cigarettes likely had something to do with that.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 11 months ago

No I don't. As a matter of fact I think they will make it worse. Once you let goverment infringe on your rights it just gets easier for them to do it again and again. People get the goverment they deserve. It will be interesting (not in a good way) to see this country 10 or 12 years from now I think.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

No it will not be lifted and no it will not be ruled unconstitutional.

Mr. Steffes considered it "a game of chicken and the city swerved." Apparently the city government and the voting citizens of Lawrence do not consider it a game.

Also, in reference to Mr. Steffes remark about not just fading away. Many businesses in Lawrence have just faded away for more than one reason. However, one major reason is the inability to compete in an overrepresented market. The fact that Lawrence has so many bars makes the competition pretty stiff. People who want to socialize and drink are still going to go out and do just that, whether or not it is a smoking environment.

Some restaurants and bars have created very nice outdoor areas where patrons can smoke. Establishments that do not have that option could provide dumpster areas. Just outside the doors and next to the dumpsters are the smoking areas provided by the University of Kansas for their employees who wish to smoke:)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

There's no telling what the hippies in this town will do. I hope that the smoking ban is a permanent part of the atmosphere here. The amazing part is that many of the people that could vote it down are students who do not live here for three months out of the year. Then, when they graduate, they move away.

I find it interesting that Mr. Steffes is also the owner of "Last Call" - one of the most problematic bars in the city. If you all recall, it's clientele were the ones that made the paper a few weeks back for rampaging into local convenience stores on their way out of town at 3AM and stealing everything in sight. So much so, that most of the convenience stores on the east side of town close temporarily shortly before "Last Call" lets out.

beatrice 12 years, 11 months ago

To anyone wishing to overturn the smoking ban -- Would you care if you found out that your waitress or bartender was pregnant? Would it bother you in the slightest to know that your second-hand smoke would be having a major effect on the health of an unborn fetus? Where does the religious right and the right-to-lifers stand on this issue? Certainly, it isn't just the hippies in Lawrance that care about the unborn child, is it?

chevygal 12 years, 11 months ago

huhhmm...beatrice..its Lawrence dear...that's ok we forgive u

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

beatrice: I can't speak for the entire religious right, but I can tell you what this member of the religious right thinks. First let me say that I think it rather disingenuous to imply many lefties (i.e. "hippies") actually "care about the unborn child". That whole line of argument would be specious coming from anyone who would have difficulty voting for a pro-life candidate.

Your theoretical pregnant waitress should find a different job. The owner of the business should have the right to make decisions as to whether smoking will be allowed in his/her place of business. No one forces her to work there. No one forces anyone to eat there. If I like their burgers but don't like the smoke, I can order out. Or eat somewhere else. Or write to the owner, expressing my desire for a smoke-free environment. I could even buy the place and ban smoking myself, as the owner.

We have almost no respect left for private property anymore. Lawrence decides to tell owners what they can and can't allow in their own businesses. A few days ago, the black-robed despots on the Supreme Court ruled that it's just okey-dokey fine with them if a city or state wants to force you out of your home (paying the "fair market value" of course) and then give your property to another private company or individual. Perhaps the five "justices" who approved of New London, Conn.'s theft of private homes haven't actually read the Constitution, or are unsure of the meaning of "public use". (We had a president who wasn't sure how to define "is", so why not grammatically-challenged Supremes?) I'm sure few American's heard about this blatant abuse of power because CNN and Fox were too busy spending 15 minutes of every news hour hoping that Natalee will be found alive and another 15 wondering if Tom will pop the question to Katie.

We'd rather be entertained than well informed. And so we are. We'd rather let our "leaders" think for us than go to the effort ourselves. And so they do. We're too ignorant to recognize the erosion of our freedoms and too complacent to keep them from being taken away. And so they are. That is why the ban will not be revoked. That is why the government at all levels will, in the coming years, be deciding all sorts of things are bad for us and so can't be allowed in our businesses, our homes, or even in the privacy of our own thoughts. And that is why we will get exactly what we deserve. Welcome to your Brave New World.

mefirst 12 years, 11 months ago

It kills me that the same people (generally) who are whining over "losing their freedoms because they can't smoke" are some of the same folks who support GWB all the way, yet aren't analytical enough to understand how their true freedoms, protected by the Constitution, are being stripped right from under you, all while the flags waves in your face.

Frankly, I enjoy being able to go into any establishment and not walk out smelling like someone dumped an ashtray in my lap. I think smokers lost the right to smoke in common spaces when SCIENCE began to prove that second hand smoke KILLS PEOPLE.

If you want to smoke, do so outdoors.


don_shorock 12 years, 11 months ago

Should they repeal the ban? Absolutely. We live in a pluralistic society in a system based on private property rights. Why should the owner of a property be required to discriminate against a minority group of which he might even be a member.

Will they repeal the ban? Probably not.

beatrice 12 years, 11 months ago

Response to Fangorn: Oh yes, the "get another job" retort. And if another job for our theoretical pregnant waitress isn't available right away? I know, the church will support her, right?

I have questions about your views. Your logic suggests that you believe anything should be allowed by business owners, and that everything should come down to one's freedom to choose when it comes to business. Applying this "logic," if bar owners wished to allow not only smoking, but fireworks indoors as well, that would be okay with you, correct? Oh sure, a few patrons and employees might, on occasion, die a horrible and fiery death, but it was their choice, right?

Likewise, you MUST be in favor of legalizing all drugs. Don't you take away my freedom to snort coke and shoot junk. Is this where you stand on the drug issue?

And before you go bashing any more judges, remember, George Bush wouldn't have been named President in the first place were it not for the Supreme Court.

Lawrence is a better, safer, and healthier place with smoke-free bars. Period. If you don't want to breath fresh air, you can always choose to stay home.

I think it is brave to stand up to business owners and the tobacco lobby and say "NO, you can't place your employees in an unsafe environment." Let our new world be a smoke-free one.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

Sooo, I guess I will change my mind from yesterday's board regarding a favorite snack. Replace that smoky gouda with just plain gouda, not smoked :)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 11 months ago

Ceallach, I agree! Yesterday's board was much more entertaining. I actually milked my neighbor's goats this a.m. and so right now I'm making a batch of fresh Chevre that will be ready in a day or so. YYYMMMMMMMM!

OMB, What shall we talk about tomorrow? BTW, I was in OK at high noon and you were a no show...Chicken!

ChrstnLion 12 years, 11 months ago

beatrice... Thank you SO much for bringing in the "right to life" argument into this. I agree whole-heartedly.

To this point concerning the right to life... I am strongly against abortions just as I am strongly against the death penalty and strongly for the smoking ban. All under the same premise... Those affected by each issue are being murdered without a single thought by the perpetrator. In abortion, the mother gets the abortion for any number of reasons, but the human life within her is given no voice. In the death penalty, the inmate is being murdered as he/she has murdered before (who said revenge isn't alive and well in American politics?) And, with the smoking ban, the smoker has no concern for the lives they are shortening around them, or, as you brought up, the life that is being distorted within the womb.

Fangorn's response is typical of a lot of the religious-right (whose views I used to cling onto, pardon the pun, "religiously.") Being a Christian, I have been around the best of those who follow Christ's teachings, and the worst. Among the worst are those who are very much for doing as they please at others expense because, well, they can go somewhere else if they don't like it. Yet, still hold to the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality.

In the scenario of your waitress, Fangorn simply tells the waitress to go find another job. Yet, myself, trying to get into the job market this summer, I realize just how limited that search can be (both temporary summer jobs and permanant.) Yet, my guess is that if that same waitress were homeless on the street, Fangorn would direct her toward the Salvation Army and not think a thing of the fact that it was her advice that put her there.

So, this brings up two points to comment on... #1. The smoking ban... It needs to stick around. It is a matter of public health, thus making it of general interest and constitutional. The commercial with the "peeing section" and the "non-peeing section" of the pool is a great analogy... I'm sure they could get the best state-of-the art filters and drains for that pool that would guarantee that the pee would never reach the non-peeing section... Even still, would you want to dive right in? And, #2. The homeless issue. Which, indeed, is another topic for another time... But, one that should be addressed. Because, in my opinion, a lot of Christians have the wrong idea on how to serve others (which, if I'm not mistaken, is taught pretty heartily in the Bible.)

Anyway, great job, beatrice!

neopolss 12 years, 11 months ago

Maybe we can place a ban on fattening ice cream in the name of "public health" Obesity is a huge epidemic. Perhaps the Lawrence government needs to start forcing stores to carry healthy foods. The Merc might even recieve a special city grant to promote the healthy lifestyle.

No one will mind right? The smoking ban is for public health. Nevermind that the facts on second hand smoke are murky at best, or that there was a free choice on your eating establishment.

It's really a good thing it wasn't the other way around, and that all restaurants were forced to be smoking establishments. Then perhaps the light might fall on whats really at issue. Majority trumping property rights, and it will come back to bite everyone. Power should have stayed in the hands of the consumer, but instead it was turned over to the city commission.

bugmenot 12 years, 10 months ago

Your analogy to ice cream is absurd. Lawrence isn't punishing people who sell cigarettes. People are still allowed to smoke; they just can't inflict their fumes on others. The whole point of the ordinance is to protect people from having to breathe in fumes. True, a minority of people smoke, but in a closed-in room, it doesn't matter if only 1 is smoking. EVERYONE else is affected. That's the point of the oridinance; the invasive vice of the few shouldn't be able to torment the many.

A better ice cream analogy would be that the city of Lawrence disallowed people from purchasing and consuming fattening foods and then throwing them up on other people.

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