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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  11:01:20  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
I am curious, what do people think about the smoking bans that are spreading across the US nation and, indeed, the world. I find reactions from both liberals and conservatives to be rather split.

I'm personally interested in this issue for two reasons:

1.) I live in Philadelphia, which is seriously considering a ban against smoking in bars that will probably pass soon.

2.) I smoked for 5 years and staying clean is a constant struggle. I like to be able to chill out in a bar with friends, but watching other people smoke combined with drinking always threatens to break my willpower. Thus, the bans certainly would benefit me.

Aside from my own selfish reasons for favoring smoking bans, evidence for NYC and other big cities shows that while the bans tend to hurt bar business in the very short term, business goes back up with a different clientele. (Certainly I would go to bars more often if they didn't smell like smoke, and I've hung out with groups of people who decided not to go to a bar because one or two people in the group were bothered by smoke.)

I've heard arguments that it "violates smokers' rights", which IMHO is ridiculous, since people can still smoke to their heart's content at home or outside, and I'm much more persuaded by the argument that smoking violates the rights of people who work in bars and have to breath in all that second-hand smoke. As an artist with an actor for a brother, I'm well aware of how many people work as bartenders because it's the only thing they can do at the time that makes enough money to pay their rent while they're in school or struggling as an artist.

Anyway, any other thoughts?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  12:12:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox
Aside from my own selfish reasons for favoring smoking bans, evidence for NYC and other big cities shows that while the bans tend to hurt bar business in the very short term, business goes back up with a different clientele. (Certainly I would go to bars more often if they didn't smell like smoke, and I've hung out with groups of people who decided not to go to a bar because one or two people in the group were bothered by smoke.)

I've heard arguments that it "violates smokers' rights", which IMHO is ridiculous, since people can still smoke to their heart's content at home or outside, and I'm much more persuaded by the argument that smoking violates the rights of people who work in bars and have to breath in all that second-hand smoke. As an artist with an actor for a brother, I'm well aware of how many people work as bartenders because it's the only thing they can do at the time that makes enough money to pay their rent while they're in school or struggling as an artist.

Anyway, any other thoughts?

Hi, marfknox, and welcome to SFN! As a non-smoker, I have to say that smoke does bother me, and I'm particularly happy to go to a bar or some such where I don't walk out smelling like smoke. Indeed, I'm one of those people who frequent places where smoking is banned or restricted. A nice compromise for my smoking friends is to go to some outdoor cafes and such where the smoke tends not to be as bad. (But in places like Baltimore or Philadelphia, sitting outdoors is hard to do except in the summer...)

I'm also not convinced about "smokers' rights" either. I mean, you don't hear too many people (besides me) complain that alcohol can't be sold in certain places, or at certain times, or even at all (!), so why should smokers think that they are immune to such things?
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  12:18:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Hypothetical situation:

When ever I am at a movie theater, I can always smell popcorn from those around me. And when I smell it, I get the craving for it so bad that I have to go buy some and eat it during the movie. So other people eating popcorn in a movie theater contributes to my obesity.

Therefore, we should ban all popcorn from movie theaters.

quote:
Certainly I would go to bars more often if they didn't smell like smoke, and I've hung out with groups of people who decided not to go to a bar because one or two people in the group were bothered by smoke.


But there are those people who smoke who would avoid bars because of it.

quote:
I've heard arguments that it "violates smokers' rights", which IMHO is ridiculous, since people can still smoke to their heart's content at home or outside, and I'm much more persuaded by the argument that smoking violates the rights of people who work in bars and have to breath in all that second-hand smoke.


Back to my hypothetical situation. It doesn't violate "popcorn eater's" rights because they can have all the popcorn they want at home.

As for second hand smoke, if the owner of the bar does not wish to breath it in, he can ban smoking from his own bar.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  12:22:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
I'm also not convinced about "smokers' rights" either. I mean, you don't hear too many people (besides me) complain that alcohol can't be sold in certain places, or at certain times, or even at all (!), so why should smokers think that they are immune to such things?
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There are places where it is inappropriate to smoke, just like there are places where it is inappropriate to drink. For example, a gas station. However, a bar is not an inappropriate place to smoke, so this argument doesn't apply.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  12:52:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

quote:
I'm also not convinced about "smokers' rights" either. I mean, you don't hear too many people (besides me) complain that alcohol can't be sold in certain places, or at certain times, or even at all (!), so why should smokers think that they are immune to such things?
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There are places where it is inappropriate to smoke, just like there are places where it is inappropriate to drink. For example, a gas station. However, a bar is not an inappropriate place to smoke, so this argument doesn't apply.
Why is a bar not an inappropriate place to smoke? Moreover, why is it inappropriate for me to not be able to buy a drink on Sunday? Or at 2:04 am? Or, if I live in a dry city/county/township, at all??
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  13:07:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Why is a bar not an inappropriate place to smoke?


It is a casual place to sit and relax, to forget the day, and away from children.

quote:
Moreover, why is it inappropriate for me to not be able to buy a drink on Sunday? Or at 2:04 am? Or, if I live in a dry city/county/township, at all??


Hence, why I am against these regulations.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  13:52:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
The hypothetical about popcorn only addresses one aspect of my argument in favor of smoking bans. It also totally neglects the fact that nicotene is chemically far more addictive than the fat and salt in popcorn. The FDA acknowledges that drugs are a potential social menace, and as such, it regulates them.

>> As for second hand smoke, if the owner of the bar does not wish to breath it in, he can ban smoking from his own bar.

That fails to address my comment about people who have little choice over whether to work in a bar or not. For students, artists and other in certain areas of the country (usually big cities - which are exactly the type of places doing these smoking bans) the service industry is the only way to make enough money to pay for rent, and most money is in bartending. My brother and his girlfriend are bartenders in NYC, and there is pretty much noting else they can do to pay their rent as young actors. As such, they are extremely grateful for the smoking bans there.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  13:52:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
As an on-again/off-again smoker, I see both sides of this issue. Many people do find cigarette smoke to be an irritant or just unpleasant. Cigarette smoking is pretty much universally banned now as it is. I can even see why most restaurants are moving toward total non-smoking.

But bars? Come on. That is literally the last place a smoker can light up in a public facility. It is only a violation of smokers' rights in that there would be no place else left to go. Non-smokers, it seems, won't be content until smoking in public is itself made illegal. There are even some working to ban smoking from outdoor places, like beaches and little league games.

Non-smokers have churches, offices, coffee shops, stadiums, airports, malls, shoe stores, waiting rooms, restaurants, bus stops, and virtually every other public facility. Leave bars alone. They are places intended to be where people indulge in vice.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/24/2005 14:01:03
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  14:04:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
"It is only a violation of smokers' rights in that there would be no place else to go. Non-smokers, it seems, won't be content until smoking itself is made illegal. They are even some working to ban smoking from outdoor facilities, like beaches and little league games."

I definately DO NOT support making smoking illegal. I enjoy a good cigar or pipe from time to time, and even occasionally have a ciggarette or two (with no regrets) when I get together with old friends from college. I also want to see the decriminalization of drugs. So don't assume that slippery slope argument. Most laws are best as compromises.

As for thing about leaving bars alone - why? I would like to go to my neighborhood bar with my husband every weekend, but as it is we only go about once a month or less because the smoke bothers his eyes, makes both of our hair and clothes smell like shit, and tempts my cravings. I'm not saying this is a tragedy or anything. Just pointed out that with or without the ban on smoking in bars - SOME DEMOGRAPHIC is going to be inconvenienced.

Seeing as smoking as a habbit is more addictive and abused than alcohol, and how rising cigarrette prices and bans on where people can smoke has encouraged tens of thousands of Americans to quit, I'd say the higher moral ground is on my side.

Cigarettes are a recreational drug. If it is reduced to individuals, couples or groups of friends getting together for smoking sessions in their basements or backyards, and is removed from the public sphere entirely, exactly how is that a bad thing?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  14:07:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Oh yeah - and in all the cities than ban the smoking in bars, special businesses can get an exemption, usually if a significant portion of the products they sell are smoking-related. So there could be scotch and cigar bars, or shisha loungues. Heck, the ban on smoking in bars could lead to a wonderful diversification of businesses for the enjoyment of recreational drugs, which I am fully in favor of. Also, small bars in communities where all the people do smoke, they just keep smoking anyway, and often keep a jar of cash that people can throw money into to pay for fines if they get caught. So there are alternatives.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 07/24/2005 14:08:44
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  14:20:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox
I definately DO NOT support making smoking illegal. I enjoy a good cigar or pipe from time to time, and even occasionally have a ciggarette or two (with no regrets) when I get together with old friends from college. I also want to see the decriminalization of drugs. So don't assume that slippery slope argument. Most laws are best as compromises.
That's why I amended my statement to public smoking.

quote:
As for thing about leaving bars alone - why?
Because as I pointed out, it is the smoker's last refuge.
quote:
I would like to go to my neighborhood bar with my husband every weekend, but as it is we only go about once a month or less because the smoke bothers his eyes, makes both of our hair and clothes smell like shit, and tempts my cravings. I'm not saying this is a tragedy or anything. Just pointed out that with or without the ban on smoking in bars - SOME DEMOGRAPHIC is going to be inconvenienced.
Smokers are by far the most inconvienced demographic, so you can drop that argument right now. When looking at this issue, you cannot speak only about bars. You have to consider all places where the public gathers. Taken in that context, yes, it really is overly oppressive to ban smoking in bars, since non-smokers can go anywhere else in the city to avoid smoking.

And as Ricky pointed out, individual bar owners are already free to make their own establishments smoke free. Perhaps you could find a bar that caters to your preference.

quote:
Seeing as smoking as a habbit is more addictive and abused than alcohol, and how rising cigarrette prices and bans on where people can smoke has encouraged tens of thousands of Americans to quit, I'd say the higher moral ground is on my side.
Only if your position was to ban smoking or alcohol entirely. As it is, your only argument is one of selfishness.

quote:
Cigarettes are a recreational drug. If it is reduced to individuals, couples or groups of friends getting together for smoking sessions in their basements or backyards, and is removed from the public sphere entirely, exactly how is that a bad thing?

Because smoking is legal, and confining people to their homes for engaging in a lawful activity due to personal preference is an abuse of civil rights.

quote:
Also, small bars in communities where all the people do smoke, they just keep smoking anyway, and often keep a jar of cash that people can throw money into to pay for fines if they get caught. So there are alternatives.
So you are listing breaking the law as an "alternative" to the law you wish to see passed?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/24/2005 14:26:01
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  14:22:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert
But bars? Come on. That is literally the last place a smoker can light up in a public facility. It is only a violation of smokers' rights in that there would be no place else left to go. Non-smokers, it seems, won't be content until smoking in public is itself made illegal. There are even some working to ban smoking from outdoor places, like beaches and little league games.
Right, which is why I don't put up too much of a fight. However, if you go to one of my old haunts called the Blue Room, you'll find that the smoke from that place sticks to your clothes in such a way that it takes two washes to get rid of it.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  17:24:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
"Because smoking is legal, and confining people to their homes for engaging in a lawful activity due to personal preference is an abuse of civil rights."

LOL! I'll remember that next time my husband and I are screwing on the sidewalk.

"So you are listing breaking the law as an "alternative" to the law you wish to see passed?"

Yes, because we aren't talking about criminalizing smoking in bars. The bans aren't as such that bars can get shut down for allowing smoking in the same way that they can lose their liquor license or be criminally prosecuted for serving to minors. Laws aren't always black and white (if they ever are). Just ask a lawyer. The places where this sort of thing happens are typically working class neighborhood bars where indeed 90% of the patrons smoke - which is NOT typical of most bars.

"Because as I pointed out, it is the smoker's last refuge."

No, um, that would be their private property.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 07/24/2005 17:26:26
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  17:31:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
"Smokers are by far the most inconvienced demographic, so you can drop that argument right now."

Oh, yeah, those poor drug addicts (most of whom are repeatedly trying to quit) who are made unable to engage in a self-destructive habbit that annoys and is unhealthy for those around them every hour or so, but instead are forced to smoke less, out on the sidewalk or on their own property.

Boo hoo.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  17:39:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
"Only if your position was to ban smoking or alcohol entirely."

This position completely ignores the difference between regulation and criminalization, which I thought I had made quite clear by now. Tight regulations on where people can smoke promote public health, while simply inconveniencing smokers. Banning smoking entirely turns smokers into criminals, which would lead to more harm, as we see from the drug war and the ridiculous number of people who are locked up for non-violent drug charges.

"As it is, your only argument is one of selfishness."

If you read my argument, you see that I base it on much more than my own personal preferences. (Such as the argument from the point of view of bartenders, waiters or waitresses).

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  17:41:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

"Smokers are by far the most inconvienced demographic, so you can drop that argument right now."

Oh, yeah, those poor drug addicts (most of whom are repeatedly trying to quit) who are made unable to engage in a self-destructive habbit that annoys and is unhealthy for those around them every hour or so, but instead are forced to smoke less, out on the sidewalk or on their own property.

Boo hoo.

Why did you even ask for other people's opinion if you were just going to be an ass about it? Obviously your mind is made up. If you aren't interesting in looking at it from any other perspective than your own, I really don't see why smokers should give a shit about what you think either.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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