So it’s apparently dangerous to be in favor of smoking ban rollbacks. I understand the reasons for a smoking ban. Smoking is detrimental to your health, plus the health of everyone breathing in your secondhand. The cost then extends to the taxpayer through the medical bills all those smokers will rack up on Medicare and Medicaid when they get lung cancer. “Normal” people don’t want to breathe that smoke in and get lung cancer themselves, and without a smoking ban or some sort of legalized allowance program, they have to face it anywhere they go. Okay, so far, so good. But then you have the other effects: businesses want paying customers. Often, the smokers are the paying customers. They go to the bar, smoke, buy a few drinks, whatever. The longer they stay, the more they buy. Now, the non-smokers are to take up the slack, right? If the smokers can’t be in the bar, then the non-smokers have to take up that lost revenue so the bar stays in business. Well, guess what? The economy happened. Those non-smokers are not replacing that lost smoker revenue. And what do you have? You have bankrupt bars. Even if it’s not that drastic, you have the small loss in revenue for all bar owners. The smoker goes outside to smoke, and thus leaves the bar. Their overall number of drinks bought will decrease just by being outside of the bar. You have the customers that drive out to neighboring cities, counties or states in order to drink (and Chicago happens to be real close to 2 other states…. so…). And who knows, maybe smoking customers spend more than non-smoking customers? Yep, so a few economic ills. I imagine in cities, it’s less of a problem since you’re gonna stick around the city regardless, so you can always go to the bar and then run home. But if you’re in some country area? Hells way! You’re likelier to stick at home instead of go to the bar so you CAN’t smoke, a pointless (dangerous) drive.
I should also mention the side effects of the smoking ban on neighbors of bars. Some places legislate that smokers have to be within X feet of the bar entrance in order to smoke. So then smokers go outside of that radius and hang out on stoops and at bus stops and at random places near bars where it’s comfy to congregate. And the people that use the bus stop or live above that window are all going to breathe in that smoky air, or suffer from the cigarette butts, ash stains and general loud noise of smokers. Cops and city officials policing all that? Please. It may take a whole lot of complaints and a bar gets shut down for not “controlling” their customers, but who does that punish? The bars, who can’t really do jack about customers who want to smoke outside the bar. So you have all these other social ills added to the mix, all stemming from the ban.
Finally, I’m a little libertarian. I think smokers need a place to congregate, and that should be indoors. Not in their homes, as they’re being forced to do, but in public places where businesses can benefit (aside from just the corner liquor store). Business owners should be able to decide what makes economic sense for them, instead of government being too much of a nanny state. If smoking is so bad, then why not make it illegal? Or if that’s not feasible, why don’t you try and make money off the people who do smoke AND also give them a disincentive to keep smoking? Licensing. Yeah. You tax cigarettes, and then you license bars and restaurants to allow smoking, and then you tax a little bit more on the cigarettes the bars sell for the smokers that are there. Plus fines on the unlicensed bars that will try and serve alcohol and smokes. It makes smoking in public expensive, so smokers may not want to do it so much. It serves a community that needs servicing – smokers are people too. It lets businesses do their own calculations regarding profitability. Live in a neighborhood with more non-smokers? Then screw the license. Have more potential smokers than non-smoking walk-ins? License please. And we’re all adults. If you don’t want cancer and stale smoke smell, then go to bars that are non-smoking. Don’t go to a smoking bar and then complain. If you give all your business to non-smoking bars, then there is a real economic reason for business owners to stay non-smoking.
it’s just like the politics of marijuana. It seems like a bad idea to allow it (oh, a nation of druggies! Oh my word!), so it’s kept illegal – even though such high percentages of Americans continue to use it. If you could tax it, think of the revenues! And then you can close all the loopholes and illegal sales of medical marijuana. The anti-smoking bans are pretty ineffective at stopping people from smoking. It doesn’t really discourage it either, since it’s still easy enough to catch a smoke in front of the bar, and so what if a few people complain. What is needed is CHOICE, and then a surefire way to make a bundle off of it. Just like Prohibition… all the money spent keeping booze out? And then note how many small businesses are alive today, and make tons of tax revenues for the government, based on a formerly illegal product. And yes, booze kills, just as much as smoking does. Smoking may ruin many lives a few decades down, but booze kills tons of people right away, and all the time too. What’s the diff? Maybe if you let smokers booze up to their heart’s desire, then statistics say they’ll get in tons of drunk driving accidents too. And lo and behold, we all just saved on the medical care bills for those poor saps later on down the road… kill two birds with one stone!