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March 30, 2003 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Last Call to fire up a smoke in NYC has now chimed. As of today, it is now illegal to smoke in any public indoor space, including bars. The New York City Indoor Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 gives further detail as to what defines a public indoor space. That, not including your residential lease that may prohibit as well. As Andrew Jacobs writes, Walk a Mile for a Camel? Not Far Enough Anymore.
posted by bluedaniel (162 comments total)

 
Too bad second hand smoke is not dangerous to most people (Asthmatics excluded).

Also, too bad second hand smoking improves the health of young children.
posted by shepd at 4:07 PM on March 30, 2003


I hate smoking, but I do it anyway. Funny how that works. At any rate, AAAAAAAARGH! Took an out-of-town friend on a harbor tour of New York the other day and the guide made a point of mentioning that the front deck of the ferry was going to be the only public place you could smoke after this day as black as, no doubt, my lungs are after smoking all those tax-frees I ordered from the cyber-Mohawks at $9.99 a carton.
posted by hairyeyeball at 4:08 PM on March 30, 2003


Perhaps nico-patch dispensers in the bars will help...
posted by datawrangler at 4:13 PM on March 30, 2003


I don't care whether it's dangerous or not, it stinks!
posted by Mwongozi at 4:16 PM on March 30, 2003


Mwongozi>I don't care whether it's dangerous or not, it stinks!

So do (real) hippies, but you don't see special laws banning them. Perhaps we should do this too?

I also think heavy metal music is annoying. We should ban that from bars as well.
posted by shepd at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2003


Fuck Bloomberg. He's a self-righteous dick, who quit smoking himself and now wants to enforce it on everyone.

Words cannot express how much I loathe him.
posted by Spacelegoman at 4:26 PM on March 30, 2003


I actually think that this is going too far, though it'd be nice to have a bar near me where I wouldn't have to burn my clothes and scrub myself with a brillo pad after stopping in for a beer.

Too bad shepd can't quote any meaninful statistics. Hey, a 16% increased chance of lung cancer is nothing to worry about, right shepd? To put it into perspective that even shepd might be able to understand:
  1. Take a revolver
  2. Insert one bullet
  3. Spin the cylinder
  4. Place the barrel against your temple
  5. Carefully pull the trigger
Voila, you have a statistically insignificant 16% chance of splattering your brains against the wall.
posted by substrate at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2003


Fact: A RR of less than 2.0 is usually written off as an insignificant result, most likely to be due to error or bias. An RR of 3.0 or higher is considered desirable. (See Epidemiology 101 for more details.)

Fact: The real RR can be any number within the CI. The CI includes 1.0, meaning that the real number could be no increase at all. It also includes numbers below 1.0, which would indicate a protective effect. This means that the number 1.16 is not statistically significant.

Fact: The RR for exposure from both a smoking spouse and a smoky workplace was 1.14, with a CI of .88 - 1.47.

HTH. The 16% risk is a made up number created by junk scientists. Here is some info on why.

The only way to have an RR of 1.14 show a 14% rate as significant would be to test every single SHS in the country.

But what about the children who BENEFIT form smoking!

Fact: The RR for exposure during childhood was 0.78, with a CI of .64 - .96. This indicates a protective effect! Children exposed to ETS in the home during childhood are 22% less likely to get lung cancer, according to this study. Note that this was the only result in the study that did not include 1.0 in the CI.

Do they not deserve to be protected from lung cancer by being exposed to SHS? That is statistically vaid!
posted by shepd at 4:32 PM on March 30, 2003


By the way, IIRC (I wish I had the P&T BS episode handy) the number of NYCers per year that this study shows die from SHS is AT MOST 16. 16 is the number of people who are murdered in some cities in a week. The risk of dying from SHS is less than the risk of dying from tetanus, IIRC. It's less than the risk of dying from food poisoning. It's less than the risk of jaywalking. It's less than the risk of ELECTROCUTION from your computer.

To ban SHS based on these results is to ban just about anything more dangerous than a fisher price toy (I bet these kill more Americans than SHS yet).
posted by shepd at 4:36 PM on March 30, 2003


i am a smoker and agree with all laws concerning smoking in public places... until now...

too bad... i was going to visit NYC.
posted by poopy at 4:43 PM on March 30, 2003


Whats with all the pro-smoking hype on this site? We've seem this before when stories like this.. its strange. Wonder why so many mefiers are smokers? Or are the smokers just louder?

Noone smokes here in CA. Well, people do, but not that many.

It should be banned in all public places, nationwide.
posted by benh57 at 4:45 PM on March 30, 2003


Or are the smokers just louder?

no, we just like to piss you off, you pretentious holier-than-thou piece of shit ;)
posted by poopy at 4:50 PM on March 30, 2003


Good. I'm hoping austin will soon ban it too. Even when I was a smoker I dissagreed with smoking in bars and clubs.
posted by jeblis at 4:51 PM on March 30, 2003


From Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker:

Her: "Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray."
Him: "Kissing someone that's self-righteous and intolerant is like licking a mongoose's ass."
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:52 PM on March 30, 2003


Shepd: I am sure a similar set of statistics showing a benefit to spreading noxious substances based on the improvements they make to the human immune system could be found for, among other things, public defecation, spitting on one another (so as to more efficiently share our diseases while we are generally healthy and able to fight them off), and the random spraying of bug spray.

You might well be right, but I suggest that a person will do enough passive smoking to gain a benefit from it just by passing smokers outdoors. There's no compelling need to force people to smell that less-than-pleasant smell in public places. Smoking is a voluntary act, which you ought to be able to do, but it imposes a cost on others, and making you stand outside or go into a special room to smoke brings that cost back to yourself.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:56 PM on March 30, 2003


And while we're sharing witty quotes: "A smoking section in a restaurant is like a pissing section in a pool."
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:57 PM on March 30, 2003


i was interested to read the link above ("improves the health") so i started looking around...

first, i found this report from the bbc that doesn't mention the risks to children, but otherwise seems to think the report was worrying news for smokers.

then i found these links at the lancet. there's an editorial (look for "Resisting smoke and spin") and a paper ("Tobacco industry efforts subverting International Agency for Research on Cancer's second-hand smoke study"). you seem to need to register, but on the off chance that the direct links work: editorial, paper.

anyway, a quote from the editorial explains a lot:
All Ong and Glantz say may be true. But a curious downside of the industry's strategy was that it made it harder for fair criticism to be made of the IARC study by truly independent scientists. Yet the IARC study was underpowered to detect reliably relative risks smaller than 1·3, and the tobacco industry was quick to exploit this methodological weakness. Moreover, good epidemiological practice is a sensible goal. The fact that it has partly originated from tobacco manufacturers may taint and therefore slow its successful attainment.
in other words, the study was flawed and the tobacco companies exploited this. to what degree? this is from the paper (my emphasis):
To understand the tobacco industry's strategy on the IARC study we analysed industry documents released in US litigation and interviewed IARC investigators. The Philip Morris tobacco company feared that the study (and a possible IARC monograph on second-hand smoke) would lead to increased restrictions in Europe so they spearheaded an inter-industry, three-prong strategy to subvert IARC's work. The scientific strategy attempted to undercut IARC's research and to develop industry-directed research to counter the anticipated findings. The communications strategy planned to shape opinion by manipulating the media and the public. The government strategy sought to prevent increased smoking restrictions. The IARC study cost $2 million over ten years; Philip Morris planned to spend $2 million in one year alone and up to $4 million on research. The documents and interviews suggest that the tobacco industry continues to conduct a sophisticated campaign against conclusions that second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and other diseases, subverting normal scientific processes.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:00 PM on March 30, 2003


ps (missed on preview) - the stuff posted by shepd is what the comments i just posted are addressing.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:02 PM on March 30, 2003


Shocking. It's the end of New York as we know it - and certainly as far as my wife and I are concerned. For us, most of Manhattan's pleasures involve smoking. What fun can it be now? Every drink, every meal, every expresso will be ruined for us.

I trust the New York spirit will prevail and that we'll have smokeasies popping up everywhere, with decent bars and food.

Also, you smokers who hate smoking - fess up, will ya? It's a war here and we're losing!

Smoking may be very bad for you - but then so is practically everything that's lazily delicious. Smoking is one of the great pleasures of life. I don't like or smoke cigarettes but I remember how much I enjoyed them as a very young man before I fell in love with cigarillos and cigars. It's all about the beautiful combination of tranquility and taste.

A cigar[ette] is company; it's a workmate; it's calming and luscious; it's the most wonderful interval-maker between the fast succession of stressful (or delightful) facts of life.

New York used to be about pleasure in all its guises; from evil to healthy. Now it's been curtailed, castrated, california-ized. It's also sad to me that, once the stupid Cuban embargo is lifted, smokers won't ever be able to round off a good meal or read the newspaper, or write a poem in a friendly bar with a good puro between their fingers.

Bah!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2003


Since the state has passed an anti-smoking law that is more restrictive than the city's, I'm baffled as to why anybody would blame Bloomberg. Bloomberg was silly to expend his political capital on pushing through the city law so early in his term, but these laws would have come into place no matter who was elected mayor.

I have hated smoking all my life, and have never been particularly happy about how I was limited in my range of activities because of smoke. Before smoking was banned in most stadiums, I never knew when I went to a baseball game whether I'd have to leave midway because of smoke (having smoke blown at you by 20 mph winds is far worse than anything that can happen indoors). I've generally avoided bars because of the smoke. The last time I went to a bar a year or two ago , I'd say I spent 2/3 of the time outside trying to breathe. And no, I'm not asthmatic; I've just always suffered from upper respiratory problems.

And yet I feel that this crusade has swept by me and gone wackily overboard. I don't believe the bar owners will suffer; people will adjust. But I do think that liberties are being abused for no real purpose. What possible reason can there be for not allowing a private smoking room in a private club where no employees have to enter while the enterprise is open? What is wrong with having separate, well-ventilated rooms for smokers which employees don't have to stay in? I'm not here to debate the dangers of second-hand smoke, but there's a big difference between being in a room filled with smoke 100% of the time and having to go in and out a smoky room few times to get orders and serve food. We've gone from one extreme to another in a very short amount of time, and I find that somewhat chilling.
posted by gspira at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2003


I'm not a smoker. I just hate junk science with a passion. It leaves me with revulsion that a scientist would be willing to put their respect and good name on the line in defence of something they themselves know is absolutely fallacious and purposely designed to distort and bend the truth to fit an agenda describing a proven (by themselves) to be non-existant problem. A scientific process which is abused in exactly the same manner in which the smoke manufacturers these scientists detest so much abused it. The WHO and EPA are positively no better than Phillip Morris in this regard. In fact, Phillip Morris is now better than them, as they admit their product is dangerous to the primary user, which is true.

But just because I don't like it doesn't mean I can tell others not to do it. These are not communist businesses. These are businesses that the owners pay for in money, blood, sweat, and tears. It should be their right to do with them as they wish as long as it does not put others at risk. Next thing you know we'll be telling them what language they can put on their signs.

But perhaps that's just me looking out for the poor children and the benefits these rabid anti-smoking scientists have proven SHS provides them.

aeschenkarnos, even heavily biased studies (in favour of anti-SHS) cannot prove any discernable effect from SHS, therefore I am confident there is none. Enough studies have shown the correlation is statistically nil.

>Smoking is a voluntary act, which you ought to be able to do, but it imposes a cost on others, and making you stand outside or go into a special room to smoke brings that cost back to yourself.

But what if the owner of the store wants to smoke? Telling him he has to walk outside to smoke is tantamount to telling him he can only play his islamic music when he closes his store.

The cost on others has been proven to be nothing but inconvenience. Regulating inconvenience will lead to the worst society I can possibly think of. Imagine being able to sue someone who takes too long to make a right turn, for example.

The IARC study may have been purposely underfunded, but nobody can say that about the EPA study, which cost amazing amounts of money to produce such false results. And even after all the hard effort their spin doctors put on the facts they STILL couldn't come up with a particularly scary number! Imagine if the worst I could prove that the risk of ingesting lead was 1 person in 1,000,000 dies from it from making up my own numbers! I'd be a laughing stock.

So are all these guys.

The only time smoking should be banned is if someone who has a proven health risk to it (ex: Asthma) works at the workplace. In that case there is a health risk (or disability, depending on how one looks at it). A green circle around a lit cigarette on the door should be all the information consumers need to make their shopping decisions.
posted by shepd at 5:09 PM on March 30, 2003


Oh, BTW, according to rabid anti-SHS activists, the effects of banning smoking could cause millions in lost revenue for NYC (6.7%) and I'm assuming possibly billions for the state.

However, considering all the false numbers coming from anti-SHS activists, I question if the numbers are even that low, not that 6.7% is insignificant.
posted by shepd at 5:12 PM on March 30, 2003


Isn't it also slightly pathetic that NY chefs are now offering tobacco-flavoured food? What next? Why not just invent a dour vegetarian quiche that combines a gin martini, wine, coffee, tobacco and cognac, serve it with tap water and do away, in one fell swoop, with the whole sinful rigmarole of apéritifs, winelists, cigars and post-prandial snifters?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:21 PM on March 30, 2003


It's very pathetic Miguel. But history has shown that when you decide to destroy a culture the people most actively involved with that culture will do anything, even the most pathetic things, try to to reclaim even the slightest bit of it.

I don't diss them for it.
posted by shepd at 5:24 PM on March 30, 2003


You know, I'm all for sympathizing with personal needs and rights and desires and stuff, but seriously, some of you are really being pathetic about this.

I mean, come on, poopy. You're not going to visit New York because you can't smoke indoors? A statement like that doesn't raise anger or resentment, merely pity for such a lack of interest in so much New York has to offer that you're going to abstain from. Jesus Christ, smoking has been banned in New York Museums for years, so because of your petty inconvenience you're never going to visit the Guggenheim?

And Miguel, I respect all of your opinions, but as a fellow New Yorker if I hear one more person spout some crap about the city "losing it's character" because you can't smoke in a bar I'm going to break down and cry. New York has suffered, but survived, every cultural change from the loss of sports teams to Giuliani's Tet Offensive on Times Square. I'm sorry I can't go down to Washington Square Park and hear Bob Dylan sing like my mom did when she went to NYU. Times change. New York isn't going anywhere. Put on a patch and enjoy the 99,999,999 other things you can do in the city.

shepd, I dislike second-hand smoke. I'm not a "rabid activist." There just happen to be several thousands of people in this gigantic city who dislike second-hand smoke, be it the smell, the residue, or the air condition. That doesn't make us all activists. What are your statistics trying to prove: that we're all just lying?

As for the "Stalinist regime" beliefs and equations to Free Speech, cut the bullshit. Complain all you want, but don't act like the founding fathers gave you the right to puff a Camel in a crowded room. It's a personal choice? It's a right? It's oppressive to restrict? You should be allowed to do it in public? Fine. Come up to NYC and we can hang out in a bar. You can blow smoke in my face and I can masturbate into yours. After all, the studies about blindness are inconclusive.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:25 PM on March 30, 2003


...some of you are really being pathetic about this.

You're not going to visit New York because you can't smoke indoors?


exactamondo, thank you very much (and jesus christ has nothing to do with it:)).
posted by poopy at 5:30 PM on March 30, 2003


Since when is death the only thing that we're concerned about? So SHS only exposes someone to an X% increased risk of certain kinds of death, what are the increased risks of asthma attacks (which can kill in and of themselves) allergy attacks and so on, ad infinitum. Is something only significant as a risk if it is a lethal risk?

Beyond that, there's an old saying which says that one's right to swing their fist ends where someone else's nose begins. Speaking of something as optional as smoking, why shouldn't the right to create smoke end at the nose of those who don't wish to smell it?

And Miguel, there are many who would consider the ability to walk down the street drinking a cold beer on a hot day to be one of life's "greatest pleasures." There are many who consider the smell of leaves burning to be the hallmark of autumn. But we confine or outright ban those activities to limit their effect on the public at large. Why on earth should smoking -- given its risk to others (whether that's a risk of death, a risk of asthma/allergy attack or a risk of stinking) be exempted from regulations which limit its enjoyment to those spaces where they cannot have an effect on those who do not wish for it to?

What possible reason can there be for not allowing a private smoking room in a private club where no employees have to enter while the enterprise is open? What is wrong with having separate, well-ventilated rooms for smokers which employees don't have to stay in?

This is a good question. My wager would be the desire to avoid the need for OSHA or some city or state agency to regulate whether or not there was adequate ventilation or that the employees of the private club were truly not entering that private room. The amount of administration involved in a rule filled with exceptions would far outrank that required by a blanket ban.
posted by Dreama at 5:31 PM on March 30, 2003


Complain all you want, but don't act like the founding fathers gave you the right to puff a Camel in a crowded room.

Kent, Marlboro, Pall Mall, Salem, Parliament, Winston, Chesterfield....hmm.

You can blow smoke in my face and I can masturbate into yours.

equating a civil infraction with public indecency is always good for analogy.
posted by clavdivs at 5:36 PM on March 30, 2003


XQ....

I'm not saying you're a rabid activist. The rabid activists are the both the ones trying to remove civil liberties to enhance their own personal comfort and the ones that do such a bad job of studies that judges accuse them of cherry picking results.

Now, if I saw a picture of you in downtown NYC waving an anti-SHS placard, I'd change my mind on that. :)

You could certainly find that SHS makes you uncomfortable, but so do restaurants with shitty furniture, I would suppose. That doesn't mean we regulate the comfort, we just regulate the safety of it. And SHS, apart from those with a certain handful of diseases, is proven safe.

>You can blow smoke in my face and I can masturbate into yours.

That's a health risk though! That's the difference. Where I live ladies are allowed to walk about topless because there's no health risk.

BTW: I don't doubt there are those who do masturbate in public. But the minute they're whipping it out they're causing an unsanitary situation.

>Jesus Christ, smoking has been banned in New York Museums for years, so because of your petty inconvenience you're never going to visit the Guggenheim?

Well, first off I don't smoke so it doesn't effect me. Second off that was their choice, likely made because they don't want their goods ruined.

I just want people to make their own choices on issues that don't relate to safety or tresspass of any type. Don't you think that if the majority wanted to shop at non smoking places the store owners would change their policies in a heartbeat? Or are all storeowners masochistic?

My local coffee shops (Tim Horton's) went smoke free before any bans because they knew that's what their customers wanted. However, some didn't, because they knew that's what their customers wanted. It was a choice. Now there is no choice.

I'd love to see some stats from my city. Lung cancer rates should be down by 16% after adjusting for medical advances now, right? I doubt that miracle has happened.
posted by shepd at 5:40 PM on March 30, 2003


Miguel - This is the first time I've ever seen you on the intolerant side of the fence - disturbing, unsettling even. As a Californian, it's delightful to see NY catching up - eventually, the rest of the US will come around, progress tends to move in one direction. Shepd, as someone rabidly opposed to your point of view in this thread, it warms my heart to see how troubled you are by this. Keep posting the statistics, keep the teeth gnashing, just please, don't light up when you're out at a bar, or it's a night in the pokey for you!
posted by jonson at 5:41 PM on March 30, 2003


the ability to walk down the street drinking a cold beer on a hot day to be one of life's "greatest pleasures."

Dreama! You mean that's forbidden too? Seriously? What harm could that do? Or are you pulling my leg?

XQUZYPHYR: I grant you the ever-remaking-itself NYC point. But why can't a substantial minority have their own bars and restaurants - or separate rooms in same - in which to indulge?

Meanwhile, with New York and San Francisco gone, I am ordering my vast auditorium of cool Portuguese opinion-makers to invest all their influence and hype in Chicago.

Chicago - now there's a city where steaks, martinis and cigars roll off the tongue in the same hee hee breath.

May I also commend the anti-smokers here for their willingness to engage in argument and sort of apologize for my (I hope) understandable hotheadedness.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2003


try to keep up with the conversation jonson: shepd doesn't smoke.
posted by poopy at 5:48 PM on March 30, 2003


Delaware may be a good barometer for the future of smoking on the east coast. I've read recently that, due to reduced revenues, their smoking ban will be reduced to allow smoking in casinos and some bars. Hopefully NY will follow suit in a few years.

And I'm hoping for massive civil disobedience by smokers and bars. This sort of healthy initiative is so very very un-New York. I mean, its so frightfully ridiculous that here in suburban, ultra-moral Utah, where they freak out about Cosmo's in the supermarket or the window display of a Victoria's Secret store, I can walk to the bottom of my hill and sit in the bar and participate in a vice which is banned in NYC.
posted by pandaharma at 5:49 PM on March 30, 2003


I hope Seattle's next.
posted by cinderful at 6:00 PM on March 30, 2003


Post-ban, revenues in San Fran went up 1.6%. IIRC
posted by cinderful at 6:02 PM on March 30, 2003


I'd like to chime in on the "this is bullshit" chain. The reason this is a bad law is because it is a law. Businesses are perfectly capable of declaring themselves to be smoke-friendly or non-smoking. Legislation should be a last resort, and frankly, it wasn't needed yet. As has been pointed out, there are approximately 43 billion public places you can go without being next to smokers and I'm sure that NY-fuckin'-C had a few smokeless bars already.

Pah!
posted by kavasa at 6:03 PM on March 30, 2003


>Since when is death the only thing that we're concerned about? So SHS only exposes someone to an X% increased risk of certain kinds of death, what are the increased risks of asthma attacks (which can kill in and of themselves) allergy attacks and so on, ad infinitum. Is something only significant as a risk if it is a lethal risk?

Apart from asthma, I know of not a single study that shows that SHS is anything more than an inconvenience.

I don't know what to do for asthmatics in this. Normally, for other disabled people, a store is willing (rarely forced) to make exceptions for them, by installing ramps and elevators. However, these measures rarely, if ever infringe on the civil rights of the store owner to do what they will.

However, banning smoking for persons with asthmatic disabilities clearly infringes on their civil rights and liberties.

What is unfortunate is that unlike the physically disabled, where their handicap is easily seen and assistance and space is often immediately provided, asthma is a silent disease. It not like when you walk into a bar people will immediately know to quit smoking.

However, marking the smoking/non-smoking status on the front of a store should serve as a good starting point for measures to protect those who do have asthma.

The unfortunate thing is that if smoking were to be banned in public due to the problems it causes asthmatics, we would need to ban gas powered vehicles also, which kill many, many, many more asthmatics per year than smoking.
posted by shepd at 6:03 PM on March 30, 2003


Bad Idea Bloomberg. I'll say it again. Extremely bad idea.
posted by hama7 at 6:15 PM on March 30, 2003


Apart from asthma, I know of not a single study that shows that SHS is anything more than an inconvenience.

did you read the links i posted? you claim to hate bad science, yet you pushed a report that was criticised (presumably because it had a data point that agrees with your own pov).

but hey, it looks like this is your big one-man show here, so who am i to stop your fun?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:23 PM on March 30, 2003


Also, too bad second hand smoking improves the health of young children.

Cigarette Smoke & Kids' Health
(Very well documented.)

Then again, an addict with access to Google could probably find some health benefit even to heroin. There's a statistic to back up anything you might be desperate to assert.

Smoking is one of the great pleasures of life.

Smoking is a person's right, sure. But with all of the amazing beauty of nature and life and art and literature and poetry and architecture and dance and theater and spirituality and sport and love and sex and people. . . I just can't rate sucking flavored smoke into my lungs anywhere near the top pleasures of life and I find it somewhat odd that anyone else would.
posted by Shane at 6:25 PM on March 30, 2003


My right not to inhale more smoke than I have to trumps anyone's right to inhale smoke whenever they want to.
posted by oaf at 6:26 PM on March 30, 2003


This is already awful...last night there were over 100 people (out of 400+ patrons) smoking on the street outside a club i was at (i was outside smoking too) at 2 am...i'm sure the neighbors upstairs were thrilled...we lived through giuliani's targeting of nightlife, and now this....

How long before quality-of-life (noise, fights, sidewalk blockage,etc) violations start being served on the clubs and bars of the city?
posted by amberglow at 6:33 PM on March 30, 2003


shepd, I dislike second-hand smoke.

I dislike perfume and cologne. I know there are at least 'several thousand' people out there who dislike perfume as well. Do you have a point here?

(Incidentally, there are several studies which show that perfume can cause health issues in others. I tend to give them about the same amount of credit as the rigged SHS studies — that is, none — but if you are of the school of thought that thinks a sketchy study is justification enough for another stupid law, why don't we ban perfume in New York?)

And incidentally, I dislike exhaust fumes as well, which certainly can be demonstrated to cause more harm to the environment/other people than cigarettes. Too bad for you, car-owners!

This upsets me. I lived in New York for six months a few years ago, when I neither smoked nor drank (now I do both), and always had a great time in the bars. I never even noticed the smoke. Since then it's been my dream to be able to move back permanently. So much for that. I think I'll buy a pack of Nat Shermans tomorrow, in solidarity.

Miguel, I'm with you on Chicago. I'll have my opinion-makers call your opinion-makers.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:37 PM on March 30, 2003


Waaaaaaaaaait, you can't smoke inside a restaurant but you can still smoke on the sidewalk right outside the door of a restaurant? You don't have to be twenty-five feet away or anything? Argh!
posted by Dreama at 6:40 PM on March 30, 2003


"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
Sinners are much more fun..."
posted by poopy at 6:40 PM on March 30, 2003


could someone explain me how is that politically logical - a right-wing (read: as little government control as possible) mayor exercising a control of what people in general can or cannot do? especially given it's an issue that doesn't involve religion (and so there's no obligation to pay due to the fundies). or am i confused about the american republicans' stated objectives?
posted by bokononito at 6:40 PM on March 30, 2003


Then again, an addict with access to Google could probably find some health benefit even to heroin.

Would somebody please actually read before they post? Shepd has stated repeatedly that he does not smoke.

My right not to inhale more smoke than I have to trumps anyone's right to inhale smoke whenever they want to.

Indeed. And my right to do what I want on my private property on which people voluntarily assemble trumps both of those.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:44 PM on March 30, 2003


Okay, andrew, I'm reading your links now and I can't see where they say the EPA and WHO are wrong.

Not a single study there shows an RR past 2.0. Therefore none of them mean squat. In fact, the IARC study verified the results of the WHO study, thereby helping to prove the link is non-existant, as the results are a near perfect mirror of the WHO results.

For those too lazy to make a fake account, try letmein / blahblah. Or read this:

IARC (1998) RR 1.16 (spousal), 1.17 (workplace). 95% confidence factor.

Totally, completely useless results that no medical journal worth their weight in dead trees would ever publish.

oaf, the right not to see gay people in public once trumped the right of gay people to be gay. What that OK too?

IMHO, both the WHO and IARC did a perfectly balanced scientific study. I blame them for nothing, apart from attempting to blow the facts out of proportion. Their scientists should not be writing the trash I see there.

It's only my one-man-party because I was a rabid anti-SHS supporter at one point. Watching that P&T show made me angry enough (at them) to do some research. What I found out disturbed me more than the old biased info that was basically purchased by Big Tobacco. It invites ire when a network of scientists, whose job it is to advise law makers on how to proceed purposely distort the facts and information beyond all reality. It causes me to revolt against it and I just want everyone to know the lies being spewed by these organizations.
posted by shepd at 6:47 PM on March 30, 2003


Before someone else states it, I have smoked 1 or 2 cigars (that's IT!). I suppose that makes me a liar, but I don't consider myself a smoker and wouldn't smoke another in my life if it meant people in NYC could have their civil liberties back.
posted by shepd at 6:48 PM on March 30, 2003


Shepd: Not sure which city you're in but if it's Toronto, I'll gladly pipe up and say the near lack of second hand smoke in our clubs and restaurants is fantastic. You can actually go to a concert and not be embarassed by the stench that's on your clothes when you leave. You can actually see the fucking band for a change. You can enjoy a meal, or, as you mentioned it, a donut. Previously, you could taste the nastiness in the dough. It's gross and I applaud the gov't for doing the best to get rid of it.

I only wish there were an easy way to report bars/restaurants that break this law. While I'm waiting for my dessert, I could call a toll-free number and get the cops in writing a ticket for the fuckers that ignore this law.
posted by dobbs at 6:53 PM on March 30, 2003


Would somebody please actually read before they post? Shepd has stated repeatedly that he does not smoke.

I was referring to the general trend of smokers to quote favorable data and gross generalizations (see this and this: Evidently intelligent people smoke. Period.)

But, my bad for wording my comment the way I did, Ishmael.
Dan's first post and he incites a slugfest : )
posted by Shane at 7:00 PM on March 30, 2003


I love watching addicts pretend to have sound judgement on the subject of their addiction.

Glorious, truly glorious. Shine on you crazy diamonds.
posted by NortonDC at 7:01 PM on March 30, 2003


shepd is near Kitchener Waterloo, ON.

>You can enjoy a meal, or, as you mentioned it, a donut. Previously, you could taste the nastiness in the dough.

I couldn't because I exercised my right to patronize only smoke free donut shops.

Why didn't you exercise that right with those concerts and clubs rather than support removing the rights of others? How would you feel if they took away your right to choose?

>I only wish there were an easy way to report bars/restaurants that break this law. While I'm waiting for my dessert, I could call a toll-free number and get the cops in writing a ticket for the fuckers that ignore this law.

I guess quotes like this comfort you and don't scare you then:

AFTER YOU CALL THE TOBACCO ENFORCMENT LINE 883-2279
E-MAIL US TO REPORT THE OFFENSE.

WE WILL LIST THE NAMES OF EACH RESTAURANT, BAR, BOWLING ALLEY, POOL HALL WHO OPENLY OPPOSE THE NO-SMOKING BYLAW

I have an idea. Every single person that says the word hate should also be reported to the government and listed for life for public ridicule. That's an excellent way to operate! Never let a sinner repent for their sins! Stone them to death! I WANT BLOOD! KILL THEM ALL AND LET GOD SORT THEM OUT! GODDAM SMOKERS AND THEIR BLASTED RIGHTS! I HATE SMOKERS! Whoops, just ignore that last part.

Ahem, now back to your regularly scheduled program...
posted by shepd at 7:07 PM on March 30, 2003


No shit, my dad called tonight to say he has been diagnosed with lung cancer. But his doctor doesn't think they can operate to remove it due to his emphysema. He's 63, has smoked since he was 15.

I quit smoking in January after 20 years. I quit because my mother-in-law's boyfriend has emphysema. Do you know anyone with emphysema? Ever see them try to breathe?

I personally wish cigarettes had never been invented. I LOVE to smoke. I miss it every single day. But man... What it does to you and to those who love you...

Anyway, I'm glad smoking is becoming a socially unacceptable thing to do.

Just my two cents.
posted by airgirl at 7:08 PM on March 30, 2003


Well, it looks like some New York restaurant and cigar store [lots of other good links, pro- and anti- here] owners are already fighting back.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:13 PM on March 30, 2003


Oops, no anti-smoking links in my second link after all. I read the link titles ("Anti-tobacco alerts", "Disgusting") and thought they were against. Turns out, on closer examination, they're all from a rabid pro-smoking lobby. Sorry about that.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:18 PM on March 30, 2003


Personally I'm glad that NYC is following California. I'm hoping Washington State soon follows.

I have no facts that prove or disprove the health effects of SHS. My own anecdotal evidence suggests it's not a very good thing for you (kind of like how I think breathing car exhaust all day is probably bad for you too...). After a night in Seattle's smoke filled bars the next day is spent usually hoarse, sore throated and hacking. Call me crazy but those just don't seem to be "healthy" side effects.

Also my Grandmother died recently. A non-smoker she lived some 50 years with her husband who smoked. She died of emphysema.
posted by aaronscool at 7:29 PM on March 30, 2003


You can actually go to a concert and not be embarrassed by the stench that's on your clothes when you leave. You can actually see the fucking band for a change. You can...

not to mention you don't have a sore throat the next day or those gross smoker's boogers 'cause you were breathing in crap all night plus your dry cleaning bill goes way down. people should just stop freaking out and take the opportunity to quit. you'll have just as much fun afterwards as you did before... quite possibly more fun since smoking can make you a breathless weenie with little staying power. i used to smoke, 3 packs a day unfiltered camels and quit cold turkey with no probs whatsoever. so yah, no sympathy from this corner.
posted by t r a c y at 7:30 PM on March 30, 2003


Funny thing about Toronto, there's this loophole in the no-smoking law... if you're a private club (not open to the public) you're exempt. So a few places started charging a 25 cent "membership fee" so patrons could smoke. Strangely, it was predicted lots of places would do this but it hasn't really caught on for some reason.

Personally, I favor the law. I see this as a public health issue, like having asbestos not allowed in restaurants.
posted by bobo123 at 7:33 PM on March 30, 2003


I am a smoker (although trying to quit) here in NYC. One thing that has been mentioned now and again is the outside noise levels that are going to increase. Unlike many cities NYC bars are open till 4am. It will be interesting to see if the noise complaints rise, from people standing outside.

The city has alot of bars located right in the middle of high housing density areas. There will be quite a few more people to peeve. In fact, we have a new restaurant opening this summer right next door. I hope it doesn't get too bad.

I just wish Bloomy would do something about idiling laws and Asthma Alley. I am getting a little tired of his cause du jour.

In the meantime, this too will pass, some loopholes will be found, summons will be issued but the law will remain.
posted by lampshade at 7:38 PM on March 30, 2003


in toronto if you're desperate to breath second hand smoke and you're cool enough to know where they are, you can frequent the various booze-cans. they come in all flavour of live music and don't ban smoking.
posted by t r a c y at 7:39 PM on March 30, 2003


So does anyone know the status of nico water?

I'm sitting here, drinking from a snifter full of Laphroig and I'm thinking a cocktail of Nico water and a single malt scotch would be tasty enough to cover both addictions at once: a sharp, slightly sweet, spicy flavor which contains nicotine. The Laphroig is powerful enough to make me almost forget about any desire for my cloves.

Maybe this sort of thing is the answer to make everyone happy.
posted by pandaharma at 7:41 PM on March 30, 2003


Here I was admiring the anti-smokers' cool, collected tone and reasonableness; every objection politely bracketed with civilized imhos and qualifiers, when, all of a sudden, it hit me: they've won; they've completely won.

And we're doomed. Doomed! Doomed, I tell you! Save us at least, oh Lord, from becoming as hysterical and intolerant as they were, when the battle's outcome was still uncertain. On second thought, later. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:43 PM on March 30, 2003




That last "not" in the quote in my last comment should be "I". Whoops.
posted by oaf at 7:44 PM on March 30, 2003


but my chewin' tobacco is still legal right?
posted by goddam at 7:45 PM on March 30, 2003


The Laphroig is powerful enough to make me almost forget about any desire for my cloves.

Maybe this sort of thing is the answer to make everyone happy.


Pandaharma: it might work both ways. Though, unforgivably, Laphroaig already tastes like ashtray-infused seaweedy iodine to me... Here's a lovely snippet from the Irish poet Derek Mahon's "Smoke":

Sold
on sobriety, I turn to the idea of nicotine,
my opium, hashish, morphine and cocaine,
'Turkish on my left, Virginia on the right',
my cigarette a lighthouse in the night.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2003


Miguel, when you think about the smugness of anti-smokers, think about the smugness of American teetotalers in 1920, who thought their victory was final. Don't give up hope yet. I'm very heartened by the attempted retreat in Delaware.

No prohibition against an addictive substance lasts forever. This too shall pass and eventually there will be a compromise. Snarky non-smokers over here and the 'whoopee we're all gonna die' puffing hedonists over here. And never shall the twain meet and there was great rejoicing, from both parties, because the war was over and they both won.
posted by pandaharma at 8:17 PM on March 30, 2003


Laphroig is the closest thing, in liquid form, to an unfiltered cigarette which I can think of. Have you heard of the smokeless manhattan?

Perhaps a Macallan's 18 (the 25 is too bland) is a better substitute for the missing cigars.
posted by pandaharma at 8:25 PM on March 30, 2003


Wow, Shane's right. Slugfest. How 'bout them apples.

Smokafilter.

Cool.

Or is that... Kool.

Meanwhile, how about some nicotine-free cigarettes?
posted by bluedaniel at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2003


There is no prohibition for smokers. Drinking and smoking are quite different things too. Sure on the rare occasion a drinker may spill their beverage on you but otherwise you'll likely leave a bar without being saturated by others' drinking.

I personally don't have anything against smokers or smoking. I just prefer that smokers smoke someplace where I don't have to be.
posted by aaronscool at 8:32 PM on March 30, 2003


But, Aaronscool, thats the problem. The anti-nicotine forces don't want smokers to be able to smoke anywhere.

For example, most smokers in NYC would have been fairly happy with the ventilated, isolated room. They could have crowded into the bars with such a room, and the non-smokers would be left to stare at each other in the rest of the bar.

But this option was taken away. Even though this would have accomplished the goal of completely protecting workers and non-smokers, such an option was removed.

This is just one example of why I think this movement is more about prohibition than protection.
posted by pandaharma at 8:44 PM on March 30, 2003


If people blow smoke in my face, I'll put my fingers in their drink. Pollution is pollution.
posted by Vidiot at 8:52 PM on March 30, 2003


For all the bold ALLCAPS noisemaking that shepd is doing around here, I'm somberly glad to finally see the kind of things that airgirl and aaronscool said about cancer enter the discussion. (I lost my grandmother to lung cancer- she was the smoker. My girlfriend lost her grandmother to lung cancer and her grandfather was the smoker)

You want to protect your civil liberties, eh? I hear you loud and clear- nobody wants someone telling them what they can and can't do all the time, but at what cost to you and those around you? Were smoking an entirely personal matter I don't think I'd be so against it, but I don't think it is. Lighting up involves not only the free choice of the one holding the cigarette but everyone around them (both physically and in terms of familial and social networks) as well.

Hearing people sympathetic to the habit say things like "go elsewhere if you don't like it" makes me wonder why they're so pushed out of shape when laws are passed that essentially put those same words to them. It's not that smoking is being outlawed, it's just certain locations for the activity. So smoke at home, smoke in your private clubs, smoke outside- smoke where you can make the choice for yourself and not for me as well.

On preview, regarding pandaharma's comment- I too would rather it be that the push for non-smoking spaces was protective in nature rather than pro prohibition. Maybe requiring better ventilation would have been a decent option, but I don't think asking smokers to step outside for a puff is too much to ask.
posted by lpqboy at 9:04 PM on March 30, 2003


I smoke, but I hate it. I bite my nails too. But if I went to a bar full of nail-biters, I wouldn't come home and take a shower and deodorize my jacket.

Sigh, tough call. When I was last in San Fran, I enjoyed the smoke-free environment, and found myself craving a cig when I hit the street.

Perhaps I should just, and will, quit. Until then, I see nothing wrong with forcing smokers (including myself) to smoke outside, even in a -10 blizzard. We all pay for our sins, sooner or later.
posted by tr33hggr at 9:15 PM on March 30, 2003


By the way, on preview - I lost my father 10+ years ago, largely to emphysema. He smoked most of his life. My mother is in a hospital bed now, and as of tonight has been given 48 hours to live - again, mostly due to respiratory problems, a life-long smoker (that's why I'm up at this hour, when I have to work in the AM).

Gads, perhaps I shall quit now.
posted by tr33hggr at 9:19 PM on March 30, 2003


I'll chime in with the others here one more time to say (as I have before) that I helped my mother take care of my grandmother as my grandmother died slowly (one year, at home but in a hospital bed) from complications of emphysema (even though she quit smoking when she was about 50).

That panicky feeling you get when you swim too far below the surface and it takes you too long to get back up to breathe, or when you get the wind knocked out of you? She lived with that feeling for months. The Prednisone made her skin as thin as the husk of an onion. Her skin sometimes tore off in sheets no matter how gentle I was when I picked her up.

Oxygen tank, walker (she was very soon too weak to use it and had to be carried to the bathroom), pills and inhalers and diuretics...

She drowned slowly in her own lungs.

I don't wish that on anyone.
posted by Shane at 9:37 PM on March 30, 2003


Why didn't you exercise that right with those concerts and clubs rather than support removing the rights of others? How would you feel if they took away your right to choose?

When can I see bands play clubs that are smoke-free? In Seattle, such shows are nearly non-existent. It's worse than being underage, because even the underage shows are often smoky.

I spent 15 years going to shows, playing in bands, etc. I breathed in way more SHS than I should have ever had to. I did it because I loved music. I hated the smoke, but I loved music.

I still love music. But I have been diagnosed with asthma, smoke-triggered asthma at that. If I go to a show now, I know that I run the risk of finishing the night in the ER. So I've only been to two shows in the last two years, armed with inhalers and trying my best to avoid the smoke. I have missed out on so many concerts by artists I love, and it kills me. If I was in a wheelchair, they would have to provide a ramp to get me into the show. But if I have asthma, I am shut out.

Miguel said "Smoking is one of the great pleasures of life." Well, so is live music. And I would really like to see some again. Smokers can smoke at home. But I can't see my favorite bands live there.

Fewer than 50% of the population are smokers. And even at rock shows, here in Seattle at least, fewer than 50% smoke. Why do they get to decide for the rest of us that the air will be polluted?

As others above have said, I hope Washington State or at least Seattle are next to jump on the smoke-free bandwagon. I don't want cigarettes banned. I just want to never have to worry about their smoke again.

(I'll add that I also have lost family members to emphysema. I grew up around SHS for many years. I don't know if the SHS caused my asthma. I certainly don't think it helped.)
posted by litlnemo at 9:55 PM on March 30, 2003


No, your property rights are not more important than my health.

So if you come into my apartment you can tell me not to smoke and report me to the law if I try? Remind me not to invite you over.

This entire issue can be summed up in one cliche: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise. You accept the environment by going there. If you can't accept it, go elsewhere.

I still want to hear how SHS is different from car exhaust.

And I don't know that we've lost for good. The pendulum is always swinging; Puritanism surfaces every few generations with depressing regularity. Around the pre-Prohibition era Lucy Gaston (among others) fought smoking violently and actually (IIRC, correct me if I'm wrong) got several bans put in place in various cities, much more severe than what we're seeing today in some ways. And then came the failure of Prohibition, and in the 50s and 60s everybody smoked. Before that, of course, there was King James's Counterblaste to Tobacco. And before that tobacco was being heralded as the miracle cure for everything from malaria to indigestion. And so on.

Bluedaniel: nicotine-free cigarettes seem pretty futile to me. The R&D would be better spent on a cigarette that delivers nicotine (which is mostly harmless, and actually seems to help prevent Alzheimer's) without the cancer-causing agents.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:57 PM on March 30, 2003


nicotine (which is mostly harmless...

<cough>bullshit</cough>

Nicotine could cause lung cancer, according to new research that casts doubt on the wisdom of using nicotine replacement therapy to kick smoking. It is the first time nicotine itself, rather than other products of smoking, has been linked to the disease.

also:
Passive smoking dents children's IQ
and
Nicotine stops new brain cells forming ("Cell death also increased.")

Smoke up, Johnny!
posted by NortonDC at 10:14 PM on March 30, 2003


I spent 15 years going to shows, playing in bands, etc. I breathed in way more SHS than I should have ever had to. I did it because I loved music. I hated the smoke, but I loved music.

That's my view on concerts at outside amphitheatres. because they're outside, smoking is never prohibited, even in the pricey, no-crosswind, "gold circle" front rows. I haven't been to one in about four years. I love music; I love breathing more.

This entire issue can be summed up in one cliche: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise. You accept the environment by going there. If you can't accept it, go elsewhere.

So where do you go when there is no environment without smoke? You just suck it up? In Pittsburgh, where we have a toothless non-smoking law, restaurants which are entirely non-smoking are few and far between. Those that are tend to be either fast food franchises or intimé little bistros suitable for a trendy meal with a date, but not dinner with a business colleague or a family. Our marathon running mayor lobbied for a "separate smoking room only" law here for restaurants (smoking is banned entirely in other public spaces) but couldn't get it past a city council which happened to include two restaurant owners.

The fact is, if you want to avoid smoke, you have to limit your dining out, you simply cannot ever go to bars or nightclubs, you forego outdoor concerts, you have to duck and run to get inside the majority of office buildings because smokers are too inconsiderate to not congregate two feet away from the entryways unless they're forced, your entire life is affected and limited so that a minority doesn't have their non-existent right to freely create noxious pollution "infringed" upon. That's just backwards.

I still want to hear how SHS is different from car exhaust.

There are cars inside buildings where you live? I know Americans love their vehicles, but perhaps your community needs to consider its car attachment if they're idling inside restaurants and office buildings these days.
posted by Dreama at 10:37 PM on March 30, 2003


This entire issue can be summed up in one cliche: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise. You accept the environment by going there. If you can't accept it, go elsewhere.

I ask again, what alternative do I have for live music? Specifically, when an artist that is not local (and thus not frequently performing here in a variety of venues), comes to our city to play a gig? I don't have the choice to see the artist in a non-smoking venue (unless they are playing a stadium show or something, but I'm talking about the artists that play in nightclubs). If I was rich and could fly to California for every show... maybe. But that is unreasonable.

I would gladly patronize non-smoking clubs for music. But I don't have that choice, for the specific music that I want to hear.

If it's just drinking/eating/hanging-out bars, that doesn't bother me as much. I do have alternatives for those. Last night I had dinner in a non-smoking bar and enjoyed it very much. But when one of my favorite musicians is in town, it's either see them in a smoky bar, thus risking severe illness, or don't see them at all. I don't believe that is a fair choice.

(on preview: what Dreama said.)
posted by litlnemo at 10:42 PM on March 30, 2003


Ipqboy> I hear you loud and clear- nobody wants someone telling them what they can and can't do all the time, but at what cost to you and those around you?

Positively, absolutely, 100%, by all studies on earth, there is no link between SHS and cancer

I have to post in bold all caps because NO ONE IS LISTENING TO THE SCIENTISTS.

NortonDC, they said this in the article:

As little as one nanogram of cotinine per millilitre of blood appeared to reduce IQ scores by an average of two points.

That isn't what we're discussing. We're discussing ETS, not infantile SHS (I should have been more clear).

So, the rule is, don't smoke while the baby is inside. Once outside, puff away and build up their immunity to lung cancer.

>but I don't think asking smokers to step outside for a puff is too much to ask.

You haven't moved up north yet, have ya?

I feel hella sorry for all the people with grandparents that have died from primary smoke, but this law doesn't outlaw cigarettes, so it won't change things a bit in that regard. Not at all.

litlenemo, I find live shows disgusting. The trash left behind by them is deadly to me, and I can't even imagine where the shit from porto-johns goes. THEY SHOULD BE BANNED! I don't care if you don't like that, IT'S MY HEALTH WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.

>Fewer than 50% of the population are smokers. And even at rock shows, here in Seattle at least, fewer than 50% smoke. Why do they get to decide for the rest of us that the air will be polluted?

Fewer than 50% of the population are gay. Why do they get to get married while the rest of us sit in displeasure?

Dreama>So where do you go when there is no environment without smoke?

Out-fucking-side. Seems reasonble considering you're forcing smokers to do the same!

>The fact is, if you want to avoid smoke, you have to limit your dining out, you simply cannot ever go to bars or nightclubs, you forego outdoor concerts, you have to duck and run to get inside the majority of office buildings because smokers are too inconsiderate to not congregate two feet away from the entryways unless they're forced, your entire life is affected and limited so that a minority doesn't have their non-existent right to freely create noxious pollution "infringed" upon. That's just backwards.

The fact is if your legs are broken you can't walk. Don't stop everyone else from enjoying it just because you can't do it. That's not backwards, that's just selfish and it gives asthmatics a bad name. There are many, many, many, restaurants in NYC that are smoke free. Frequent them. You have a choice. Make it.

It is beyond me why you would want to frequent a place that clearly doesn't want you there, anyways. If I went to a store and was treated rudely I wouldn't get a law passed forcing them to treat me nicely. I'd just never go there again. Why do you want to patronize restaurants that are steadfastly set against you? Do you feel the anti-smoking agenda is some kind of religion?

Your country and mine are built on freedom. And that freedom lets me do what the hell I like on my property as long as it doesn't effect you when you're not there. I built a potato cannon once for the hell of it and it was my right to do so, for example. As far as I know, the effects of ETS/SHS are localised to the area. Walk outside that area and voila! The problem disappears. If you walk into my zone of terror, well, hell, it's marked on the door. You accept the risks associated with it.

I think pro-smoking bars should simply expell dust thereby removing your argument, Dreama. Because that's still legal, and you'd still be screwed for going there. Are you going to regulate air-quality instead? Will you make dusty places install HEPA filters to satisfy your need to eat at places with angry, nervous, nicotine-addicted chefs?

>There are cars inside buildings where you live? I know Americans love their vehicles, but perhaps your community needs to consider its car attachment if they're idling inside restaurants and office buildings these days.

Yup. We call it the "Drive-Thru". Why dontcha ban that while you're at it; I wouldn't want you to be coughing up a storm or nothing on my way to get a Big Mac.
posted by shepd at 10:52 PM on March 30, 2003


Whether or not secondhand smoke causes disease is irrelevant. The fact is, when several people smoke cigarettes in a room together it can often be unpleasant for everyone (and there are even some smokers who agree this).

Going to a club, bar or music venue here in London results in stinking hair and foul-smelling clothes. That isn't a personal choice of people who socialise... it's an unsatisfactory situation which has been foisted upon them by smokers. One day, this situation will change and many cities will offer the pleasant experience of clubbing or gigging in Los Angeles, where smoking is banned. I find it's possible to stay out much later because the lack of smoke actually makes you feel less drained.

I would be happy if any indoor smoking legislation said that either the venue installs high-end air conditioning enough to render the presence of cigarette smoke in the air negligible, or they provide special sealed smoking rooms, or they do not allow smoking.
posted by skylar at 10:57 PM on March 30, 2003


Now I'm wondering if asthmatics might have an ADA case against indoor smoking...

Huh, how about that.
posted by NortonDC at 11:08 PM on March 30, 2003


This entire issue can be summed up in one cliche: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise. You accept the environment by going there. If you can't accept it, go elsewhere.

What is all this talk about property rights and private enterprise? If it's regulation of the environment of a private enterprise you're worried about, I'm afraid it's already commonplace. As far as I know, every bar and restaurant that serves the public has to answer to a local and state government regarding the environment that they prepare their food in, as well as serve and sell alcoholic drinks. How different is regulated cleanliness of a businesses' kitchen from regulated cleanliness of the air where the patrons eat?

And for shepd, here's a link from Health Canada on second hand smoke and cancer.
posted by lpqboy at 11:10 PM on March 30, 2003


I quit smoking in August, and I work in a bar. A ban on smoking here in Philadelphia would wreak havok on my ability to earn a living. I'm sure many bartenders in NYC are worried right now as well.

Smoking is bad for you. Drinking is also bad for you. Driving a car is bad for you (and others). Why don't we outlaw drinking? How about driving? They both serve legitimate purposes, correct? Doesn't smoking serve a legitimate purpose?

Fuck any of you that support this rape of personal liberty. Anti-smoking law is just one more reason to hate the people that live here in America.
posted by password at 11:14 PM on March 30, 2003


So if you come into my apartment you can tell me not to smoke and report me to the law if I try?

No, as long as your smoke doesn't interfere with my life—say, if I lived next to you and it came through ventilation ducts into my apartment. This has happened to me.

A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise.

It also just so happens to be a public space.
posted by oaf at 11:43 PM on March 30, 2003


Why don't we outlaw drinking? How about driving?

As has been said before, I don't think the issue here is about the complete outlawing of smoking- it's an issue of where you can do the activity. And for both drinking and driving there already exist limitations of where you can do each. You can't legally drive just anywhere (say, on the other side of the road) and you can't drink anywhere you want either (say, in your car while driving).

These activities, they have location limitations not completely unlike those that indoor non-smoking laws create and yet I don't consider their limitations to be "a rape of personal liberty." Do you?
posted by lpqboy at 11:46 PM on March 30, 2003


I am hereby demanding a ban on perfume indoors. Which to me is far more offensive and causes plenty of asthma attacks. If you want to wear expensive colognes and perfumes, do it outside with the smokers!
posted by SweetIceT at 12:00 AM on March 31, 2003


Not bad. 90-plus posts and a spirited debate and nobody has mentioned the "I" word once... Hey, wait a minute... Over there.. in the Google Ads! AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!

BTW, I agree with SweetIceT, but with double penalties if it's an "Elizabeth Taylor" fragrance...
posted by wendell at 12:11 AM on March 31, 2003


You can smoke in restaurants in California in designated smoking areas; they're called patios. As long as there's no roof overhead, you're golden. So smoke 'em if ya got 'em... everyone does. That's why you don't hear much hoopla about it from smokers out here. It's not a big deal. It's warm enough all year round to always take dinner outside and smoke at your table. A lot of clubs are roofless or at least have roofless sections so people can drink and smoke and not have to stand in the parking lot. NYC is a different story. Nobody wants to go stand in 3 feet of snow in the alley behind the club to have a smoke. It probably won't go over very well with the locals, probably won't last long and will either be repealed or ignored. Besides, does anyone think that NYC cops have the time and/or the inclination to go around citing people for smoking in a bar? It's not LA, for Christ's sake.
posted by David Dark at 12:13 AM on March 31, 2003


The fact is if your legs are broken you can't walk.

That's so far from being an applicable analogy it's laughable.

Don't stop everyone else from enjoying it just because you can't do it. That's not backwards, that's just selfish and it gives asthmatics a bad name.

It's not about whether someone "can't do it" it's about whether someone chooses to be exposed to smoke. It doesn't matter if they're asthmatic (which I'm not, btw) or allergic or just doesn't want other people making them stink.

You're making the affirmative argument here. You're suggesting that there should be no limitation to where smokers can light up. But you and the other pro-smoking advocates continue to dodge the question -- why should the smokers' "right" to smoke (which I do not stipulate the existence of, but for purpose of argument) extend to the point where it has a negative impact on those around them?

Moving beyond the issue of health, smokers' pollution permeates the clothing, skin and hair of those around them, but the smokers are never forced to bear the expense of the drycleaning (and imagine if you did anything else which required someone to have to have their clothing cleaned - you'd be in your pocket in a heartbeat, if you had any manners!) and the hassles and time drain of dealing with all of the other extra cleanup provoked solely by smoke saturation.

Smokers go out on balconies and porches to smoke to keep the smoke and smell out of their own spaces, but in the process force their neighbours to go inside and keep their windows closed, limiting the non-smokers' ability to even enjoy their own homes!

Non-smokers who want to limit the impact that cigarette smoke has on their lives are constantly forced to overlook, avoid, react and otherwise make accomodations and changes to how they live and move. No other legal endeavor which serves no purpose other than the satiation of an individual choice has such an extraordinary impact on the environment of non-participatory bystanders. The comparison is made to car exhaust, but it's not a legitimate comparison. Motor vehicles pollution is incidental to the important purpose that they serve. Motor vehicles are, for better or worse, an integral part of the infrastructure of modern society. Such an argument cannot be made about cigarettes. So why shouldn't the tables be turned in the other direction? Why shouldn't society impose limitations on the amount of accomodation it will offer for this pursuit, as it already does with regard to other pursuits which do not have nearly as significant an impact on others, if they have any impact at all?

There are many, many, many, restaurants in NYC that are smoke free. Frequent them. You have a choice. Make it.

No, I don't have that choice, because I don't live in New York, and where I do live, the law doesn't give me that choice and neither do the restauranteurs. Outside of the City of New York and the state of California, it's a roll of the dice.

I am hereby demanding a ban on perfume indoors.

I think what you'd really like is a ban on extra-liberal applications of perfume. Perfume isn't meant to be subtle and obvious only when you're in someone's personal space -- unlike cigarette smoke, it shouldn't be noticeable from feet away. The worst thing in the world is a spray-on fragrance. Ech. A dabbing at the pulse points, that's all one needs!
posted by Dreama at 12:22 AM on March 31, 2003


Uh, that should be, obviously "Perfume is meant to be subtle..." Oops.
posted by Dreama at 12:26 AM on March 31, 2003


From the health canada site:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially labelled second -hand smoke as a "class A" cancer-causing substance. 2 Class A is considered the most dangerous of cancer agents and there is no known safe level of exposure.

THEY ATE THE CROCK OF SHIT HOOK LINE AND SINKER. Hope it tasted good on its way down!

Health Canada is even DUMBER than the EPA, don't they read law journals?

>No, as long as your smoke doesn't interfere with my life—say, if I lived next to you and it came through ventilation ducts into my apartment. This has happened to me.

Does the government buy you weatherstripping if your doors leak air? I hope not.

>Going to a club, bar or music venue here in London results in stinking hair and foul-smelling clothes. That isn't a personal choice of people who socialise... it's an unsatisfactory situation which has been foisted upon them by smokers.

By bar owners, I hope you meant to say. They don't have to let them smoke there in the UK, do they?

>It also just so happens to be a public space.

The same public space that people can carry placards in and do anything the like, right? I mean, you are allowed to solicit and protest on someone's property without their permission, right?

>You can smoke in restaurants in California in designated smoking areas; they're called patios. As long as there's no roof overhead, you're golden

And when it snows and rains I guess smokers are just supposed to be treated like the scum on everyone's shoes they are, right?

>It doesn't matter if they're asthmatic (which I'm not, btw) or allergic or just doesn't want other people making them stink.

BooHoo! I don't want to stink! I'm going to outlaw stinking to fix that!

>But you and the other pro-smoking advocates continue to dodge the question -- why should the smokers' "right" to smoke (which I do not stipulate the existence of, but for purpose of argument) extend to the point where it has a negative impact on those around them?

Simple. They were given permission to do so by the owner of the space. Don't like it? LEAVE.

>Moving beyond the issue of health, smokers' pollution permeates the clothing, skin and hair of those around them, but the smokers are never forced to bear the expense of the drycleaning (and imagine if you did anything else which required someone to have to have their clothing cleaned - you'd be in your pocket in a heartbeat, if you had any manners!) and the hassles and time drain of dealing with all of the other extra cleanup provoked solely by smoke saturation.

Don't like drycleaning? Don't! You only have to not frequent smoke houses! How hard is that?

What if it were a paintball arena? Would you force paintballers to use clear paint so that you wouldn't need to dryclean if you went there?

>Non-smokers who want to limit the impact that cigarette smoke has on their lives are constantly forced to overlook, avoid, react and otherwise make accomodations and changes to how they live and move.

No they aren't. I didn't when smoking was legal here. The biggest inconvenience is the one NY will soon have: At my college smoking was banned before the general smoking ban. I had to wade through people to get inside.

I hope you enjoy the hell you're asking for.

>satiation of an individual choice has such an extraordinary impact on the environment of non-participatory bystanders. The comparison is made to car exhaust, but it's not a legitimate comparison. Motor vehicles pollution is incidental to the important purpose that they serve. Motor vehicles are, for better or worse, an integral part of the infrastructure of modern society.

Dodge! Dodge! Caravan?

>I think what you'd really like is a ban on extra-liberal applications of perfume.

Good. Let's have that then, shall we?

At the same time I want a ban on personal odor.
posted by shepd at 1:09 AM on March 31, 2003


>but I don't think asking smokers to step outside for a puff is too much to ask.

You haven't moved up north yet, have ya?

*shrug* Those of us who can't tolerate the smoke have had to spend a lot of time out on the sidewalk to get a breath of fresh air. I can't say that I feel that sorry for smokers having to step outside for a smoke occasionally.

Look, smoking is a voluntary activity. Breathing is not. If it's too cold to smoke outside... a solution might be not to smoke. And I understand that that is difficult once you've got the habit. But we can't choose not to breathe.

And why is it OK to exclude asthmatics from concerts, but not to exclude those in wheelchairs? (Hint: it's wrong to exclude either.)

litlenemo, I find live shows disgusting. The trash left behind by them is deadly to me, and I can't even imagine where the shit from porto-johns goes. THEY SHOULD BE BANNED! I don't care if you don't like that, IT'S MY HEALTH WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.

This is a really poor analogy (porta-johns at club shows?), and awfully hysterical at that.

Fewer than 50% of the population are gay. Why do they get to get married while the rest of us sit in displeasure?

Another poor analogy, and trollish at that, in the sense that it is likely to derail the conversation.

Honestly, I could argue with you, but I don't see the point if you are going to argue this way. So I won't. I'm not interested in discussing this with people who would compare not wanting to breathe smoke to homophobia. That's a cheap shot. I really hope the smokers here can keep the discussion civil.

Dreama, once again, you said it well.

What if it were a paintball arena? Would you force paintballers to use clear paint so that you wouldn't need to dryclean if you went there?

Difference. I assume that you go to a paintball arena in order to play paintball, which any reasonable person assumes would require splattering paint. If you don't want to get splattered, you don't play paintball. But if you go to a concert to hear music, a reasonable person would not assume that hearing music automatically requires the breathing of smoke. There is no inherent connection between the two.

It should be possible to enjoy a show without smoke. But in most places, it is not possible unless you limit your choices drastically.
posted by litlnemo at 1:22 AM on March 31, 2003


After sitting here thinking about this all night, the biggest thing that bothers me about this would have to be that anti-smoking legislation always seems to ban smoking from an entire class of public space. No smoking in federal buildings. No smoking in hospitals. While this broad sweeping legislation works in these instances, it doesn't necessarily translate well to bars and restaurants.

Federal buildings and hospitals are places that the entire public should have access to, smoke free, with as little risk to their health as possible. Bars and restaurants are a totally different bird. The general public does not need access to every bar and restaurant. Often times, bars and restaurants have specific clientele: gay/fetish bars, strip bars, ethnic bars/restaurants, jazz clubs etc. These establishments often alienate the general population purposely.

If we allow nudity in strip bars, why can't we have smoking in smoking bars? Even better; Why can't we bypass legislation in the first place and some anti-smokers can open their own non-smoking bars and restaurants?

The answer? Anti-smoking people want to be able to go anywhere, and do as they please, regardless of the rights of others. They don't ever seem to talk about compromises.

So, you fuckers, drive your SUV down to McDonalds, order yourself a biggie sized fries, drink some Coors lite at Friday's, and get yourself some $12 t-shirts at the Gap. Exercise at balls, and live long and healthy lives, smoke free. Make sure to breed alot & legislate religion. Control your children's lives. Blame everyone else for all your problems, because it's never your fault.
posted by password at 1:46 AM on March 31, 2003


Edit: Exercise at Bally's.
posted by password at 1:47 AM on March 31, 2003


I was in a bar in Boston recently that had two different sections, one upstairs, one downstairs, separated by a common room with doors that led outside. My girlfriend and I went to the upstairs part to have some food and a couple of beers. The upstairs section was practically dead, save for a couple of quiet conversations going on at the bar. We asked the bartender for an ashtray and he told us we'd have to go downstairs to the smoking section of the bar.

Now, the downstairs section was hopping. People chatting, smiling, laughing, having a good time. It was like an ad for cigarettes or beer.

Anti-smokers are a sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring bunch. They complain about the quality of the air in bars that they'd rarely ever go to anyway. And when the bars of Boston convert to all non-smoking in May (even ones that are completely separated, like the one we went to), will you and your non-smoking friends flood the venues we used to occupy in large enough numbers to keep them alive?

Oh, and some additional information to those interested. If the owner of a bar or restaurant is the only employee, he/she can dictate the smoking policy. Private clubs will not be exempt, for as we all know, bars would just institute a nominal fee and circumvent the law. Cigar bars will be exempt from the ban, but for a bar to qualify as a cigar bar, it must have been opened prior to December 31, 2001, and has to generate a minimum of 10 percent of its revenue from the sale or rental of tobacco products and devices. Also, bars or restaurants with outdoor patios may be able to convert these sections to smoking areas. There are also provisions for creating special areas in bars or clubs that allow smoking, but where no employees are required to go.

Of course, prisons are not exempt, nor are mental hospitals. Pray for the guards.


posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:48 AM on March 31, 2003


When they banned farm animals from the streets, the city lost its character.

Feh.

I go to bars for serious drinking, not to buy pitchers of Bud Lite to go with my Marlboros. Before this law, I've had to leave bars by 6 or 7pm to not smell like shit (as opposed to simply smelling awful, which is what I did). If there were any nonsmoking bars in Manhattan, it's news to me.

I agree that the law goes too far, as all I would want is a real nonsmoking section (good ventilation, etc.), but the rationale used for this law is worker safety. Yes, the epidemiological evidence can be shaky now, especially as it's much easier for nonsmokers to escape smokers, but generally no one likes to share in other people's bad habits if it involves carcinogenic materials.

I still don't see why they can't have smoker's rooms (with some kind of dumb waiter for service).
posted by meep at 3:13 AM on March 31, 2003


Anti-smokers are a sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring bunch.

And smokers are full of prejudice. sarcasm

Anti-smoking people want to be able to go anywhere, and do as they please, regardless of the rights of others.

And smokers want to be able to smoke anywhere, and do as they please, regardless of the rights of others.
posted by oaf at 3:46 AM on March 31, 2003


This entire issue can be summed up in one cliche: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A bar/restaurant is a private enterprise. You accept the environment by going there. If you can't accept it, go elsewhere.

You know, this argument could be made for either side. The way you made it, or: Smokers, if you don't like the post-ban environment in bars and restaurants, don't go there.

It seems that the smokers want non-smokers to change more than vice versa..."don't go there!" and "I don't care if your hair and clothes stink!" and "go to a different bar!", versus "step outside for ten minutes and smoke". (It isn't in the ban, but this non-smoker would support a smoking room.)
posted by Vidiot at 4:50 AM on March 31, 2003


And smokers are full of prejudice.

Well, yes. That's true. Apologies for the screed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:51 AM on March 31, 2003


First of all, shepd, where I live restaurants/bars are explicitly designated as public spaces, and people in them are subject to the full range of public space law as a condition of receiving a liquor license, so you can drop your little "it's not a public space" dodge.

Second of all, regarding all the other manic, accusatory posts, I was so right. God, the tortured writhing you get treated to when watching a junkie try to justify his fix truly is priceless. (I especially love the part where Civil_Disbodient implies that if people find something physically repulsive and physically threatening enough to stay away from it, they have disqualified themselves from having an opinion, because it's so bad that they stay away from it. Don't go changing now, Civil_Disbodient, never!)
posted by NortonDC at 4:53 AM on March 31, 2003


Anti-smokers are a sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring bunch

yup that's true, we're having absolutely no fun here north of the border. we just sit around drinking tea with our pinkies elevated. since the smoking ban we don't have live concerts, theatre, festivals, etc, and we shut down all our fine dining, dance clubs, and sports venues, etc. we've stopped having all that hot sex we loved as wheezing oxygen deprived, under-muscled smokers too. nowadays we all turn in at 8pm wearing high necked flannel jammies and chastity belts. please protect yourself, stay home, don't visit or insanely entertain the idea of moving here as it's hell, pure hell i tell you...!
posted by t r a c y at 5:01 AM on March 31, 2003


We'll always have Paris...
posted by zaelic at 5:19 AM on March 31, 2003


You know, this argument could be made for either side. The way you made it, or: Smokers, if you don't like the post-ban environment in bars and restaurants, don't go there.

Of course, the difference is that this is a mandatory ban whereas the smoking environmenst that have existed up till now have been a voluntary choice on the part of bar owners, but don't let me interrupt you with facts.

God, the tortured writhing you get treated to when watching a junkie try to justify his fix truly is priceless.

That's right, those who have been both smokers and non-smokers are obviously in no way qualified to discuss it, unlike those of you who've only seen things from one point of view and so lack that extra experience which, really, only confuses the issue anyway.

Oh, and great demonstration of the classic rhetorical technique of using a semantically empty but inflammatory term ('junkie') to sneak an ad hominem attack under the radar. You get an A. I don't see any junkies, and actually I didn't see any tortured writhing either.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:46 AM on March 31, 2003


Ok. Replace "junkie" with the clinically correct "addict." Still gloriously true, but I don't know if "addict" is any more comfortable for you.
posted by NortonDC at 5:59 AM on March 31, 2003


So, you [non-smoking] fuckers, drive your SUV down to McDonalds, order yourself a biggie sized fries, drink some Coors lite at Friday's...

Anti-smokers are a sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring bunch.

Fuck any of you that support this rape of personal liberty.

(And so on...)

I just want to thank you for keeping up the high level of rational, civil discourse here at Mefi.

Also, shepd: brevity. It's a thing to be admired.
And non-smokers automatically drive SUVs? Screw that. Not me. That's an odd leap of logic (or lack of it).
posted by Shane at 7:02 AM on March 31, 2003


t r a c y - I thought the Canadian ban was just in Toronto. You mean the Quebecois in Montreal have banned smoking, too? I always equated the French (and their ilk) with wine and cigarettes. Say it ain't so!

And NortonDC - Um. Huh? I never said you were disqualified from having an opinion. Get it straight. I did say that those that hold said opinions generally -- well, to steal a quote from zaelic's link -- "[have a] public denial of pleasure and need for self-gratification, arrogant self-righteousness and high-principled rigidity, immaturity and wimpishness when it comes to mortality, existence, the body and its functions."

I probably just need a smoke.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:24 AM on March 31, 2003


nicotine-free cigarettes seem pretty futile to me. The R&D would be better spent on a cigarette that delivers nicotine (which is mostly harmless, and actually seems to help prevent Alzheimer's) without the cancer-causing agents.


IshmaelGraves: I totally agree with you.

Civil_Disobedient: gotta light?
posted by bluedaniel at 7:30 AM on March 31, 2003


i smoke [pall mall's or Nat Shermans when i can get them]. I don't drive any gasoline guzzling vehicle. I don't smoke at dinner at resturants.

that said, i think this ban is going just a wee bit too far - it was hard enough to rent apartments in NYC as a smoker before, and now it'll probably be downright impossible. Sorta like having a pet when trying to rent in San Fransisco.

Last time i lived in NYC - summer 2001 - there were smokefree resturants and bars abound, and a handful of bars where you could smoke. Was this not enough?
posted by dabitch at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2003


I love it.
posted by adampsyche at 7:39 AM on March 31, 2003


"Beer without smoke is like cock without pussy"

-- Charles Bukowski


Besides, one factoid which hasn't been tossed out yet is that 70% of alcoholics are smokers. I think the people who are at the bar every day of the week should have a greater voice in dictating the bar's conditions than the drinking dilettantes who only show up every other week.

I'm not sure why this level of snarky acrimony has to exist. No smoker wants to be around non-smokers. Like I said before, if the city had simply mandated separate, ventilated rooms, no smoker would be complaining right now. No one wants to breathe smoke in your oh-so-sensitive face. Smokers, especially in crowded cities like NY, just want a connivial place to indulge their vice without offending anyone.

And what's the problem with that?
posted by pandaharma at 7:43 AM on March 31, 2003


And NortonDC - Um. Huh? I never said you were disqualified from having an opinion. Get it straight.

What you said:
"Anti-smokers are a sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring bunch. They complain about the quality of the air in bars that they'd rarely ever go to anyway."

What I said:
"I especially love the part where Civil_Disbodient implies that if people find something physically repulsive and physically threatening enough to stay away from it, they have disqualified themselves from having an opinion, because it's so bad that they stay away from it."

I'm completely comfortable with that sequence.
posted by NortonDC at 8:01 AM on March 31, 2003


Couldn't we end all this fussin' and fuedin' with smokeless cigarettes? Although the idea reminds me of RJR Nabisco's failed attempt with Premier, which (as related in the excellent book/HBO movie Barbarians at the Gate) "smells like a fart and tastes like shit."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:03 AM on March 31, 2003


Why didn't you exercise that right with those concerts and clubs rather than support removing the rights of others?

I didn't have a right to chose. I only have a choice to see the band or not see the band. Allowing smoking takes away my right to choose whether I want to stink. You don't seem to have a problem with smokers taking that right away from me.

If you're suggesting non-smokers should just refrain from entertainment, well, then, I suggest you go fuck yourself. As someone else already mentioned, your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins. If you chose to smoke, do it some place where it doesn't affect others. If you can't, well, then too bad. [And no, I don't mean you, necessarily. I mean smokers in general.]

How would you feel if they took away your right to choose?

I never had the right in the first place. The new laws were created to give me that right.

Your ridiculous analogy about someone using the word "hate"... what was the point of that exactly? How is someone using a word analagous to their activity making me stink? With costing me $ to get my clothes dry cleaned? With filling my lungs with their bad habits?

No they aren't. I didn't when smoking was legal here. The biggest inconvenience is the one NY will soon have: At my college smoking was banned before the general smoking ban. I had to wade through people to get inside.

I'm guessing you're a hermit, right? Do you get out at all?

I once went to see a band in Toronto and an hour afterwards I was on the bus heading home. A couple, offended by the stench, politely suggested I stop smoking. I told them I didn't smoke. At all. I told them I had just come from a bar; they refused to believe me.

It was pretty damn sad, prior to the laws, that when going to a concert, me and my friends were limited in what we were able to wear to the show because we don't want to stink as bad later--or may want to wear the item the next day. "Better not wear my suede coat," etc. etc.

shepd, either you're totally ignorant to non-health related smoking drawbacks or you're one hell of a troll.

Oh, and thanks for the phone number. I've dropped it into my Palm and will use it regularly.
posted by dobbs at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2003


Wow. I have to say that after reading these posts, I truly do not care about the "rights" of non-smokers. At all. If you don't like smoke, then stay home. I don't like whiny little pain in the asses, so there are many places that I choose to avoid.

I tended bar for years (in now smoke free Delaware), and when I talk to my old co-workers, their income has decreased. Where are all of you non-smokers to fill in the gap? Home?

And now I live in smoke-free New York. Whatever. There are still strip clubs even after James Woods's attempt to get rid of them, and there will still be places to smoke.

Maybe the upshot is that all of the Upper East Side trash won't know how to find them?
posted by hummus at 11:05 AM on March 31, 2003


Like I said before, if the city had simply mandated separate, ventilated rooms, no smoker would be complaining right now. No one wants to breathe smoke in your oh-so-sensitive face. Smokers, especially in crowded cities like NY, just want a connivial place to indulge their vice without offending anyone.

I think part of the problem is with groups comprised of non-smokers and smokers, the default has been on the smokers when it comes to going to a bar, because smoking and drinking are just linked in the public consciousness.

They were linked for me once too - I was a social smoker who enjoyed cigarettes when I drank or sometimes with my coffee. But they aren't linked for me anymore - I still love beer and coffee, but cigarettes no longer (usually) appeal to me. Part of this is due to respiratory problems I started having after radiation treatments for lymphoma. Part of it was no doubt having a cancer scare to begin with - a kind of, reality sets in thing (even my smoking friends were really uncomfortable with the idea of me smoking afterward). I like going out, but I don't like not being able to breathe or keep my eyes open. Ten years ago, I'd have hated this law, but I have to admit I'm pretty happy about it now. I'd have been fine with giving bar owners the option of installing industrial strength ventilation systems too, though.

Anyway, this ban will break the link. Maybe in the future people can open up "smoker's bars" that sell cigs and make some kind of income on it, and that everyone knows are especially for smokers, but if they did it now, almost every bar owner would try to reconceive their place as a "smoker's bar", and smokers would tell their non-smoking friends, for god's sake, we're going to a bar! And everyone would feel it was priggish to complain about smoke in a bar. But 100 years ago, it'd probably have been priggish to complain about people spitting tobacco on the floor, so I'm not sure that's a great argument.

I'm fine with laws about wearing too much perfume, too.
posted by mdn at 12:04 PM on March 31, 2003


Some more points from me:
1. I support a "Smokers Bar" where all they sell are smoke products (i.e. no alcohol, food etc.) and are allowed to smoke.

2. I still don't think the arguments downplaying the after effects (smell and more) of SHS have been very convincing. From what I've heard it'll be fine for me to run around a bar spraying a can of shit smelling spray on everyone.

The major problems I have with most of the pro-smoking arguments are that non-smokers have alternatives the main one is to just stay home. Unfortunately bars are restaurants serve a much larger purpose than a place to smoke. Music, Drinking, Dancing and the occasional hookup are activities that just can't be done outside of bars. Finally the last time I checked the majority of people DON'T smoke even in most bars.
posted by aaronscool at 12:16 PM on March 31, 2003


I don't think you can cite what's happened in Delaware as an example of what will happen everywhere that smoking is banned. Delaware's so small that it's a piece of cake to go over into Maryland, PA, or NJ to smoke in a bar if that's what you want to do. So a lot of that lost revenue is from people going to bars in neighboring states. If you have a captive audience (like say Boulder, Colorado, where they passed a smoking ban about two weeks after I moved there) they don't have the option of going over state lines so you don't stand as much chance of losing revenue.

I know you could go over the border into Hoboken to avoid an NYC smoking ban, but then you wouldn't be in NYC, which I would think would have more of a draw than being able to smoke.

Everyone opposed to the ban come move down here to North Carolina. It will be a cold day in hell when they pass a similiar law in the tobacco state.
posted by jennyb at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2003


One thing to keep in mind when considering legal aspects: legally, there's no such thing as a smoker or a non-smoker. There are only people, and the activity of smoking. This is about the ability of the legislature to regulate where this activity takes place. Considering that bars are workplaces, I've got no legal objection AT ALL to the regulation of smoking in that workplace.
posted by NortonDC at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2003


>First of all, shepd, where I live restaurants/bars are explicitly designated as public spaces, and people in them are subject to the full range of public space law as a condition of receiving a liquor license, so you can drop your little "it's not a public space" dodge.

So, NortonDC, if I wanted, I could go there and sell competing products? I could set up my own little "Bar in a Bar"? If not, it isn't a public space at all, is it?

>And why is it OK to exclude asthmatics from concerts, but not to exclude those in wheelchairs? (Hint: it's wrong to exclude either.)

Great! Use the correct law then. This isn't disability law. If it were, and they could prove a case that there is no way to allow smoking without them dying (hint: You'll have to prove the car engine problem as well) then they can have their smoke fee bars.

The fact is that disability legislation is held up to a higher standard than this piece of toilet paper, so they didn't take the high road, cause they knew it just lead to the edge of a cliff.

>yup that's true, we're having absolutely no fun here north of the border.

Right. After being to both a non-smoking and a smoking strip club, let me let you know it's a much different atmosphere between them. And that's the club owner's choice. Why do we have to take that away from them? So you can force the atmosphere of his club to be what he doesn't want it to be?

I think all smoking stores should close down for a weekend every year in protest. Shut the damn city down and see how you anti-smokers like that.

>I thought the Canadian ban was just in Toronto.

Kitchener Waterloo, also, where stores are fined $5000 and shut down because more than one person smoked there.

>I didn't have a right to chose. I only have a choice to see the band or not see the band.

And that's not a right to choose?

Here's a choice for you: Music videos. At home. Just like you want for the smokers. There you go!

>If you're suggesting non-smokers should just refrain from entertainment, well, then, I suggest you go fuck yourself.

I'm a non-smoker and I don't care about the smoke. You've also proven that you didn't care enough not to before as well. See the picture I'm painting here? If you had told me you never went before the ban, you'd have an argument. But because you did, you have none.

>I never had the right in the first place. The new laws were created to give me that right.

So, wait a minute. You mean that there was some sort of bouncer that forced you to take a drag from a cigarette before you went to these concerts or something? Well, hell, I can understand your pain then. I didn't realise New York City was that facist!

Otherwise if your telling me that because you might cough you couldn't go there, you're using the wrong word. It's wouldn't. Not couldn't. Big difference.

>I'm guessing you're a hermit, right? Do you get out at all?

So, to be "normal" you need to be "smoke-free" and go to "concerts" all the time?

Fuck you and your conformity factory.

>shepd, either you're totally ignorant to non-health related smoking drawbacks or you're one hell of a troll.

HELLO, MC. FLY?!?!? I gave you the numbers. There is ZERO proven link between SHS and lung cancer. That means if you don't pick up a light, smoking ain't gonna make you get diseased, no matter how hard you try.

Did you even bother to click the links?

>But 100 years ago, it'd probably have been priggish to complain about people spitting tobacco on the floor, so I'm not sure that's a great argument.

That was stopped as a health argument. If someone made sanitary spittoons, there would be no law against it.

>The major problems I have with most of the pro-smoking arguments are that non-smokers have alternatives the main one is to just stay home.

No! You go to a non-smoking restaurant! There are thousands in NYC right now if my city pre-ban was anything to go by! How many do you need? Millions?

I want you to go outside and enjoy your smog filled city. I want you to enjoy restaurants. I just don't think it's wise for you to patronize restaurants that don't want you there.

>Considering that bars are workplaces, I've got no legal objection AT ALL to the regulation of smoking in that workplace.

Why??? There are no health risks. Would you allow regulation of body smell also?
posted by shepd at 1:09 PM on March 31, 2003


So, NortonDC, if I wanted, I could go there and sell competing products? I could set up my own little "Bar in a Bar"? If not, it isn't a public space at all, is it?

As alluded to, you'd need a liquor license. But why let reality interfere with your rant, eh?

If it were, and they could prove a case that there is no way to allow smoking without them dying

Bullshit. Death is not the standard for invoking the ADA. Useless argument. Well, not totally useless. It isrevealing, just about the author instead of the subject.

There are no health risks.

Nice troll. Risks to asthmatics are not in dispute. Health risks exist. Move on.

Or keep foaming. Either one pleases me.
posted by NortonDC at 1:44 PM on March 31, 2003


No! You go to a non-smoking restaurant! There are thousands in NYC right now if my city pre-ban was anything to go by! How many do you need? Millions?

I don't have a problem with the restaurant situation at the moment. This is likely due to the fact that most States have had a non-smoking section law for years if not the fact that most restaurants realize the MAJORITY of people don't want an ashtray flavor with their meal...

Now back to my point, how many non-smoking dance clubs, bars and live music venues does NYC have? If it's anything like Seattle you may have a handful of bars and no music or dance clubs that are smoke free.

Once again I dispute your bully's claim that staying away is a valid choice. I think is far more fair for smokers to step outside for their fix than for non-smokers to just stay the hell away. On that point now that the law has changed in NYC what the hell are you complaining about? With your logic the smokers can just stay home like the non-smokers had to...right?

HELLO, MC. FLY?!?!? I gave you the numbers. There is ZERO proven link between SHS and lung cancer.

Actually it was a 16% increased risk but then again you were the one who was supposed to read your own links. Some might say 16% is statically insignificant others might not. The only thing those studies really have proven is that more study and analysis is needed before a full conclusion can be drawn. Other SHS health effects such as emphysema, asthma and other respiratory problems have not been disputed.

Oh and please try not to link from right wing spin doctors like the Cato Institute when trying to make an unbiased scientific claim...They are neither scientists nor unbiased.
posted by aaronscool at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2003


>As alluded to, you'd need a liquor license. But why let reality interfere with your rant, eh?

Okay, fine then. I could sell anything in this bar I wanted to, as long as it isn't regulated like liquor then, even against the owners wishes. Thanks for clearing that up. But why let the definition of a public space cause you trouble?

>Bullshit. Death is not the standard for invoking the ADA. Useless argument. Well, not totally useless. It isrevealing, just about the author instead of the subject.

There are NO PROVEN RISKS. Not even little tiny stupid risks. NOTHING. ZIP. ZERO. NOTHING.

>Nice troll. Risks to asthmatics are not in dispute. Health risks exist. Move on.

Take it up with the ADA. Use the right legislation. Is that too much to ask?

>Or keep foaming. Either one pleases me.

Oh, please grow up.

>Now back to my point, how many non-smoking dance clubs, bars and live music venues does NYC have? If it's anything like Seattle you may have a handful of bars and no music or dance clubs that are smoke free.

If it's anything like KW Ontario, hundreds. Maybe thousands. Smoking is too dangerous in a packed club so a lot of them didn't want to pay the higher insurance rates. Plus a lot of kids go there and they'd have a hard time with underage nights.

>Some might say 16% is statically insignificant others might not.

No, not some, NOBODY would say that. Not a judge, not an MD, not a journal, not a cat, not a car, not a man, not a mouse, not an egg, sam I am. Maybe Joe off the street might, but do you trust joe off the street more than your MD?

>Oh and please try not to link from right wing spin doctors like the Cato Institute when trying to make an unbiased scientific claim...They are neither scientists nor unbiased.

Fine. Read andrew's article. It says exactly the same things and carries none of this bullshit bias you say exists.
posted by shepd at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2003


No! You go to a non-smoking restaurant! There are thousands in NYC right now if my city pre-ban was anything to go by! How many do you need? Millions?

There are very few non-smoking restaurants in NY because owners fear losing revenue. A law was passed that you have to have separate sections for non-smoking, so those exist. I have never heard of a non-smoking bar in NY, and without legislation I doubt anyone would bother with the risk.

But like I said above, this is just due to the link in the public consciousness of smoking and drinking. There are plenty of people who would far prefer a bar with no smoking, but people feel a degree of peer pressure (not wanting to be called out as "sorry, stuffy, arrogant and boring," eg) for accepting smoking in bars.

This used to be the case in all workplaces, but these days, smokers generally accept that they have to go outside to have a cigarette, and it would be really difficult for a case to be made allowing smoking back into offices. It seems likely to me that the same thing will happen with bars & restaurants.

If it's anything like KW Ontario, hundreds. Maybe thousands. Smoking is too dangerous in a packed club so a lot of them didn't want to pay the higher insurance rates. Plus a lot of kids go there and they'd have a hard time with underage nights.

new york's apparently nothing like ontario. I have never come across a non-smoking bar or club. Musicians I know often complain about this - they need to perform live to get their stuff out there, but they have to deal with not being able to breathe.
posted by mdn at 3:03 PM on March 31, 2003


I read the links from andrew that I could without registering and they were a direct copy from Cato (or vice versa).

That being said I believe most doctors and scientists would say that the RR of 1.16 would mean that further study is needed before a final conclusion can be drawn. I also think that NO doctor would suggest that second hand smoke was particularly healthful.

Plus a lot of kids go there and they'd have a hard time with underage nights

I would hope that underage clubs would be non-smoking (smoking being illegal in the US for minors). I appreciate your suggestion that I go to underage dance clubs if I don't want second hand smoke...
posted by aaronscool at 3:15 PM on March 31, 2003


There are NO PROVEN RISKS. Not even little tiny stupid risks. NOTHING. ZIP. ZERO. NOTHING.

1) Asthmatics
2) Passive smoking dents children's IQ

Both of these have already been covered. Do try to keep up.

Oh, please grow up.

Classic.
posted by NortonDC at 3:46 PM on March 31, 2003


>1) Asthmatics

ADA act. Use it. It's there to protect people with disabilities. Of course, anti-smokers know that if it were used, just like how stairs haven't been phased out for the physically disabled, it would simply cause a separate smoking and non-smoking area, like most restaurants in my area were pre-ban. I doubt they'd be able to do civil liberties crushing on this scale using the ADA act. Not a chance.

>2) Passive smoking dents children's IQ

And it protects against lung cancer in children. What's your poison? Die intelligent at age 10 with lung cancer, or die as an adult but with a lower IQ?

Also of note, most bars aren't frequented by children. And, more importantly, most bouncers won't let them in. So where's the exception for these places?

If this is your worry, do you plan to have an anti-smoking gestappo send children of smoking parents to FCS for their cognitive safety?

>Classic.

Yes. You have no argument against me apart from one link that has already, 100 comments ago, been shown as a flip flop issue, so you just pass me off as rabid. Tasteful, to the MAX! Please remind me to debate with you again.
posted by shepd at 3:59 PM on March 31, 2003


Just a second, I just noticed something interesting.

That health canada study is even more whacked than I previously thought. The only non-US (and therefore untainted) data appears to come from this study.

Here's the numbers you would care about:

Heart Disease related deaths in canada per year: 44,421
Heart Disease related deaths in canada attributable to passive smoking per year: 803

Percentage: 1.8.

1.8 percent. One point eight percent. Pathetic.

And here's their RR: 1.24. So close to the EPA and WHO and IARC and etc and etc. The RR doesn't change no matter how bad they screw up their testing methodologies.

Even more pathetic. There's lies, damn lies, and then there's statistics.

So, I have no proven there is no statistical link between both Heart Disease and Lung Cancer from increased ETS exposure.

Any more myths to debunk today? I'd like to see the RR from that ETS children / lower IQ study now. I bet it's equally pathetic.

What more do I have to do to convince you there is no increased risk to people without diseases to ETS? Suck on the wrong end of a cig?
posted by shepd at 4:13 PM on March 31, 2003


shepd, saying "it's the wrong law," when you're confronted with an incontrovertible example of a negative health impact from smoking isn't going to convince people that it's not a health impact.

Your "no risks" argument is gone.

This is your "keep fuming" approach, right?
posted by NortonDC at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2003


>Your "no risks" argument is gone.

Fine. Like I said way up at the top, No Risks to the non-disabled. Ok, I actually said:

Too bad second hand smoke is not dangerous to most people (Asthmatics excluded).

In my first comment. Because this is a law for everyone, not just the disabled.

Potholes are a risk to the physically disabled. No sane non-disabled person would consider them a health risk, though.

Using the wrong law to get what you want doesn't make it right. Two wrongs never make a right. You'll never convince me otherwise on that.

Oh, BTW: Did you know Iran had a smoking ban in 1996? It was overturned because it was deemed unconstitutional.

It's sad when the US is that far behind the times in freedom. Are women in Iran allowed to vote yet?

>This is your "keep fuming" approach, right?

And this is your "butt out" approach, right? IMHO, you'd be best to quit it with the lame quips. They're just childish and don't add to your point.

On second hand, what is your point? That we should abuse law to protect the disabled? Interesting theory; sounds like something Thoreau would have liked.
posted by shepd at 5:11 PM on March 31, 2003


You know, this argument could be made for either side. The way you made it, or: Smokers, if you don't like the post-ban environment in bars and restaurants, don't go there.

Of course, the difference is that this is a mandatory ban whereas the smoking environmenst that have existed up till now have been a voluntary choice on the part of bar owners, but don't let me interrupt you with facts.


I wasn't claiming that the smoking status of a particular bar wasn't a voluntary choice pre-ban. I was just pointing out that the "accept the environment or choose not to go there" argument can be made both ways. Saying "bars are often smoky, if you don't like it don't go there" seems to me to be logically equivalent to saying "bars are now non-smoking, if you don't like it then step outside to smoke." And, as I observed, you're asking the non-smokers to give up more when you compare these two arguments. Under the former of the two arguments, only smokers can enjoy bars, because non-smokers either will be irritated by the smoke or stay home. Under the latter argument, both smokers and non-smokers can enjoy the bars, but smokers can go outside, have a convivial smoke for a few minutes, and go back in.

By the way, the bile in this thread (from both sides, but it seems to be coming more from the smokers) is really starting to irritate me. I made what I thought was an innocuous, mild-mannered comment ('cause that's the kind of guy I generally am), and I get a snide, derisive response. These kinds of attitudes, and their increased prevalence, are making this site less and less fun.
posted by Vidiot at 6:02 PM on March 31, 2003


Your statement of risk has been pretty malleable: "There are NO PROVEN RISKS. Not even little tiny stupid risks. NOTHING. ZIP. ZERO. NOTHING."

Emphatic, absolute, and wrong.

So, now that it seems we agree there are risks, we face up to the larger picture: second hand smoke is an unnecessary pollutant which, for health reasons, can render someone who is otherwise capable of performing the tasks required of a bartending job unable to carry out that role.

Is there anything preventing the legislature from acting to regulate where this unnecessary act (smoking) takes place in order to protect the health of disabled but capable employees? No.

Regulation such as this is entirely appropriate. The rights of the worker, even a disabled one, over rule others' desire to smoke.
posted by NortonDC at 6:03 PM on March 31, 2003


I won't argue with shepd anymore, with the exception of this comment:

If it's anything like KW Ontario, hundreds. Maybe thousands. Smoking is too dangerous in a packed club so a lot of them didn't want to pay the higher insurance rates. Plus a lot of kids go there and they'd have a hard time with underage nights.

I have never been to KW Ontario. But apparently Seattle, and in most other cities I have visited or lived in, must be nothing like it.

I was attending shows for many years before I developed asthma, as a fan, a rock critic for several publications, and a musician. So, frequently, I was there for work purposes as well as fun. I don't recall a single show I attended in a club, in many years, that wasn't smoky. (And it bothered me a lot, then, even before the asthma -- I had much coughing and hacking, and bronchitis 3-4 times a year.)

Occasionally I would go to a show that was sparsely attended and it would be less smoky for that reason. But every single club in Seattle that hosted the music I wanted to see was and is a smoky club. The non-smoking bars here do have some music, but usually it is a genre I'm not into. (They tend to feature a lot of jazz and ethnic for some reason... not music I make a point of going to see. It's OK, just not what I really enjoy.) When one of my favorite bands comes to town, it's invariably to play the Crocodile or the Showbox, and those clubs are as smoky as can be.

The only non-smoking shows I've were shows held in other facilities such as schools, theaters, arenas, YMCAs, museums, etc. Oh! One exception, the bar at the Experience Music Project, which is non-smoking. I have seen a show there. But it is one venue, and shows I want to see there are few and far-between. In general the shows I want to see are the ones in the bars, because that's where the bands I enjoy tend to play. They don't come to town and play one show in a bar, one in a museum, etc. -- it's see them in a bar, or don't see them.

Regarding underage shows: In my experience, underage/all-ages shows are often very smoky, since cigarettes are legal at age 18 here (but we have to be 21 to drink). So there might be no alcohol, but there would be lots of smoke, unless the show was in one of the locations mentioned above.

I made what I thought was an innocuous, mild-mannered comment ('cause that's the kind of guy I generally am), and I get a snide, derisive response. These kinds of attitudes, and their increased prevalence, are making this site less and less fun.

Agreed. I may be expressing a strong opinion here, but I am trying to be mild-mannered about it. I am not ranting. I might be a bit wordy... and I understand that it's a frustrating topic, but I wish people would not let their tempers take over.

...second hand smoke is an unnecessary pollutant which, for health reasons, can render someone who is otherwise capable of performing the tasks required of a bartending job unable to carry out that role.

Not just bartenders. I used to be a rock critic and actually occasionally get paid for it. I can't do that anymore. I used to play in bands. I wish I still could. I can't do it anymore. The risk is too high. If there was a circuit of non-smoking bars where I could perform or watch shows I might still be doing both of those things, which I enjoyed very much.
posted by litlnemo at 6:18 PM on March 31, 2003


>Your statement of risk has been pretty malleable: "There are NO PROVEN RISKS. Not even little tiny stupid risks. NOTHING. ZIP. ZERO. NOTHING."

>Emphatic, absolute, and wrong.

If you want to ignore the facts, yes.

Since you have chosen to, I really don't know how to respond to you. You have turned this into dogma, so, just like trying to tell a Christian that Evolution is true, any further reiteration of the facts will simply lead to you spouting more dogma. I really have to give up here, I simply don't know what will change your mind if the opinions of medical doctors world wide aren't good enough for you.

>So, now that it seems we agree there are risks

Not to the non-disabled. Can you read? You know, I'd really appreciate it if you would read my first comment in this thread. I've not backpedalled since then, so it still stands.

>we face up to the larger picture: second hand smoke is an unnecessary pollutant which, for health reasons, can render someone who is otherwise capable of performing the tasks required of a bartending job unable to carry out that role.

A disabled person, who should be protected under the ADA, not some bullshit law that covers everyone.

Or do you not see that distinction? Do you believe people with diseases aren't disabled?

>Is there anything preventing the legislature from acting to regulate where this unnecessary act (smoking) takes place in order to protect the health of disabled but capable employees? No.

Its this thinking that leads to laws like NYCs "No carrying ice-cream cones in your pockets" law (fact! That is against the law in NYC!). It's just insultingly specious, backwards, and inane.

>Regulation such as this is entirely appropriate. The rights of the worker, even a disabled one, over rule others' desire to smoke.

Great. File an ADA claim. They'll make it law that in all places where there is a worker with an Asthma claim that smoking with (let's say) 50 ft. of them is illegal. Meaning his office will be smoke free, the elevator he uses will be smoke free, and the lobby will be too. This is just like how buildings are required to install elevators for physically disabled persons, but aren't required to remove the stairs.

Do you not see the distinction between an outright ban and a simple safety limit?

Oh, and, like I said, I'm allergic to people that stink. Therefore, although I'm not disabled, using your methodology, I have the right to an anti-stinking law. Agreed?
posted by shepd at 6:21 PM on March 31, 2003


>I used to be a rock critic and actually occasionally get paid for it. I can't do that anymore. I used to play in bands. I wish I still could. I can't do it anymore. The risk is too high.

TS? I had a boss that used to be a miner, but because of a back injury he couldn't do it anymore. The risk was too high. He didn't get a medal, or outlaw hard work because of it, though.

>Regarding underage shows: In my experience, underage/all-ages shows are often very smoky, since cigarettes are legal at age 18 here (but we have to be 21 to drink). So there might be no alcohol, but there would be lots of smoke, unless the show was in one of the locations mentioned above.

Sounds to me that the majority of the people going to those shows like to light up. Seems to me that's the choice of the majority of people there. You want to stop the majority from enjoying themselves? Isn't that the reverse argument to what you're defending?

>And it bothered me a lot, then, even before the asthma -- I had much coughing and hacking, and bronchitis 3-4 times a year.

And, the smoking gun: Did it recurr? Did the doctor diagnose it as SHS related? Has your doctor diagnosed you as completely rid of the disease?
posted by shepd at 6:26 PM on March 31, 2003


Shepd: I said I wasn't going to argue with you. It's unproductive. Have a nice day.

Everyone else: If an ADA claim was used to make bars accessible for asthmatics, I suspect the results would be similar to a blanket smoking ban. Any smoke in the bar would be a problem for asthmatics and others with respiratory problems unless the ventilation was amazing or the smoking section was completely isolated. (Even clubs with supposed "good ventilation" usually don't reach the standard that would be necessary, otherwise.) The club would have to make areas where the show could be viewed smoke-free. So there wouldn't be much difference, really.
posted by litlnemo at 6:39 PM on March 31, 2003


Sounds to me that the majority of the people going to those shows like to light up. Seems to me that's the choice of the majority of people there. You want to stop the majority from enjoying themselves? Isn't that the reverse argument to what you're defending?

Actually this is where your logic holds up least. It only takes a dozen or so smokers to fill up a poorly ventilated club with cigarette smoke.

I can guarantee you that far less that half of the people in clubs in Seattle smoke.
posted by aaronscool at 6:46 PM on March 31, 2003


>I said I wasn't going to argue with you. It's unproductive. Have a nice day.

Fine with me if you want to give up. Toodaloo!

>Actually this is where your logic holds up least. It only takes a dozen or so smokers to fill up a poorly ventilated club with cigarette smoke.

>I can guarantee you that far less that half of the people in clubs in Seattle smoke.

Which, that less than 12 people smoke in them, or that 12 people will fill a room with smoke?

If you don't like the smoke, and the other patrons don't, have you ever considered getting together and asking the manager to tell everyone to butt out? Have you tried it?

Maybe he wouldn't say yes right away -- he'd want to verify that only 12 customers would leave, and might want to verify that the effects are going to be as positive as I'm sure you'll suggest they are.

If he finds out what you suggest he will, well, he'd be a fool not to ban smoking and, honestly, do you really enjoy handing your money out to fools? Is it a good idea to make a fool rich?
posted by shepd at 6:54 PM on March 31, 2003


Shepd, I would love to argue with you, trust me. But I have learned when to quit.

I'm still participating in the thread; I'm just not going to argue with you, specifically, because you use false analogies, poor logic, etc.

Aaronscool, yes. It is a minority of the audience that smokes, but that is enough to make the air very smoky anyway. Most Seattle clubs are not well-ventilated at all.

It strikes me that a blanket smoking ban would be cheaper for most clubs than adding new ventilation, smoking rooms, etc. -- that is, if they don't lose business because of the ban. I think most of the time they won't, unless they are, say, very near a location that allows smoking. (No time to look up stats. I have to go run an errand in a few minutes.) So there is that benefit to a ban, if the choice is between a ban and major physical changes to the bar.

I don't care either way as long as I can breathe at a show. As long as whatever is done works. (I have been to clubs that supposedly had "great ventilation" and they were plenty smoky.) And as I have said, I don't have a problem with bars including smoking if they don't also have entertainment. Because I shouldn't be forced to breathe smoke to see a show. But I have plenty of smoke-free choices for food, drink, etc.

Theaters (at least around here) are regulated -- no smoking in a theater (fire risk), etc. As someone mentioned about 100 posts ago, the sanitariness of a restaurant is regulated. Air is part of that. It seems completely logical that the cleanliness of the air in a business serving the public would be subject to regulation. If not, then you logically have no grounds for many existing regulations.

And now I go to run my errand. Don't kill each other.
posted by litlnemo at 7:10 PM on March 31, 2003


I tended bar for years (in now smoke free Delaware), and when I talk to my old co-workers, their income has decreased. Where are all of you non-smokers to fill in the gap? Home?

Has it occurred to you or your former co-workers that their income is down because their patrons -- smokers and non-smokers alike -- have also faced reductions in disposable income? Maybe people aren't there spending their money because they don't have it to spend. Umemployment in the state did reach a five year peak in the last year, after all.
posted by Dreama at 9:28 PM on March 31, 2003


>It strikes me that a blanket smoking ban would be cheaper for most clubs than adding new ventilation, smoking rooms, etc. -- that is, if they don't lose business because of the ban. I think most of the time they won't, unless they are, say, very near a location that allows smoking. (No time to look up stats. I have to go run an errand in a few minutes.) So there is that benefit to a ban, if the choice is between a ban and major physical changes to the bar.

Okay, you want some different logic, alright. Try this on for size:

The redux of your argument is that you would trade the liberty of others for money.

How do I come to that conclusion? You would remove the right to smoke in a store because allowing them to smoke causes that store to spend more money than other stores.

>I don't care either way as long as I can breathe at a show.

Killing smokers would help do that, and provide many other places you can go without smoke. But nobody would advocate that because it is too extreme.

>And as I have said, I don't have a problem with bars including smoking if they don't also have entertainment.

So, as long as you don't go there, it's A-OK to smoke there. Do you see the error in that logic?

>Theaters (at least around here) are regulated -- no smoking in a theater (fire risk), etc. As someone mentioned about 100 posts ago, the sanitariness of a restaurant is regulated. Air is part of that. It seems completely logical that the cleanliness of the air in a business serving the public would be subject to regulation. If not, then you logically have no grounds for many existing regulations.

Yes, but these laws also apply to your local honey wagon renting store. But then again, I am assuming you exclude these places because I doubt you visit them.

>It seems completely logical that the cleanliness of the air in a business serving the public would be subject to regulation. If not, then you logically have no grounds for many existing regulations.

In that case I think we have a lot of businesses to shut down. Ever been to a factory? A farm? A demolition site? Most power plants? Let's freeze all production in the city because all of these produce less-than-hospital-quality air!

So, there you go. It is not logical to regulate the quality of air for all businesses. But I suppose, for you, it is logical to regulate the quality of air for just the businesses you patronize, heaven help them. Perhaps it would be even cheaper for them to simply not let you in in the first place?

>Has it occurred to you or your former co-workers that their income is down because their patrons -- smokers and non-smokers alike -- have also faced reductions in disposable income? Maybe people aren't there spending their money because they don't have it to spend. Umemployment in the state did reach a five year peak in the last year, after all.

No, because even the anti-smoking sites admit a 6.7% decrease in wealth as a result of anti-smoking legislation. This fact is immutable, should they want to keep their website up. The real truth is likely between the 30% and 6.7% pro/anti-smoking sites would offer.
posted by shepd at 10:38 PM on March 31, 2003


I've been sitting in my time-out box for a bit now, but thought I might add one other observation. I used to work in a bar/restaurant, and everybody that worked there smoked. Now, that's a small sample, but from my experience in other places, I would hazard a guess that at least 75% of the people working in restaurants, bars and clubs smoke.

The other thing that was touched on briefly by Dreama is that people working in bars and restaurants live off the tips they make. If less people go out because of the smoking ban, that means lost wages. I don't think people will stop going out altogether, but I can see a change in habits for smokers who do decide to have a night on the town. Instead of staying at one location and lingering over a few pints, patrons might decide to go on a "crawl", having a beer here and a beer there, smoking on the way to their next location. Unfortunately, waiters usually make more money on large groups of people spending a long time at one place than ordering a drink apiece and taking off.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:40 PM on March 31, 2003


Not to be a broken record but there really should be segregation. Listening to the people who have suffered due to smokers has only reinforced my view.

---
How about this proposal for a smoking law:

Any establishment which is not a bar shall be non-smoking. Any bar with public performances shall be non-smoking.

These would be the only public smoking areas:

A. A separated ventilated room where smokers may congregate.

B. A private club with annual membership fees not below $300.00.

C. An outdoor patio. A patio would be defined as an area without a ceiling, or, with a ceiling but no walls.
---

This way, people attending shows won't have to suffer.

Smokers will have plenty of places to go without bothering others. The private club would be clearly marked as a smoking establishment and, with a relatively high entry fee, this would not be a loophole for ordinary establishments. An arbitrary limit could be placed on the number of smoking private clubs.

If any of you non-smokers are in favour of a freedom which protects your lungs while protecting the rights of smokers, then a this sort of thing would be the ideal road map for future smoking restrictions.
posted by pandaharma at 10:43 PM on March 31, 2003


A couple of points:

You would remove the right to smoke in a store because allowing them to smoke causes that store to spend more money than other stores.

Why do you continue to suggest that there is a "right to smoke" in stores or anywhere else? It may well have been permitted, but that doesn't make it a right, any more than its a right to drink Sprite.

No, because even the anti-smoking sites admit a 6.7% decrease in wealth as a result of anti-smoking legislation.

Overall. That doesn't mean that the particular employees of the particular bar in question are losing money because of Delaware's smoking ban. There could be any number of explanations, from a change of Friday night entertainment to the reduction of the number of beers on tap to the loss of hummus as a bartender.
posted by Dreama at 11:48 PM on March 31, 2003


pandaharma, it's a nice sentiment, but all private club legislation does is cause it to be abused.

The store owners who want people to have the right to smoke at their store will simply make the private club membership fee into a gift certificate. Buy it and you can get $300 back whenever you want to redeem it. This is how badly society wants their rights -- they will be willing to do whatever it takes to get them back.

The facts are the people running the junta that creates these laws are the same prudes who would take away your right to read erotic literature or take away your right to look at nude ladies. But the minute someone says that we should stop distributing porno mags because there is a "proven link" (RR of, let's say 1.0001) between seeing porno and mudering people, you'd all go crazy saying that is a violation of civil rights.

I was hoping on Metafilter the support of civil rights went past the "You can have them as long as it doesn't bother me" mindset. I feel dissapointed to see the level support for this magnitude of curtailing of civil rights on Metafilter. :-(

Not to mention the fact that not a single person (apart from NortonDC) has even bothered to find me any evidence that shows doctors around the world do not agree that there is no proven link between smoking and lung cancer. Even NortonDCs evidence flys in the face of the fact that smoking protects children's lungs from cancer (God save me for saying that, but according to these studies, it's true). Andrew's attempt was nice, but these doctors are clearly confused, as they use stats that show there is no link to somehow say there is one, which makes no sense.

People of MeFi, if you believe lung cancer will be the result of SHS, simply find me a study that supports it. I'd be _very_ happy to see it, as I'd love to have a solid basis to outlaw smoking, but up to now, there isn't any, apart from using the ADA. And I refuse to curtail the civil rights of others just to avoid some personal inconvenience.
posted by shepd at 11:54 PM on March 31, 2003


>Why do you continue to suggest that there is a "right to smoke" in stores or anywhere else? It may well have been permitted, but that doesn't make it a right, any more than its a right to drink Sprite.

Okay, Dreama. You want me to make you look silly? If you insist...

Amendment V of the US Constitution.

No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

That pesky constitution making it a right to do anything that isn't illegal! Darn it! What are we going to do? It would just be so much easier if everything was illegal and the government told us what they wanted us to do. Shitty, ain't it, how the US can't be made into a dictatorship. Bummer.

Enjoy your right to drink Sprite! Remember how if it is diet it generates Formaldehyde in your body! [ Personally, I think we should outlaw diet sodas for this reason alone! ]

>Overall. That doesn't mean that the particular employees of the particular bar in question are losing money because of Delaware's smoking ban. There could be any number of explanations, from a change of Friday night entertainment to the reduction of the number of beers on tap to the loss of hummus as a bartender.

So you don't believe the 6.7% number that took a lot of scientists to discover? That's fine. Show me an alternate number that you aren't picking out of your head. The only other one is the 30% proffered by smoke producing compnies, and even I think that's off the deep end.
posted by shepd at 12:05 AM on April 1, 2003


I'm not opposed to that concept at all pandaharma. As much as shepd would have everyone believe that I and others are around to kill personal liberties I just don't want to have to be inundated with smoke when I go out. I certainly have not (nor have I in this thread) told people to make smoking illegal outright.

To shepd:
You have yet to prove to me that SHS does not cause lung cancer. I challenge you to find me one study that does this. The only thing the EPA and WHO studies suggest is that more study is needed before a final conclusion can be made. You have yet to also prove that SHS does not cause other respiratory illnesses that it has been linked to such as emphysema or asthma.

This is not about civil rights. This is about abusing other peoples personal space. Smoking is not an entirely personal matter, when you light up in an enclosed space you affect everyone in that space.

One other point of fact is that California's income from sales tax reciepts in bars and restaurants has risen since the ban of smoking started.
posted by aaronscool at 12:08 AM on April 1, 2003


Pandadharma, I haven't thought through the ramifications of your idea, but it's certainly worth some thought.

I am not for prohibition in any way. In fact, I support legalization of pot, etc. But that doesn't mean I support someone's so-called "right" to force me to ingest smoke, cigarette, cigar, pot, or whatever. As long as the smoke is not negatively affecting those around the smoker, it's not a problem. (So, in theory, if there were any smokeless cigarettes that people actually were willing to smoke, the problem would be solved.) I don't want or expect to control how people treat their own bodies, I just want to be able to protect mine without unreasonable restrictions.

So I certainly don't have problems with a system that would address the desires of both sides. It's just that, at the moment, no such workable system has emerged. It's clear that the current system isn't particularly workable, or there wouldn't be such a groundswell of support for smoking bans.

(whoa... on preview I just saw Metafilter's "new look." Very nice. It is the first, isn't it?)
posted by litlnemo at 1:07 AM on April 1, 2003


[ Personally, I think we should outlaw diet sodas for this reason alone! ]

So you're in favor of the "junta" (first time I've heard NYC government described that way) outlawing diet sodas but not cigarettes? I realize your statement was tongue-in-cheek, but that's a pretty big logic hole. (At least drinking diet soda doesn't irritate, cause asthma attacks, set off allergies, etc. for other people.)
posted by Vidiot at 4:11 AM on April 1, 2003


Anybody else wondering about the ages of the people posting here?
posted by NortonDC at 5:42 AM on April 1, 2003


I was hoping on Metafilter the support of civil rights went past the "You can have them as long as it doesn't bother me" mindset. I feel dissapointed to see the level support for this magnitude of curtailing of civil rights on Metafilter. :-(

how can you possibly conceive of smoking as a "civil right"? That's utterly preposterous. Smoking is a habit with negative side effects for the people around the smoker. Whether or not there's a connection between shs and death, no one can say that those around a smoker are not affected. I don't think anyone here would be supporting non-smoking areas if they were smoking smokeless cigarettes. It isn't about curtailing other people's enjoyment for the sake of it: it's about curtailing their curtailing of our enjoyment! What's more fundamental, the right to smoke or the right to breathe? People supporting this legislation have a greater case for "civil rights".

You say, breathe at home, and we can say, smoke at home. The only reason you feel you have a case is because you're supporting the status quo, what we're all used to. Once people become used to places being smoke-free environments, as we have generally adapted to smoke-free offices, subways, etc, smokeless bars will normal. Then maybe they can start up smoking clubs & separated rooms.

When I was in high school, we had a smoking area for students! Doesn't that seem weird now? But it was normal then, or even seemed a little puritan - that you had to go to the "smoker" to have a cigarette. Times change.
posted by mdn at 6:55 AM on April 1, 2003


No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

That pesky constitution making it a right to do anything that isn't illegal! Darn it! What are we going to do?


Let me suggest as step one that we actually read the document in question. It doesn't say what you think it says. It only says that before the state can deprive you of life (ie, execute you), or deprive you of liberty (ie, imprison you), or deprive you of property (ie, fine you or confiscate your stuff), you get a notionally fair trial.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2003


Public smoking ban slashes heart attacks
15:30 01 April 03
NewScientist.com news service
A six-month ban on smoking in all public places slashed the number of heart attacks in a US town by almost a half, a new study has revealed.

The researchers attribute the dramatic drop to the "near elimination" of harmful effects of "second-hand" smoke - passive smoking. A smoke-free environment also encourages smokers to reduce smoking or quit altogether, the team adds.

"This striking finding suggests that protecting people from toxins in second-hand smoke not only makes life more pleasant, it immediately starts saving lives," Glantz says. The researchers claim the study is the first to show that smoke-free policies rapidly reduce heart attacks, as well as having long-term benefits.

"This clearly shows the great need for controls on smoking in public places," says Amanda Sandford of UK pressure group Action on Smoking and Health. "Passive smoking is a killer. The public certainly underestimates the impact of passive smoking on the heart."

The study suggests that although second-hand smoke delivers only a small dose of harmful chemicals, it appears to have a very heavy impact on health. This paradox has puzzled scientists before, says Robert West, an expert on smoking cessation at St George's Medical School, London, "but there are now plausible mechanisms for this".

The risk of lung cancer rises steadily with the amount of tobacco a person smokes, he notes, but the risk of heart attack shows a non-linear relationship. Recent studies have shown "there is an immediate and acute effect of passive smoke exposure as a particulate pollutant," West told New Scientist.
</cough>
posted by NortonDC at 11:13 AM on April 1, 2003


Interesting. But I would like to see more details. On the surface it sounds like it could have been a fluke rather than a real change.

I wonder if the rate went back up when the smoking ban was rescinded?

NortonDC, to answer your previous question -- what are you getting at with the ages question? My age is not a secret, though, 37 (going on 23).
posted by litlnemo at 6:04 PM on April 1, 2003


That pesky constitution making it a right to do anything that isn't illegal!

And now that it's illegal, it's no longer a right. Thank you for doing my work for me.
posted by oaf at 7:26 PM on April 1, 2003


This whole "infringement on civil rights" argument is simply absurd. Every right can and does have its limits in the public arena. Rights are absolute only within the individual's own person and the environment immediately around them. (Personal space, as it were.)

As soon as the exercise of one's rights can have an impact (of any kind) on anyone else, they become limited -- either by social constraint (manners) or societal will (law). It is the heart of what a society is -- a group of people who choose to commonly designate what behaviors will and will not be tolerated. We codify these "rules of behavior" into law when necessary to serve the common good -- especially when the aim is an increase in public safety, public peace or public health.

We have, as a society, chosen to make these limits by statute so that the delineation between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is as clean and free from subjective interpretation as possible and disputes can be settled via due process in the courts. We limit public nudity and public sex, public drunkenness, public noise, we even limit the exercise of those rights which are specifically enumerated Constitutionally and considered so fundamental as to be nigh unto sacrosanct, such as the right to speak freely, or assemble, even peacefully.

Just because something is a right doesn't mean that it is an absolute, and that it can be pursued at any time, in any place and without restriction. That is a simple truth, whether we're speaking of yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre, or, now, creating a small fire in that same theatre in order to light a cigarette.
posted by Dreama at 7:27 PM on April 1, 2003


what are you getting at with the ages question?

The question springs from my assessment of the quality of reasoning and level of maturity evinced by certain participants.

I don't relish the idea of actual adults being that foolhardy.

And yes, I'm frequently disappointed in that regard.
posted by NortonDC at 7:46 PM on April 1, 2003


Smoking ban reduced heart attacks.
posted by adampsyche at 5:59 AM on April 2, 2003


the first reported death as a result of this law
posted by amberglow at 9:08 PM on April 13, 2003


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