Plans for English smoking ban under threat
October 26, 2005 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Labour Party charlies cock-up smoking ban plans. Despite years of very public debate on what seems like a fairly straightforward subject, it now looks like the UK government will be forced to rethink its plans to introduce a smoking ban in public places across England and Wales. Research in places where bans are in place all support the claims for health benefits, and the Scottish Parliament is taking the lead in the UK by introducing a total ban next year, so why can't the Labour Party make up its mind? If you're tired of waiting for the government to take action, this site lists smoke-free restaurants and hotels around the world.
posted by londonmark (121 comments total)

 
Dude, you're asking this to people who mostly live in a country where smoking anywhere you want is considered a fundamental right while health care is considered a consumer luxury. We're the last place to look for answers on this...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:59 AM on October 26, 2005


As a non-smoker who doesn't like smoke with his beer or dinner, I still don't get the point of this debate, or how it can be an issue for legislation at all.

If it's a private business where being a customer is optional, an innkeeper can allow or disallow whatever he damn well likes on his premises.

(of course this excludes public institutions, transport, etc.)
posted by uncle harold at 6:02 AM on October 26, 2005


These partial bans are ridiculous, they should just have the balls to ban it outright if that's what they want to do (and they seem to have worked grand in Ireland and NYC). Not every pub will have the capacity to build "sealed smoking rooms" so why risk putting them out of business?
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:06 AM on October 26, 2005


If it's a private business where being a customer is optional, an innkeeper can allow or disallow whatever he damn well likes on his premises.

Not sure about Europe but in America it has nothing to do with customers; it has to do with employees. If you're allowing conditions where workers are forced to make themselves sick (for example, inhaling second-hand smoke 8 hours a day) it doesn't matter if it's "private" or not. Restaurants are "privately owned" as well and customers can choose to eat there or not; that doesn't mean the owners can choose whether or not their food meets health code standards, nor does it mean the boss can abuse his workers.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:07 AM on October 26, 2005


If it's a private business where being a customer is optional, an innkeeper can allow or disallow whatever he damn well likes on his premises.

... until the workers get sick and sue/claim worker's comp.
posted by docgonzo at 6:07 AM on October 26, 2005


The future of pleasure.
posted by Acey at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2005


It really hasn't worked great here in NY--at all. (and i can dig up many many class-related articles and columns about how it's routinely flouted by VIPs and famous people, including parties that the Mayor attended)

They say it has to do with employees but it really doesn't. There was never proof shown that it actually made employees sicker (and many bar employees smoke themselves to begin with). And it is bad for business. (and one more thing--which doesn't count for countries with nat'l health--not one person or govt. official or organization fighting against smoking has ever done anything about mandating health insurance for those workers whose health they were so terriblly concerned about during the campaigns to ban--nor have they done so since)
posted by amberglow at 6:22 AM on October 26, 2005


ok ok, ban smoking in public, legalize weed and let everyone enjoy smoking both in the comfort of their own home.
posted by Billistics at 6:23 AM on October 26, 2005


I'm loving the smoke free bars and restaurants in the US. You don't notice how refreshing the air quality is in the States, even in crowded cities like NYC, until you go back to European cites and can't escape the constant haze of exhaust and cigarettes everywhere. Europeans demand that the US adopt tougher polution standards and yet I can't gasp a breath of fresh air until I reach the States. Go figure. Europeans, do yourselves a favor, ban smoking in public buildings.
posted by StarForce5 at 6:29 AM on October 26, 2005


The future of pleasure

Funny, but the drinking and porn are different than smoking. Both pornography & drinking have demonstrable health benefits and can be enjoyed in moderation without causing long term (or even short term) harm to the user.

Pornography of course brings along with it some sticky (no pun intended, sorry) social problems--for example questions about exploitation of women, labor practices and safety etc.--but can at least theoretically be a harmless enterprise.

But smoking is bad for you. Any potential health benefit (for example the proposed anti-depressant properties of nicotine) is overridden by how much damage even a small smoking habit can do to your body.

Sorry to ride your comment for a silly cartoon, but all so-called vices are not created equal. Porn & Booze > Cigarettes =)
posted by illovich at 6:31 AM on October 26, 2005


The NYC smoking ban worked out pretty well... for Hoboken.

And, as has already been pointed out, it's largely unenforced, especially in clubs; people there can often be seen puffing away.
posted by clevershark at 6:33 AM on October 26, 2005


Not every pub will have the capacity to build "sealed smoking rooms"

Here in Ontario, Canada we had a partial ban for a while - many proprieters (the Tim Horton's coffee shop chain in particular) went to great expense to add glassed in seperately ventilated smoking rooms to some of their establishments.
Then the total ban was put into place and all that expense was for naught.

There was never proof shown that it actually made employees sicker

Sorry, not true.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:37 AM on October 26, 2005


"and they seem to have worked grand in Ireland and NYC"

According to a chap on the radio this morning 10% of Irish pubs have closed and the rest have lost 30% of their customers to the "take home" market.

I'm guessing he was against the ban though.
posted by Auz at 6:38 AM on October 26, 2005


the constant haze of exhaust

Ban cars! now that's something that's doable, non controversial and will definitely improve quality of air. (Only one of these things is true, sadly.)
posted by funambulist at 6:50 AM on October 26, 2005


But smoking is bad for you. Any potential health benefit (for example the proposed anti-depressant properties of nicotine) is overridden by how much damage even a small smoking habit can do to your body.

Eating donuts is bad for you. Should they be banned as well? Comments like illovich's show that the real agenda of these people pushing smoke-free environment really to ban tobacco all together. They want to tell you what is good for you. Sorry, you can not decide for yourself. The nanny state will make decisions on your behalf as you can't be trusted.
posted by caddis at 6:56 AM on October 26, 2005


Boston has a smoking ban too (won't anyone ever think of Boston?) and unlike NYC, it's rarely violated. It's also had little detrimental effect on businesses.
posted by nev at 7:22 AM on October 26, 2005


Eating donuts is bad for you. Should they be banned as well?

I'm a smoker who believes in choice and i hate to see this move towards 'the nanny' state. But that statement is so wrong it puts us in bad light.

Rather I'd like to see petrol banned as the fumes are bad for pedestrians health. How about power stations - not only do they have an adverse effect on employees but also in people living in the surrounding area.
posted by twistedonion at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2005


Oh, and I'd like to ban obnoxious clients. they are sooo bad for my health.
posted by twistedonion at 8:28 AM on October 26, 2005


And, as has already been pointed out, it's largely unenforced, especially in clubs; people there can often be seen puffing away.

Come on, that's bogus logic. It is largely enforced (and a good thing, IMO- even my smoker g/f likes it). Yeah, some clubs and a few stray bars ignore it, but the vast majority of businesses abide by it.

Comments like illovich's show that the real agenda of these people pushing smoke-free environment really to ban tobacco all together.

Speaking of bogus logic...
posted by mkultra at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2005


After living in California a year, and the town I moved to in Arkansas passing its own smoking ban, I only hope the rest of the country follows suite. I've always had an allergic reaction to cigarette smoke and for as much as we've had "non smoking" and "smoking," every trip to a restaurant has almost always included that lovely stench accompanying my meals.

Eating donuts is bad for you. Should they be banned as well? Comments like illovich's show that the real agenda of these people pushing smoke-free environment really to ban tobacco all together.


Smoke five packs a day in your house, s'fine with me. I'll pony up my part of your future medical bill. Just don't do it in my face or while I'm eating my meal.
posted by Atreides at 8:30 AM on October 26, 2005


caddis, donuts may be bad for you, but no matter how many of them you eat in my vicinity, it's not bad for me.

The supporters of smoking in public places seem to argue that they should be allowed to do whatever they please to themselves. This is fair enough. But should you be allowed to pollute my immediate environment in a manner that I can't control?
posted by quiet at 8:30 AM on October 26, 2005


According to a chap on the radio this morning 10% of Irish pubs have closed and the rest have lost 30% of their customers to the "take home" market.
I wonder where this statistic comes from? From here in Dublin it sounds more than a little high. I could be convinced that there was some economic impact, but this sounds over the top to me.

Some figures from a group opposed to the smoking ban in Ireland claim that sales were down 16% in Dublin, and down by 20-30% outside Dublin (that's quite a spread, and they don't seem to link to the raw data).


posted by gds at 8:30 AM on October 26, 2005


They say it has to do with employees but it really doesn't. There was never proof shown that it actually made employees sicker (and many bar employees smoke themselves to begin with).

You must be a smoker amberglow. It IS a matter of employee health. If any other business exposed it's employees - as a condition of employment - to the chemicals found in cigarette smoke, OSHA would be all over them. And rightfully so.

There has been a ban here in Sweden since June and for us nonsmokers, it's been great. To be able to go out for a pint and not come home stinking of other people's smoke makes me feel like MY RIGHTS are finally being respected.

Bad for business? So was banning asbestos.
posted by three blind mice at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2005


I really don't think there's any hidden agenda to smoking bans. I'm an ex-smoker in favour of the ban, but I would never want to see cigarettes prohibited. But I think it's only fair that workers should be protected from environmental smoke. I'm also one of those selfish people who likes pubs but hates sitting in smog, eyes watering, clothes sucking up the stench, so the idea of a partial ban, with separate rooms for smokers, seems like an ideal compromise to me. I really don't see the problem.

I also don't buy the scare stories from Ireland about the decline in sales and loss of jobs. The BMA website reports that sales in Irish pubs fell more than twice as much the year before the ban that the year of the ban. It seems like the Irish beer industry has a bigger problem than smoking.
posted by londonmark at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2005


Dude, you're asking this to people who mostly live in a country where smoking anywhere you want is considered a fundamental right...

Are you referring to the US? I assume so because of the health care dig, but I doubt any smoker would agree that you can smoke anywhere you want.
posted by smackfu at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2005


But should you be allowed to pollute my immediate environment in a manner that I can't control?

Again, should you be allowed to pollute my environment in your car?

btw, I drive also (and you may not, but you get my point).

I just think banning everything is crazy crazy. Society should be able to sort out these essentially social issues without resorting to laws.
posted by twistedonion at 8:33 AM on October 26, 2005


Vancouver's smoking ban has been incredibly successful. People still smoke, and have little trouble doing so, but there really are few violations of the ban and everyone's a lot happier and healthier for it. Though we have the lowest smoking rate in Canada, anyway:

2003, percentage of population over age 15 who smoke:
Newfoundland 23%
Prince Edward Island 23%
Nova Scotia 22%
New Brunswick 24%
Quebec 23%
Ontario 19%
Manitoba 21%
Saskatchewan 21%
Alberta 21 %
British Columbia 16%
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:34 AM on October 26, 2005


Smoking ban in NYC? Heh. At it has managed to do is make smoking glamorous again.

As soon as midnight rolls around at any place worth going, everyone lights up. 'Smokeasies' are the hippiest places in the city now...
posted by solipse at 8:37 AM on October 26, 2005


londonmark: The smoking was really the straw that broke the camels back on drinking in Ireland. It became far too expensive and unpleasant years ago, but the culture of drinking was a hard one to break.

The smoking ban had the effect of making people think about what they were doing, I think. We were being charged 5 euro a pint, or 3.50 for a coke, to sit in a dingy room surrounded by people who looked a lot less attractive if they weren't wreathed in smoke and viewed through beer goggles.

It's not surprising that people thought 'fuck that, it's too expensive'. Mind you, I still go to the pub anyway, but that's my take.
posted by Swandive at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2005


I'm loving the smoke free bars and restaurants in the US.

You obviously have not made to to Pennsylvania. You're pretty much lucky if a restaurant has a non-smoking section here. Everybody seems to smoke everywhere, I've never encountered a non-smoking bar. My favorite is people smoking in bus shelters giving you the choice of dealing with the second-hand smoke or standing in the rain to wait for the bus.
posted by octothorpe at 8:41 AM on October 26, 2005


I just think banning everything is crazy crazy. Society should be able to sort out these essentially social issues without resorting to laws.

That's the problem, though, we can't. We've got millions of people hooked on a drug that's been tweaked to the height of hookability by its makers. That's a problem with a lot of weight behind it. We should be taxing cigarettes to hell and back, in order to bring those numbers down -- some would say we already do, but the existing taxes are just peanuts to what we need to be doing.

Whatever we do to solve the problem in the long term, though (and suing a few big cigarette companies isn't the half of what needs to be done), right now we have a big health problem for those who DON'T smoke.

Non-smokers have had to inhale the refuse of smokers ever since smoking became such a big deal. How about smokers get to inhale our non-smoke for a while? If it's such a huge rights issue, then obviously the pendulum will swing back the other way, right? The ACLU will get involved in every smoking ban attempt, and the weight of public opinion will settle the issue somewhere in the middle.

But in Washington State, at least, on November 8, we get a chance to put a ban in place. I, for one, can't wait until it goes into effect. If it's short-lived, if society really wants to smoke that much, then at least I'll have had some breathing room.
posted by gurple at 8:43 AM on October 26, 2005


The ACLU will get involved in every smoking ban attempt

Sorry, every American ban attempt. I realize I'm a bit off-topic....
posted by gurple at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2005


That's the problem, though, we can't.

Yes we can. Make it illegal for tobacco companies to tweak tobacco and add all those insane chemicals. Tax us more. refuse free health care if we are diagnosed with a smoking related illness.

I rarely light up in a restaurant. If people around me aren't smokers then I won't smoke.

At the end of the day, if I want to socialise with a few smoking friends, over a nice cup of coffee, establishments should have the right to set up and serve me and my smoking friends. As for the employees, only employ smokers!

I see no issue with that, why can't non-smokers.
posted by twistedonion at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2005


In Vancouver you can't smoke in bars or restaurants. Some places have sealed-in and ventilated smoking areas, which are dismal. But in most places it's great: you go outside for a smoke and meet interesting people you'd never chat with if you were sitting at the bar or a table.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2005


when they put the smoking ban in place in san francisco a while back, there was such at outcry before it happened...and then after it happened--outside maybe a brief time of implementation/enforcement--not so much as a whimper...i smoke socially--a few cigarettes when i go to concerts, a smoke or two on the front porch when smoking friends are staying with us...but can go months without wanting one...(hmm, like in those commercials where they harrass you for saying you're not a smoker)...

anyway, even my most smoking friends were not only not bothered by the ban, but it had a couple neat side effects: (1) less hangover for everybody! really (and people who travel to non-ban places really notice this as well--particularly musicians), when you are in a smoking establishment all night, you can wake up the next morning feeling quite a bit worse than otherwise (depending on how much you've had to drink, of course--and, again, even smokers say they feel better the next morning), and (2) going outside to smoke creates a social dynamic that can be fun...with most groups i hang out with, you'll have a few smokers who go off onto little smoking journeys throughout the night...it mixes things up a bit...it facilitates the spread of juicy gossip...my partner doesn't get sick of me because we're not with each other every moment...you can meet interesting people who need a light, and it's easier to talk because you're not inside...even some nonsmokers will join the smokers outside!

sure, there are always people who are bothered by it...the lonely smokers in particular, i guess...and sometimes weather isn't your friend...but overall people i know--smokers and non--are pretty happy with the arrangement...
posted by troybob at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2005


troybob: great minds... (although you expressed the idea far more eloquently than I did)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:55 AM on October 26, 2005


As for the employees, only employ smokers!

I'm having trouble figuring out if that's a straw-man argument and you're actually in favor of a smoking ban, or not. Please clarify.
posted by gurple at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2005


should you be allowed to pollute my environment in your car?

Not if that environment is closed in, like a public garage. And I believe leaving your car idling in such a place repeatedly for 10 minute stretches, along with dozens of others, would cause quite a stir with the attendant.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:00 AM on October 26, 2005


Eating donuts is bad for you. Should they be banned as well? Comments like illovich's show that the real agenda of these people pushing smoke-free environment really to ban tobacco all together.

Well, I totally support smoking bans in bars. I don't want to have to air-out my clothes for a day after going to the bars. Smoking reeks, while the long-term effects of a little second hand smoke aren’t too bad, it's still annoying.

I think most people who support smoking bans just don't like cigarette smoke and don't want it done around them.

Doughnuts are not bad for you in proper moderation. Your body needs sugar. Cigarettes are not good for you even with any moderation.
posted by delmoi at 9:03 AM on October 26, 2005


Cars don't smell nearly as bad as smokes.
posted by delmoi at 9:03 AM on October 26, 2005


I'm having trouble figuring out if that's a straw-man argument and you're actually in favor of a smoking ban, or not. Please clarify.

All I really want is not to be treated like a child. Of course it is irresponsible to harm the health of others.

But if a business wishes to provide a service whereby people can harm their own health as well as the health of those consenting adults (including employees) around them - why should it be stopped?
posted by twistedonion at 9:08 AM on October 26, 2005


Labour Party charlies cock-up smoking ban plans.

Could somone please translate this into English?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:10 AM on October 26, 2005


So, no, I'm not in favour of an total ban. I believe the establishment itself should decide. And should inform potential employees of it's stance. We're all grown ups.
posted by twistedonion at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2005


But if a business wishes to provide a service whereby people can harm their own health as well as the health of those consenting adults (including employees) around them - why should it be stopped?

There's an equal-opportunity employment issue there. You can't operate a business in which only smokers are invited to apply for employment, at least as I understand the American laws. Not smoking doesn't interfere with a person's ability to create and serve tasty food. Also, what three blind mice said above.

That's not the only issue, though. You're advocating the status quo as far as smoking regulation (though you seem to agree with me about the longer-term solutions to the problem involving taxation and suchlike). The status quo creates a big public health problem in a lot of areas in the form of unavoidable secondhand smoke. Sure, in Seattle I can find a number of non-smoking restaurants (and even a few bars) and avoid the ones that allow smoking -- and I do, for the most part. Other parts of the country, though, are a lot more hazardous.
posted by gurple at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2005


I feel sorry for the poor employees who have started working in pubs, only to be hit by an amazing revelation. "Bugger me there are people smoking in here!"

There should be smoking and non smoking bars. Let the market decide.
posted by cassbrown1 at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2005


He downed his third cionsecutive shot and exclaimed, "Your cigarettes are killing me!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2005


As and ex-smoker, I can see both sides of the argument. In the bar that I work in we banned smoking last week (due to a new state law). I feel bad for my smoking friends but I also like the clean air a lot. I don't feel that a total ban is the way to go (I'm not talking about the bar I work in, as that's covered by a separate law due to location). I can't see why some places can't apply for a special license to allow smoking. Maybe there are legal implications for this which mean that only a total ban will do. Anyone?
posted by ob at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2005


I've always kind of wondered... what would happen to me if I carried around a little misting bottle filled with a liquid that contained a bunch of carcinogens and smelled like ass, and started spraying it around in restaurants. If I were thrown out, and I sued, would I have a case?
posted by gurple at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2005


I've always kind of wondered... what would happen to me if I carried around a little misting bottle filled with a liquid that contained a bunch of carcinogens and smelled like ass, and started spraying it around in restaurants. If I were thrown out, and I sued, would I have a case?

I love that! Great point. I think that it's the owners right to decide who they want in their restaurant?

They would be equally within their rights to throw out someone with a huge Cuban who stank the place out more than they were willing to tolerate?
posted by twistedonion at 9:26 AM on October 26, 2005


I love that! Great point. I think that it's the owners right to decide who they want in their restaurant?

Heh, yeah, I went overboard and got silly, and that didn't really add to my argument at all.

It didn't take away from it, either, though. There ought to be a law that prevents me from whipping out such a mister and spraying everyone in carcinogens in a place that's open to the public. Employees shouldn't be forced to work in a place where people who carry around little carcinogenic, ass-smelling misters are allowed, and potential employees who don't want to work in a place where such nonsense is allowed shouldn't be discriminated against in the job market.
posted by gurple at 9:34 AM on October 26, 2005


and potential employees who don't want to work in a place where such nonsense is allowed shouldn't be discriminated against in the job market

That's the only point were we disagree. I say they aren't being discriminated against. If they choose not to work there, fine. If it's really the only job they can find, than that's unfortunate but at the end of the day they decide.
posted by twistedonion at 9:38 AM on October 26, 2005


They would be equally within their rights to throw out someone with a huge Cuban who stank the place out more than they were willing to tolerate?

I think Cubans are actually very clean people and tend to be on the small side.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:44 AM on October 26, 2005


Let the market decide.

I think the market has decided. Allowing smoking is more profitable, so bars that voluntarily ban smoking are few and far between.
posted by cloeburner at 9:44 AM on October 26, 2005


I am a smoker and would like to see smoking completely banned. I don't give a fuck if it's "nanny state interference", it's the only way I can damn well give up...
posted by longbaugh at 9:47 AM on October 26, 2005


That's the only point were we disagree. I say they aren't being discriminated against.

Well, I've never waited tables or tended bar, but some of my friends have. My understanding is that, in most places around the country, it's not too difficult to get _a job_, and you will generally have a few places to choose from; in a lot of areas that STILL means that all of your options will be smoking places, and in other areas that's not the case.

But finding a job where the hours are consistent (which is especially important if you're a parent), and there are enough of them, is a completely different ballgame. Most places, the market is tight enough that you take what you can get.

Should these people be forced to choose between their health and having a job? Should they be forced to move into a different line of work? What if waiting tables or tending bar is their only current marketable skill, should they have to go into mounds of debt to acquire another one?

I don't think so, and I think that's where we disagree. I can see your side of it... there IS a choice involved. But I think a lot of times it's a Hobson's choice.

One thing about a smoking ban, though, I feel damn sorry for Alcoholics Anonymous groups in places where bans are in effect. Having hung out with friends in AA a time or two, I can't imagine how they'd get by if they couldn't sit around in coffee shops and smoke.
posted by gurple at 9:49 AM on October 26, 2005


Labour Party charlies cock-up smoking ban plans.
Could somone please translate this into English?


Problem isn't that it's not in English... it's that the English is too.. um... English!

Charlie = an idiot, a fool (in this case squabbling Labour Cabinet members)

Cock-up = a bad mistake, a huge error (in this case infighting to the point where they can't agree about their own policy)
posted by stumcg at 9:58 AM on October 26, 2005


Let the market decide

If we always followed that principle we'd still be driving deathtraps with solid steel dashboards, no seat belts, single piston all-drum brakes, plain old window glass, and rigid steel frames that meant the crumple zone was the car in front of you.
The increase in road traffic and the advent of high speed expressways meant the goverment had to get involved in automobile design - the consumers just didn't seem to care.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:59 AM on October 26, 2005


"and they seem to have worked grand in Ireland and NYC"

According to a chap on the radio this morning 10% of Irish pubs have closed and the rest have lost 30% of their customers to the "take home" market.


I find this really, really hard to believe. All the places I go to when I'm home have as many customers as ever. And what's the suggestion, people are deciding not to go for a pint so they can stay home and light up? Sorry, don't buy it.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:12 AM on October 26, 2005


Bars have lost business all over NYS, so why wouldn't they have in Ireland too? When people have to go in and out to smoke, they sell less booze as well.

Not giving an option to owners like a special license is idiotic.

Not giving nor agitating or lobbying for bar and restaurant workers' health insurance makes all the arguments about worker health into complete lies. It's just like the utter disregard pro-life people show those children already born.
posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on October 26, 2005


Speaking of cars, all of the antismoke people posting here had better not own cars. As a pedestrian I am forced to breathe their cancerous spew on a daily basis, and I have no doubt it is affecting my life expectancy negatively. If you doubt me, please, come to NYC and stand on a street corner during rush hour. Breathe deeply as you watch workmen clean layers of black grime from the buildings around you.

Of course I could move away from cities, and thus greatly reduce the pollution ppms I inhale, but I'd much rather have the government legislate a total ban on private traffic in populous areas.

I support the ban of smoke in all its forms -- not just the smallest and least-significant kind of it.
posted by solipse at 10:41 AM on October 26, 2005


Not giving an option to owners like a special license is idiotic.

That's what Utah does for booze. All booze places have to be private clubs. Result: a huge (as in dominating) number of bars have their special license and sell one-day "private club memberships" which boil down to a cover charge. End result: basically the same situation as without the rule, except now bars have cover charges.

How would the licenses be regulated? How many could be handed out? Seattle, for instance, only allows exactly five strip clubs to operate in the city limits. Should there be exactly five places allowed to have smoking? How is that fair to the businesses that don't get in line for a license fast enough? It has to be all-or-nothing in order to create an even economic playing field for businesses.

Not giving nor agitating or lobbying for bar and restaurant workers' health insurance makes all the arguments about worker health into complete lies. It's just like the utter disregard pro-life people show those children already born.

Why in the world did you think it was necessary to compare smoking ban advocates with pro-lifers? Perhaps you'd like to go ahead and Godwin out, while you're at it? Come on, wouldn't I look great in a little moustache?

Just because a motivation (e.g., workers' health) isn't one's ONLY motivation, doesn't mean it isn't part of a valid argument.
posted by gurple at 10:42 AM on October 26, 2005


I find the idea of the Health and Safety Executive kicking down doors of dodgy boozers in Bethnal Green and slapping fines on all the old crims having a fag really quite amusing.

It looks like the ban won't apply to clubs or pubs that don't serve food. Expect to see the overnight disappearance of average Thai food from pubs all over the country (this is a good thing). And what exactly constitutes a 'club' anyway? I get the feeling that this ban will be trivially easy to work around.
posted by influx at 10:45 AM on October 26, 2005


Employees shouldn't be forced to work in a place where people who carry around little carcinogenic, ass-smelling misters are allowed, and potential employees who don't want to work in a place where such nonsense is allowed shouldn't be discriminated against in the job market.

I am not a smoker, but it seems to me that such a distinction is not much different that whatever it is that makes a stripclub legal. In my office no one could get away with requiring the women to remove their clothing. Would a strip club be discriminating if they refused to hire women not willing to get naked and dance with a pole?
posted by thirteen at 11:00 AM on October 26, 2005


I am not a smoker, but it seems to me that such a distinction is not much different that whatever it is that makes a stripclub legal.

Stripclubs may or may not have all kinds of spillover effects in terms of perception of women in society and blah blah blah, but strippers don't get cancer from poles. That I know of.
posted by gurple at 11:05 AM on October 26, 2005


check out this link. Quick question to all those in favor of a ban, did you do any research on second hand smoke or are you simply regeritating information that you simply accept without questioning from a source that may not be so trust worthy.
posted by hexxed at 11:10 AM on October 26, 2005


all of the antismoke people posting here had better not own cars.

I think most restaurants and bars already make you leave your motor vehicles outside.
posted by sfenders at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2005


check out this link.

I invite you to consider the source. Note that that site ALSO godwins out in big letters on their main page.

It's my view that those who don't believe that secondhand smoke causes health problems, and try to find fringe studies to validate their view, are grasping at straws to feel better about their viewpoint. Likely you feel the same way about my position. :) In my view, the issue of harm of secondhand smoke was settled a long time ago and doesn't really bear digging up. In your view, that's complacency on my part.
posted by gurple at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2005


Yes, but the city streets are like, one very large restaurant.
posted by solipse at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2005


The complete restaurant, pub, bar and public building ban where I live has been a big success with even most smokers preferring it. Business is up in bars because it is a nicer atmosphere and you dont end up smelling like fug. Employees love it. In 10 years people will look back on this issue like we look back on London pea soup (read killing smog).

British pubs are a overwhelmingly giant chains of stinking corporatist bullshit, are mostly stinky and smokey, filled with whistling blinking gambling machines, and surrounded by louts puking their guts out after last orders, looking for a fight. If ever there was a set of stables looking to be cleansed, thats it. A smoking ban should be just the beginning.

On preview: hexxed, as if thats a credible source of information.
posted by Rumple at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2005


There's an equal-opportunity employment issue there. You can't operate a business in which only smokers are invited to apply for employment, at least as I understand the American laws.

You're mistaken. Equal opportunity laws only prohibit discrimination based on a few, specific categories: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disabled status, or age (between 40 and 70) in federal law; some states and localities add additional categories, but they're explicitly spelled out. There's no blanket prohibition anywhere against discrimination regardless of the basis, and I'm not aware of anyplace in the U.S. where smoking status is a protected category. In fact, I've seen places that refuse to hire tobacco users; presumably, a place could hire only smokers if they wanted to.

But if a business wishes to provide a service whereby people can harm their own health as well as the health of those consenting adults (including employees) around them - why should it be stopped?

That's certainly the principled libertarian argument. But the same argument applies to any workplace safety laws--if a person doesn't want to breathe too much asbestos powder, they can always quit and find a job somewhere else! Do you support the repeal of all workplace safety laws? If not, what is the difference between other workplace safety laws and smoking bans? OTOH, if you do support their repeal, then your position is at least consistent, but you will find yourself in a very very small minority.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:16 AM on October 26, 2005



Stripclubs may or may not have all kinds of spillover effects in terms of perception of women in society and blah blah blah, but strippers don't get cancer from poles. That I know of.


Yeah, but that is not what I was saying. A bar hiring people who smoke is self selecting the same way a club hiring women who strip is.
posted by thirteen at 11:17 AM on October 26, 2005


Yeah, but that is not what I was saying. A bar hiring people who smoke is self selecting the same way a club hiring women who strip is.

Well, you were responding to a comment of mine in which I was defending people who "don't want to work in a place where" carcinogens are tossed about in the air. There I was referring to the work safety issue, rather than the hiring-smokers-vs.-non-smokers issue, which, as DevilsAdvocate points out, doesn't have a lot of legal wind in its sails.
posted by gurple at 11:27 AM on October 26, 2005


Court Rules Against EPA on Secondhand Smoke
posted by hexxed at 11:29 AM on October 26, 2005


In 10 years people will look back on this issue like we look back on London pea soup (read killing smog).

Hear, hear Rumple. You don't hear the airlines or smokers whining about "lost business" or "smoker's rights" because you can't smoke in airplanes. Non-smoking is the future folks. Get over it.
posted by three blind mice at 11:30 AM on October 26, 2005


From your link, hexxed: However one feels about the personal hazards of smoking, this ruling is a victory for science and against what Judge Robert Bork has called "authoritarian regulation propelled by moral intimidation."

I'm really quite happy not being on the same side of this issue as Robert Bork. You link comes from an organization that doesn't believe that Global Warming is real. Do you have any more mainstream sources?
posted by gurple at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2005


c/You link/Your link
posted by gurple at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2005


Oh, I guess I should pony up at least one, myself. But it's easy for me, because the first three Google hits supporting the idea that secondhand smoke is dangerous come from very reputable sources.
posted by gurple at 11:38 AM on October 26, 2005


(well, I'm considering the EPA reputable in this limited sense, even though they suck in a lot of ways; I guess that's probably unfair)
posted by gurple at 11:39 AM on October 26, 2005


Not giving nor agitating or lobbying for bar and restaurant workers' health insurance makes all the arguments about worker health into complete lies.

You don't need to rely on worker health as a justification. We can ban smoking in a restaurant or bar for the same reason that we can ban people from pissing all over my table, food, and clothes in a restaurant or bar: even if it's basically harmless, it's something sufficiently disgusting and smelly that I shouldn't have to put up with it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:46 AM on October 26, 2005


Where is all this evidence that second hand smoke kills people? Can someone show it to me? Can anyone name three people who have died from second hand smoke, and been medically proven to do so?
posted by zerolives at 11:47 AM on October 26, 2005


zerolives, I have a few links up above from decent sources that discuss the dangers of secondhand smoke. The Lung Association link, in particular, asserts that "Secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year" and cites a California study. Maybe you have reasons to believe that these claims are spurious?
posted by gurple at 11:51 AM on October 26, 2005


Here in New Zealand our recent smoking ban has led to "garage bars", ie unlicensed amateur pubs set up in garages or sheds. Like speakeasies for nicotine addicts.

The police are not happy about this (they don't like unlicensed drinking, it's hard to monitor) and interestingly, the legit liquor trade are really pissed off, because they're losing custom at the same time that they have costs for enforcing the ban.

It seems to be most problematic in rural and working class areas.

Personally I love smoke-free venues, but I am in two minds about the civil liberty part of it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:54 AM on October 26, 2005


Oh, I guess I should pony up at least one, myself. But it's easy for me, because the first three Google hits supporting the idea that secondhand smoke is dangerous come from very reputable sources.

The data....

Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer and heart disease in adults who do not smoke. EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers.

This is is from the same EPA finding that the court rulled agenst. I am trying to find link that says second hand smoke kills that is not in some way related to the same EPA rulling. Help is welcome
posted by hexxed at 11:55 AM on October 26, 2005


I think the real reason behind smoking bans is some people are afraid of an open flame near their cloud of eye-watering perfume.

As long as we're legislating against offensive habits, let's get that one in there too.

/lighting up
posted by davelog at 12:01 PM on October 26, 2005


Both the EPA report and the WHO report (both of which are the primary sources for anti-smoking groups) have long been discredited. FORCES has lots of information, so does Straight Dope (who is allergic to smoke, even), as well as Consumer Alert, NY Daily News (July 23rd 1998), and freedom-lover Dave Hitt.
posted by zerolives at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2005


Court Rules Against EPA on Secondhand Smoke

I wonder why is the U.S. the mainstay of resistance to smoking restrictions? Either they are above all other countries a beacon of civil liberties or their government is too easily influenced by corporate lobbying (guns, tobacco).
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:04 PM on October 26, 2005


It should be noted that the proposals may well change during their passage through Parliament. The (Labour) chair of the Health Select Committee said he wanted a full ban, and even the Tories are not going down a "Labour's war on the smoker" line.

It could be that back benchers (or members of the Lords, where there are a number of influential scientists and doctors) go and put the complete ban right back in. And with the Cabinet clearly split, the Government might not even mind so much.

Anyone for a free vote? If there was one on banning hunts, why not one on banning tabs?
posted by athenian at 12:05 PM on October 26, 2005


I am trying to find link that says second hand smoke kills that is not in some way related to the same EPA rulling. Help is welcome

no-smoke.org has a bunch of info. Naturally they have somewhat of an anti-smoking bias.... :)
posted by gurple at 12:05 PM on October 26, 2005


Actually, CK, there's just as much money coming in on the other side. Sorry.
posted by zerolives at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2005


zerolives, it's not like everyone depends on those two studies. There's lots of supporting evidence at this British Medical Association-linked site, all of which appears to be British or European in origin.
posted by athenian at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2005


I meant "European". We Brits are, of course, Europeans.
posted by athenian at 12:12 PM on October 26, 2005


athenian, those all seem to be shocking titles of reports with nothing backing them up. I cannot seem to open any of the reports themselves.
posted by zerolives at 12:18 PM on October 26, 2005


No, but they're all published in peer-reviewed journals (which I guess you'd have to pay for). I was just trying to show that there aren't only two pieces of research that the anti-passive-smoking lobby base their work on.
posted by athenian at 12:24 PM on October 26, 2005


British pubs are a overwhelmingly giant chains of stinking corporatist bullshit, are mostly stinky and smokey, filled with whistling blinking gambling machines, and surrounded by louts puking their guts out after last orders, looking for a fight. If ever there was a set of stables looking to be cleansed, thats it. A smoking ban should be just the beginning.

Balls - it's dingy, smoke-filled old men's pubs that are the last, blessed refuge from the vile stripped-pine trance-playing yelping retard spewing vodka-redbull in jugs chain pub twat factories. The smog and the murk acts as a natural barrier against the hordes of yelping harridans in boob tubes, and the man-sluts who roam in packs with their horrifying shiny ironed shirts.


I'm actually in favour of smoking bans. Partly on emminently sensible public health grounds, partly in the hope that it might shut up the insufferably pious (and thankfully quite rare) anti-smoking zealots. Just so long as they keep their hands off private member's clubs...
posted by flashboy at 12:43 PM on October 26, 2005


Yeah, the health effects of environmental tobacco smoke are real enough to be measurable. IMO they aren't bad enough to justify any kind of "smoking ban". So I would suggest to both sides of the debate that you'll want to come up with other, more meaningful arguments. I remain entirely unconvinced by all of you who are arguing for one side or the other.
posted by sfenders at 12:46 PM on October 26, 2005


there aren't only two pieces of research that the anti-passive-smoking lobby base their work on

What if there were? Would it really be out of the question to find that all secondhand smoke kills research linking to at least one of these two studies. We can't even check some of the citing. How can we trust that this not some case of publish or perish.
posted by hexxed at 12:49 PM on October 26, 2005


In Vegas, most of the casinos and middle to upper scale bars have great ventilation systems where you can't smell the person smoking next to you unless they're unkind enough to blow it directly in your face. I've also seen this done with upper-end private clubs in Utah.

Seems to me this is the perfect solution. Rather than ban smoking, write a law which sets the allowed amount of smoke in the air and health inspectors with handheld monitors can keep an eye on it. Since we're encouraging the rise of the nanny state, the monitors/filters could even be required to be connected to the net with the results per bar available online for the public.

This solution would initially be too expensive for the mom-and-pop bars, but eventually, the price would come down so that everyone could afford it.

This solution makes too much sense, however, and would never be implemented because it goes against the grain of the puritan nature of these bans.

I do believe technology will come to the rescue of addicts by eventually providing miniturized vaporizers and inhalers, thus allowing the "smoking" experience without offending anyone save the easily-offended.
posted by pandaharma at 12:57 PM on October 26, 2005


I think the market has decided. Allowing smoking is more profitable, so bars that voluntarily ban smoking are few and far between.

In my current town, a ban on smoking was enacted against the strong resistance of the bars and restaurants on the street popular with university students and socializers. The bar and restaurant owners screamed that the ban was going to run away all their customers and the street would be a ghost town soon after. Instead, the owners saw new customers show up who appreciated the non-smoke policy and business continued as usual, if not better.

Where is the profit in trying to retain a minority of the population, when you can open your doors to the entirety?
posted by Atreides at 1:28 PM on October 26, 2005


ventilation systems. Yeah, that would do it. I vote for ventilation, simply because it would take care of all other possibly-offensive odors at the same time.
posted by sfenders at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2005


ventilation systems

Does anyone have any idea how expensive such systems are? I don't, but I expect they're mightily expensive. Would they be too noisy in smaller bars and restaurants?

Also, how effective are they? They make places smell better, but have there been any studies of their effectiveness in getting rid of the bad stuff?
posted by gurple at 2:26 PM on October 26, 2005


what i think is interesting about this debate (the argument about how there's no evidence secondhand smoke is harmful, etc.) is that it echoes the debates of decades ago, when researchers were trying to convince people that smoking causes cancer, and the tobacco companies and their paid friends planted false doubt all over the place about that...(sleazy particularly in light of predictable addictive behavior, as an addict will reach for any argument, however implausible, to support continuing the addiction)...and the same people who used to say 'there is no evidence that smoking causes cancer..., etc.,' now, particularly when it comes to lawsuits, say 'oh, but everybody knew all along that smoking causes cancer, so the sick/dying smoker has no excuse...etc.'

with smoking, as with pollution and product safety in general, i never got why the burden of proof lies opposite the side of reasonable caution (whereas, for instance, with gay marriage, though it is not proven that it will destroy the blessed institution of family, we need to prevent it just in case).
posted by troybob at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2005


...or, 'lies on the side of reasonable caution'...or something like that
posted by troybob at 3:03 PM on October 26, 2005


Those of you who've cited the rights of workers to a safe workplace--here in NYC, cigar bars have been specifically exempted. I guess their employees can just suck it up, literally.

I'm a nonsmoker and I think tobacco products should be illegal, for what it's worth. But I'm also from a bar-owning family, and we don't appreciate being the collateral damage in this dispute. If smoke is so dangerous that we can't risk exposing people to it in public places, it's dangerous enough that it should be banned. Anything else is a ridiculous, and dangerous, equivocation.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:39 PM on October 26, 2005


You FUDclogged naysayers can stick your false doubt up your arses. My mother smoked until I was in my teens, I got bronchitis a bunch of times, the doctor didn't seem to be in any doubt about the cause. Then, when she gave up, no more bronchitis.

I'm completely delighted that we have the laws we do in NZ, I enjoy not having my clothes stink of cigarettes after going out on the town for an evening.

As far as I'm concerned, the ban (no smoking in bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, offices, hospitals, movie theatres, buses, trains, schools, or... anywhere) has worked. I haven't seen anyone smoke in any bar or club since it came into effect.

I've heard about the garage bars i_am_joe's_spleen mentioned, I just think it's more of a media creation than a real problem (I mean, honestly, who hasn't had a drink at a friend's place? Were you confused at any point into thinking you were at a private bar?).
posted by The Monkey at 4:42 PM on October 26, 2005


I'm a nonsmoker and I think tobacco products should be illegal, for what it's worth...If smoke is so dangerous that we can't risk exposing people to it in public places, it's dangerous enough that it should be banned. Anything else is a ridiculous, and dangerous, equivocation.

Yeah, lets ban a highly addictive substance. That always works out well. In fact, the more addictive it is, the easier it is to ban!
posted by delmoi at 5:31 PM on October 26, 2005


I'm completely delighted that we have the laws we do in NZ, I enjoy not having my clothes stink of cigarettes after going out on the town for an evening.

Which is, of course, the real reason for these smoking bans. The health effects are an excuse. But their popularity is driven by people who just don't want to deal with other people's smoke.
posted by delmoi at 5:33 PM on October 26, 2005


Just a side-note - I was working in a bar here (NZ) last summer when the smoking ban came in. i_am_joes_spleen and The Monkey may remember the first couple of weeks adjusting to the foul reek of B.O and stale spilt beer that was no longer covered up by cigarette smoke ... hurrrghhhhhhhh.
posted by Catch at 7:46 PM on October 26, 2005


(and that was just me, the bar smelt even worse *boom boom*)
posted by Catch at 7:47 PM on October 26, 2005


One of the ways around the employee problem in "smoking clubs" is not to have employees. That is, all employees own a percentage of the club. Instead of pay, they get shares of "private stock" redeemable for money. They are "partners". Their shares can also accumulate "interest" higher than the banks pay, as recycled dividend. This takes a lot of financial pressure off the club by giving it a pool of liquidity.

This has to be carefully set up, but the non-employees get paid a lot more up front, paying capital gains tax instead of income tax, no social security, no health care costs, etc. Young non-employees like this a *lot* more than a typical minimum wage job, with 3/5ths of their paycheck garnished.

But if done properly, you get a smokers' club (which makes the anti-smokers seethe), and since it is a private club, it is not regulated as a business, its membership can be restricted, and without all that regulation it can be more profitable than a typical business.
posted by kablam at 7:53 PM on October 26, 2005


Here's a great example of the sort of statistical rubbish that is used to support the utterly unproven claims about passive smoking. (See 'Collectors Item'). "Laugh you may, but this stuff will all go into the accumulated evidence on the evils of passive smoking."
It's interesting that what is at best a small correlation with dubious statistical significance is used even in this comments area as employees being forced to 'risk their lives' etc.
If the world is so full of people who object so strongly to cigarette smoke, then why not just leave it for pub owners to attract that market and ban smoking themselves if they want to? Why does it need a law? Nobody is going to force non-smokers to socialise (or work) in the smoking pubs.
Having said that, as a smoker of rolling tobacco (dried plant, nothing else), I think manufactured cigarettes taste and smell pretty bad, and it's much worse from a lingering clingy smell point of view.
I've often wondered how much objection there'd be to smoking if most people didn't smoke such manufactured rubbish.
Also, does anyone know what the anti-smoking zealots do once they have their ban? Do they go away, or do they find some other way to harrass us?
posted by Shinkicker at 9:55 PM on October 26, 2005


Also, does anyone know what the anti-smoking zealots do once they have their ban? Do they go away, or do they find some other way to harrass us?

Me, I plan to focus on that annoying way you have of clicking your teeth.
posted by gurple at 10:40 PM on October 26, 2005


Living in Toronto and Dublin, I found it quite jarring to go back into the "smoking allowed" environment of London last weekend. Being consumed in smoke while I'm eating my dinner actually makes me nauseous now, and I can't imagine how I ever managed to deal with it before the smoking bans came into effect at home. As for it affecting the businesses in Ireland - maybe the local pubs are hurting from it, but sure as shootin, the bars and clubs in Dublin are doing JUST fine. Most weekend evenings you can't even MOVE between 11 and 2.
posted by antifuse at 3:06 AM on October 27, 2005


Delmoi : Which is, of course, the real reason for these smoking bans. The health effects are an excuse. But their popularity is driven by people who just don't want to deal with other people's smoke.

What the hell is this even supposed to mean? Of course I don't want to have to deal with your smoke. How is that even my responsibility? The smoker is the source of the problem here.

Health is only one way it can diminish my happiness, but the reality is that this is the least frequent way it spoils non-smokers' quiet enjoyment.

Some things happen right away: Stinking clothes and hair. Stinging eyes. Coughing.

And while these issues aren't necessarily going to lead to any real health problems, they're still problems. And they're caused by inconsiderate fucking arsehole smokers forcing me to "deal" with their smoke.

So, surprise surprise they got their revolting habit banned the hell out of everywhere in my country.

I don't force people in bars to read metafilter for hours on end, do I? So why should I be forced suffer their addiction?

However, I do support a special license for cigar bars - anyone visiting a cigar bar should expect to be wreathed in aromatic smoke, in the same way that people going to 'normal' bars should expect not to be.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. If you know what I mean.
posted by The Monkey at 3:18 AM on October 27, 2005


What kablam says seems to makes sense - it's hard to see how any reasonable law could prohibit smoking clubs. Although I think something like that would potentially be a lot less attractive to the bar-going public (is this merely idealistic/shortsighted of me?).

I don't really understand people saying 'The employees don't have to work there'. That hasn't been considered a valid argument against workplace safety regulation for the last 60 years (at least in countries that aren't manufacturing outsourcing destinations). We require factories to have fingerguards on their machines, and not to expose workers to dangerous chemicals. How is this any different?

Suggesting that workers who don't want to be exposed to carcinogens while doing their job should change jobs ignores the fact that a healthy economy requires a non-zero unemployment rate. Not everyone has the freedom to change careers that the average Mefite enjoys.

(I think a bar could do pretty well by putting the bar staff in hazmat suits, as a gimmick. Call it something lame like Volcano or Fume or PowerPlant. That might keep both the free-market/smokers'-rights people and the employee-rights people happy. Admittedly, I don't know how comfortable a hazmat suit is. Or how expensive.)
posted by wilberforce at 9:27 AM on October 27, 2005


Big sign on the door - 'SMOKING IN HERE' - make that compulsory. You don't like it, don't go in. You want to risk the smaller than a lottery win chance that it'll make a jot of difference to your health (especially given all the other so-called) risks. Don't go in. Where exactly is the problem? Jesus - the bars are selling alcohol - have a look in the Casualty department of a hospital on a Friday night, and you'll see what that does to health. This whole thing is insane, and it's part of a ratchet effect that will never end.

First they came for the cigarette smokers, and I said nothing. Then they came for the cigar smokers...... Then they came for the M&M eaters. There's a mentality at work here, irrespective of the specific issue on which they focus their attention. And they simply won't stop.
posted by Shinkicker at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2005


Nice straw man, Shinkicker.

It's not primarily an issue of the customers - you're right, they can choose whether or not to go into the smoky club. The problem is (or at least should be) one of workplace health. We don't require factory workers to risk losing limbs in machinery, and we shouldn't be requiring bar workers to risk their health in bars.

Smoking is different from drinking alcohol or eating M&Ms, in that it can directly affect the health of the people working nearby.
posted by wilberforce at 3:02 PM on October 27, 2005


But denying people -- and bar owners -- the choice entirely is the problem--these are not limitations, but prohibitions. These bans have very few if any exceptions. If adults can drink everywhere, and if other legal substances kill or injure more people yearly, why is it just cigarettes that are being banned this way?
posted by amberglow at 4:18 PM on October 27, 2005


OSHA would be all over them

OSHA takes no stand at all when it comes to second-hand smoke in the workplace. OSHA has remained silent on the issue because they believe there is no conclusive evidence to link second-hand smoke to disease. it's the EPA that has taken a stand and is pushing indoor smoking bans.

people who think the smoking bans are all about protecting the health of workers are more gullible than i thought. smoking bans continue to limit freedom and choice and is another way to control the populace. when will they start to protect the health of toll booth workers from car/bus/truck exhaust? when will they ban the perfume that gives me a headache everyday?
posted by brandz at 6:07 PM on October 27, 2005


Do they go away, or do they find some other way to harrass us?

oh yeah. now they're coming after us for smoking outside.
posted by brandz at 6:47 PM on October 27, 2005


I can completely understand the non-smoker position. smoking is bad for you according to all those studies, which I do not refute and smells bad (couldn't say. smokers can't smell). but consider the smoker's perspective: one of my few pleasures in life is just going out fridays smoking and drinking, hanging out and talking with people. now that is expected to be banned. you simply can't do it. if you are forced outside, you typically can't bring your drink with you. staying at home and inviting people just doesn't have the same dynamic.

you can't even set up a beer tent, or drink in someone's garage because you'll never be allowed to sell it. or if you did, now you're a bar and you can't smoke there. smokers are now not even allowed to get together and do this. not even outside. if you have access to a big house or a boat, sure, you might have a shot. but otherwise you cannot take a drag, take a sip and laugh at a joke all at the same time. how can this simple act be banned so completely?

ban it at most places. sure. most people don't smoke. that's fair. but at least give us some place. any place. we're not picky. staff it with robots if you must. seal it off and employ air locks so the smoke doesn't escape. charge outrageous amounts for mediocre beer. put it in a bad part of town. don't heat it. don't clean it. we won't care. we'll inhale and imbibe our slow suicide. and we'll have a blast.
posted by alphamule at 7:36 PM on October 27, 2005


... After debate within Cabinet, it was decided that smoking could continue in English pubs that do not serve food, and in private members' clubs. ...

That's what we should have gotten here--a partial ban.
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on October 30, 2005


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