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NYC Smoking Ban


Jaymes
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For whatever it's worth (if we're going to get anectodal), I work with a lot of people on the UWS and have been hanging around @SQC on Columbus/72nd pretty much since it has been open.  They have never allowed smoking, and it doesn't seem to have hurt their business any.

i bet their business would change if they then started suddenly allowing smoking. i think the crux here is the change in atmosphere. namely, smoking to non-smoking overnight.

You make a very good point, Tommy. But one wonders if it is possible to make a change of this kind any other way. One cannot "gradually cut down" on smoking in bars like a smoker trying to kick the habit. I have never implied that many bars aren't hurting right now. Even casual observation seems to bear this out. On the other hand, I simply cannot believe that all the people who have been spending money in bars over the years are going to stay away permanently. I can't see these people deciding to stay home and drink by themselves just because they have to step outside to have a cigarette at their local. So I have to think that there will be a significant rebound in a year or less. My casual observation of bars in California seems to bear this out as well.

Will there be some businesses that fail before the rebound happens? Certainly. Businesses fail all the time and for a lot of reasons, especially in the food and liquor-selling business. Bars sometimes close for something as trivial as the factory moving the exit to the other side of the building so that it is no longer convenient to drop in for a cold one on the way to the train. A bar that has very little to offer (decor, great beer/scotch/vodka/etc. selection, innovative cocktails, singles scene, college hangout, great bar food, whatever) other than a guy pouring you a Bud and a shot of watered-down Jack Daniels... well, some of these places are in for tough times, it's true. Unfortunately, that is the way it goes. These are a lot of the same places that end up going out of business when a subway station is closed for renovations, etc.

Again... I'd like to wait to see some numbers in a while. I find it interesting that most of the people I see complaining are either hard-core smokers who want to be able to smoke wherever they want or business owners who are hurting short-terrm, are impatient for a rebound and figure "if it ain't broken then why did they fix it?" I suppose another alternative might have been to require bars and restaurants to shell out big bucks on health insurance to cover their employees for ETS-related health problems... but somehow I have a feeling that they wouldn't like that too much either.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Non-smoking bars, restaurants and public places are without question, the future. Here--and in the UK and Europe.

Coming to Manchester:

http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/sto...general20030627

Expect several local breweries (Holts, Robinsons, Hydes) to close soon. Only the multinational produced chemical swill will prevail.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm trying hard to understand the cause and effect here. As M. Bourdain noted, there are several strong economic factor weighing down the industry right now, namely a weak economy, a weak dollar, high unemployment, and increasing taxes.

I can accept that the smoking ban has had some effect on restaurants/bars, but (especially those that nitpick about a 16% margin of error in tobacco studies) can you seriously maintain that non-economic factors such as a smoking ban have had a greater effect than the economic factors listed above.

Such arguments are spurious, meritless, and unquestionably naive.

Moreover, the rise of corporate dining in NYC (Olive Garden etc.) is long overdue, given how quickly NYers succumed to other corporate sources (supermarkets over green grocers, The Gap, Tower Records/HMV, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Starbucks etc.). And last I checked, you couldn't smoke their either.

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Not having read this entire many-posted thread, I thought I'd throw this in...

In Montgomery County MD, they had passed a law a few years back where the 'dining room' of a restaurant needed to be kept separated from the 'bar' section of the restaurant, physically speaking, so that the smoke would only stay in one place (never required separate ventilation systems, though). This seemed to be a great compromise.

Recently, the same county enacted a new law that eliminates this, effectively requiring the elimination of all smoking is restaurants/bars. This is crazy, since Washington DC is literally just a hop skip and a jump away. And, being the seat of the US govt, I doubt that a smoking ban of this sort will ever be passed. Way too many international (important international) folks dine in DC for that to ever happen.

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Maybe they'll bring back spitting. Perhaps its time has come again.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I haven't read through this entire thread, so I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned or not. Penn & Teller have a great show called "Bullshit" on Showtime -- it's entire focus is on debunking commonly held ideas and exposing fraud. One recent segment was on "passive" smoke and its supposed hazards -- anyone with digital tv can pull it right out of the archive.

Personally, I live and work in NYC. IMO, the ban sucks.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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I haven't read through this entire thread, so I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned or not.  Penn & Teller have a great show called "Bullshit" on Showtime -- it's entire focus is on debunking commonly held ideas and exposing fraud.  One recent segment was on "passive" smoke and its supposed hazards -- anyone with digital tv can pull it right out of the archive.

Personally, I live and work in NYC.  IMO, the ban sucks.

I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of smoke on a daily basis is bad for your health.

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I haven't read through this entire thread, so I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned or not.  Penn & Teller have a great show called "Bullshit" on Showtime -- it's entire focus is on debunking commonly held ideas and exposing fraud.  One recent segment was on "passive" smoke and its supposed hazards -- anyone with digital tv can pull it right out of the archive.

Personally, I live and work in NYC.  IMO, the ban sucks.

I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of smoke on a daily basis is bad for your health.

Point taken, but if you have a chance, watch the show. People like to claim the evidence is all in. As P&T amply demonstrate, it ain't.

It should be up to an owner/operator if he wants to allow smoking in his place. Just like it's up to employees if they want to work there, and customers if they want to frequent the joint. I've tended bar in some of NYC's smokiest rooms for years. I'm an adult, and I made my choice with full knowledge of the potential costs/benefits. If the smoke bothered me, I was free to explore other options for employment. At some point, we're responsible for our own choices. Government doesn't have a place here.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of smoke on a daily basis is bad for your health.

Or, to rephrase it another way . . .

I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of big-city air on a daily basis is bad for your heath.

:raz:

For the health of us all, ban cities!

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I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of smoke on a daily basis is bad for your health.

Or, to rephrase it another way . . .

I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of big-city air on a daily basis is bad for your heath.

Good point, but there is not way we are getting the same degree of "unhealthy stuff" breathing NYC air as we would be getting spending 40+ hours a week in a smoke-filled NYC bar. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that regular NYC air isn't as bad for you as regular NYC air plus concentrated smoke.

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Good point, but there is not way we are getting the same degree of "unhealthy stuff" breathing NYC air as we would be getting spending 40+ hours a week in a smoke-filled NYC bar.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that regular NYC air isn't as bad for you as regular NYC air plus concentrated smoke.

True, Sam.

The biggest problem with this whole issue is that we don't have adequate empirical evidence concerning *how* bad second-hand smoke is. And further, how bad second-hand smoke is compared to other air contaminates or, for that matter, any other contaminates that the average person is exposed to.

Common sense tells us one thing, but common sense isn't the same as empirical evidence.

I have no doubt that second-hand smoke isn't good for one's health. But as far as *how bad,* the issue is contested.

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I haven't read through this entire thread, so I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned or not.  Penn & Teller have a great show called "Bullshit" on Showtime -- it's entire focus is on debunking commonly held ideas and exposing fraud.  One recent segment was on "passive" smoke and its supposed hazards -- anyone with digital tv can pull it right out of the archive.

I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could fail to understand that breathing in a shitload of smoke on a daily basis is bad for your health.

Point taken, but if you have a chance, watch the show. People like to claim the evidence is all in. As P&T amply demonstrate, it ain't.

I'd suggest you go back and read through this thread, as this ground has been covered extensively. It is true that a certain kind of evidence -- speficically long-term epidemiological human studies -- is lacking or otherwise statistically inconclusive. And there are reasons other than "secondhand smoke isn't bad for you" why this is likely to always be the case -- mostly having to do with the difficulty in conducting this kind of study. That said, there is a preponderance of evidence that cigarette smoke is bad for one's health, and there is strong animal evidence to suggest that second hand tobacco smoke is bad for one's health. Frankly, I think it's disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Does anyone really believe that second hand tobacco smoke isn't bad for you?

It should be up to an owner/operator if he wants to allow smoking in his place.  Just like it's up to employees if they want to work there, and customers if they want to frequent the joint.  I've tended bar in some of NYC's smokiest rooms for years. I'm an adult, and I made my choice with full knowledge of the potential costs/benefits.  If the smoke bothered me, I was free to explore other options for employment. At some point, we're responsible for our own choices.  Government doesn't have a place here.

That's like saying "it should be up to the construction companies to decide if they want to use asbestos. It's up to the employees if they want to work for there, and the purchasers if they want to live there." Or maybe, "the coal company shouldn't be forced to clean up the coal dust. If the workers aren't comfortable with the level of safety at the mine, they can always seek employment elsewhere."

This is one of the things our government hopefully does, folks... it protects workers in the workplace.

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It should be up to an owner/operator if he wants to allow smoking in his place.  Just like it's up to employees if they want to work there,

Do you feel the same way about sexual harrassment?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Good point, but there is not way we are getting the same degree of "unhealthy stuff" breathing NYC air as we would be getting spending 40+ hours a week in a smoke-filled NYC bar.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that regular NYC air isn't as bad for you as regular NYC air plus concentrated smoke.

True, Sam.

The biggest problem with this whole issue is that we don't have adequate empirical evidence concerning *how* bad second-hand smoke is. And further, how bad second-hand smoke is compared to other air contaminates or, for that matter, any other contaminates that the average person is exposed to.

Common sense tells us one thing, but common sense isn't the same as empirical evidence.

I have no doubt that second-hand smoke isn't good for one's health. But as far as *how bad,* the issue is contested.

I think it is worthy of note that it is primarily contested by the same people who until recently contested the evidence that firsthand smoke is bad for one's health (some continue to contest this, I believe).

Again, I think you can look at animal studys like the cat study I have repeatedly mentioned, and see that there is strong empirical evidence that second hand smoke is pretty bad for you... as in, worse than a lot of other things that are already regulated. And that's just cancer. Needless to say, we're not just talking about cancer here. We're also talking about asthma and other non-fatal lung-related conditions; we're talking about allergies; and we're talking about the likelihood that people working in those conditions will also become smokers (etc.).

As for comparing second hand smoke to other things, this seems relatively easy to me. I am fairly certain that the increased health risks for someone who smokes, say, a pack a day are well-documented. It would be a small matter to place a sensor in a smoky bar for one shift, measure the smoke that would normally be inhaled by a bartender in that bar and use that data to make a comparison to the data we have from smokers who inhale a similar amount of smoke "first hand." My strong suspicion is that a worker in a smoky bar breathes in significantly more than 20 cigarettes worth of second hand smoke in one shift.

But it is fatuous to suggest that the presence of other things in the air that are just as bad or worse than concentrated secondhand smoke argues against regulations to limit exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace. Rather, it is an argument for cleaning those other things out of the air. At least most of the other bad things in the air do things like providing our homes with electricity and our automobiles with fuel, not putting nicotine into some people's blood.

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But it is fatuous to suggest that the presence of other things in the air that are just as bad or worse than concentrated secondhand smoke argues against regulations to limit exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.  Rather, it is an argument for cleaning those other things out of the air.  At least most of the other bad things in the air do things like providing our homes with electricity and our automobiles with fuel, not putting nicotine into some people's blood.

But we're *not* getting data on other air/environment issues.

I'm talking about setting priorities. I don't see this being done.

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If we got all our priorities in order before passing laws, we'd probably never get past outlawing murder. Everytime another law came up, we'd get hung up over where in the chain of priorities the new law fit. This law is a good law, or bad law, on it's merits, not because there are no better laws to pass of better subjects to tackle. Is this a legitimate health concern to employees? Is it the best way to handle the concern. If we could guarantee a similar wage to every applicant whether they take the job or not, we'd have the problem solved.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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If we got all our priorities in order before passing laws, we'd probably never get past outlawing murder. Everytime another law came up, we'd get hung up over where in the chain of priorities the new law fit.

I see your point.

However, we do need some idea of the air/environmental quality of various environs. There's no accurate and/or comprehensive data.

I don't think it would be all that complicated. Hell, we're already engaged in heavy-duty deficit spending.

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If we got all our priorities in order before passing laws, we'd probably never get past outlawing murder. Everytime another law came up, we'd get hung up over where in the chain of priorities the new law fit.

I see your point.

However, we do need some idea of the air/environmental quality of various environs. There's no accurate and/or comprehensive data.

I don't think it would be all that complicated. Hell, we're already engaged in heavy-duty deficit spending.

There is some work being done on this of which I am aware, however there is significant (and IMO insurmountable) difficulty in getting statistically significant results in long term human environmental studies. The rates of the various pollutants change, people move, other lifestyle considerations (like smoking) complicate things and there is a real trouble in finding a control group unless you are prepared to put some kids into plastic bubbles for the rest of their lives.

That said, I do think there is some understanding and evidence that having certain things in the air is bad for one's health and some regulation has been put into effect. This is why, for example, people aren't allowed to spraycoat cars in the open air any more.

However, as Bux points out, none of this really has to do with the utility or advisability of legislation to limit exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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