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John W.

Smoking Ban in DC

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The unfortunate reality is that even a "really good ventilation" system won't do the trick. As detailed in This definitive article, which was published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (46(9):887-905, September 2004. Repace, James MSc), details:

Estimated outdoor air exchange rates were very low, apparent casualties of economic pressures in the hospitality industry coupled with the lack of regulation. However, increasing ventilation or air cleaning to satisfy the NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standard] during smoking would require an impractical 80 air changes per hour if the outdoor air were 60% cleaner than it actually is. At the actual 16.6 μg/m^3 PM2.5 level for New Castle County, the NAAQS could not be achieved without cleaning the outdoor air supply. Nevertheless, even if all these measures were taken, SHS would still pose a carcinogenic and toxic risk to be dealt with.

Now, mind you, this is not talking about filtration, but instead about replacement of air in the room. Filtration is even more expensive, burdensome and difficult -- to the point of being effectively impossible from a practical standpoint.


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As this whole thing is up in the air so to speak, I have a very naive question. What would prevent someone from opening a dining establishment, declaring it a private club, charging a nominal fee for membership, and making it an establishment open to both smokers and non-smokers alike? Wouldn't this establishment be exempt from the smoking ban since one would be notified upfront that a) it's a private club/joint and b) if you join/want to work there, you understand that smoking is permitted? I wonder if this will lead to "speakeasy" type places, where smokers, wanting to be free from derision and snark could knock on the door, say the magic words and step into smoky nirvana? :raz:

BTW, although I'm a DC girl born and raised, but am glad not to currently be living in the People's Republic of Washington, DC. Viva Virginia! :biggrin:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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The unfortunate reality is that even a "really good ventilation" system won't do the trick.  As detailed in This definitive article, which was published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (46(9):887-905, September 2004. Repace, James MSc), details:
Estimated outdoor air exchange rates were very low, apparent casualties of economic pressures in the hospitality industry coupled with the lack of regulation. However, increasing ventilation or air cleaning to satisfy the NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standard] during smoking would require an impractical 80 air changes per hour if the outdoor air were 60% cleaner than it actually is. At the actual 16.6 μg/m^3 PM2.5 level for New Castle County, the NAAQS could not be achieved without cleaning the outdoor air supply. Nevertheless, even if all these measures were taken, SHS would still pose a carcinogenic and toxic risk to be dealt with.

Now, mind you, this is not talking about filtration, but instead about replacement of air in the room. Filtration is even more expensive, burdensome and difficult -- to the point of being effectively impossible from a practical standpoint.

Read this more closely. According to this, in order for an air exchanger to bring the inside air up to the NAAQS standard, you would have to clean the outside air before bringing it into the establishment. The NAAQS standard is obviously too high a standard if outside air can't even meet it.

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I don't think that's quite right. They're not saying that the outside air doesn't meet the NAAQS. What they're saying, I think, is that the outside air isn't clean enough for air-exchange to clean smoke-filled inside air at any reasonable exchange rate, and that the outside air would have to be 60% cleaner in order for 80 changes/hour to work.

This might mean however, that something like 300 changes/hour with "regular" outside air would clean the inside air sufficently to meet the NAAQS. But the point is that 300 changes/hour isn't workable, so therefore it is impossible to clean the indoor air sufficiently without cleaning the outside air as well.

I mean... think about what 80 changes an hour means: If you've got a 1,000 square foot space with 12 foot tall ceilings, that means you need to change 960,000 cubic feet of air every hour. . . 16,000 cubic feet of air every minute. . . 266 cubic feet of air every second. And 1,000 square feet is a tiny restaurant or bar.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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I don't think that's quite right.  They're not saying that the outside air doesn't meet the NAAQS.  What they're saying, I think, is that the outside air isn't clean enough for air-exchange to clean smoke-filled inside air at any reasonable exchange rate, and that the outside air would have to be 60% cleaner in order for 80 changes/hour to work. 

This might mean however, that something like 300 changes/hour with "regular" outside air would clean the inside air sufficently to meet the NAAQS.  But the point is that 300 changes/hour isn't workable, so therefore it is impossible to clean the indoor air sufficiently without cleaning the outside air as well.

There are many variables involved. I imagine factors such as how big the place is, how many people are smoking, what they are smoking, would effect the type of equipment needed. A big place with just a few people smoking cigarettes will need different equipment than a small place full of cigar smokers will. But, under the DC proposal, cigar bars are exempt (with cigar bar defined as a place that has 10% or more of smoking related revenue).

And John W., if /when this ban goes into effect, you might want to consider expanding out onto your patio in the spring, summer, fall. Get Kimpton to pop for some awnings and plastic.

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There are many variables involved.  I imagine factors such as how big the place is, how many people are smoking, what they are smoking, would effect the type of equipment needed.  A big place with just a few people smoking cigarettes will need different equipment than a small place full of cigar smokers will.

This is true, of course, but I think it's impossible to create legislation around something like that. The paper I cited below interestingly observed an average of only something like 15% or 17% smokers in the rooms it studied, which is actually lower than the prevalence of smoking in that geographic area. So only a few smokers can still make a lot of problems.

. . .under the DC proposal, cigar bars are exempt (with cigar bar defined as a place that has 10% or more of smoking related revenue).

This is a good idea. It's never been clear to me whether this kind of provision exists in the NYC and NYS bans, but it strikes me as a reasonable idea. People I've talked to tell me, however, that it's damn hard for a "cigar bar" to do that much smoking-related business.

Here's a good piece of news: One thing I can say about smoking bans, having closely observed the effect of the ban in NYC, is that all the dire predictions turned out to be little more than crying wolf. The restaurant and bar business in NYC seems to be, if anything, doing better post-ban than it was pre-ban.


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There is an article on the front page of today's WSJ about the NYC smoking ban and hookah bars.

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I was in Los Angeles in 1997, the night before the smoking ban there went into effect. The hue and cry was loud and everyone predicted dire straights for bar owners, restaurateurs, etc. That first day, a Monday, things were quiet at happy hour and in many places, it was reported. I was in LA for about 10 days, and by week's end, life was back to normal, and people chose their vice: drinking and dining won out over smoking. People adjust rather quickly. You'd be amazed.


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(Got a call from the forces of rectitude -- or their paid organizers, anyway -- asking if I wanted to be part of the rent-a-crowd in the City City Council Chamber for something I didn't quite catch, probably an attempt to toughen the anti-smoking bill somehow. Apparently they didn't catch me at The Raven the other night where I personally smoked between 4 and 600 cigarettes.)

Stumbled across this guide to completely smoke-free restaurants in DC (no smoking even at the bar). I thought that it would give ammunition to us degenerate-libertarian types who think there should be a couple places where a guy can have a beer and a smoke at the end of a tough day -- there are a lot of really good spots on the list, and it doesn't even count the ones that only allow smoking in the bar area -- and no City Council Hearings were required.

I also thought it would be a useful guide for those wanting to keep their lungs more pristine than mine are.

Happy New Year.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I personally hate cigarette smoke and cigar smoke, but if I don't like it, I would make the decision to go to a place that offers a non-smoking area. I am against such government control of any of our personal habits or business habits. Unfortunately, we are turning more and more into a government controled society.


Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I am against such government control of any of our personal habits or business habits.

I don't quite understand this. You're saying that you're against things like government-mandated workplace safety standards, sexual harassment laws, nondiscrimination laws, etc. (these would all fall under "government control of our business habits")?

It's a common misconception to suppose that workplace smoking bans are enacted to protect customers. They are enacted to protect workers. They have nothing to do with whether you or I want to be around cigarette smoke because, as you say, we can choose to go elsewhere. Saying that workers can "choose to work elsewhere" or can "choose to work in another industry" doesn't seem to cut it in this case (inhaling secondhand smoke is not a necessary risk of working in the restaurant or bar industry the way that the possibility of being burned alive is a necessary risk of putting out oil rig fires).


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No Mr Kinsey, work is something you need to do. Going out to restaurants is something you like to do. I find the distinction very simple. If I do not like the food at a certain place, I do not eat there. If I do not like the smoke, I have other choices. Government interference in something I have a CHOICE in, is absurd. Comparing the two as the same is absurd also.


Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I am against such government control of any of our personal habits or business habits.

I don't quite understand this. You're saying that you're against things like government-mandated workplace safety standards, sexual harassment laws, nondiscrimination laws, etc. (these would all fall under "government control of our business habits")?

It's a common misconception to suppose that workplace smoking bans are enacted to protect customers. They are enacted to protect workers. They have nothing to do with whether you or I want to be around cigarette smoke because, as you say, we can choose to go elsewhere. Saying that workers can "choose to work elsewhere" or can "choose to work in another industry" doesn't seem to cut it in this case (inhaling secondhand smoke is not a necessary risk of working in the restaurant or bar industry the way that the possibility of being burned alive is a necessary risk of putting out oil rig fires).

I would like to know the percentage of restaurant employees that smoke... I think the number would surprise a lot of folks. Protect them from what? They already smoke. The ban is to placate militant non-smokers who falsely argue that they want the ban to protect the worker. They want the ban because they dispise smoke. Nothing more. If you smoke, go outside. If don't, keep your opinions to yourself.


"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

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No Mr Kinsey, work is something you need to do. Going out to restaurants is something you like to do. I find the distinction very simple. If I do not like the food at a certain place, I do not eat there. If I do not like the smoke, I have other choices. Government interference in something I have a CHOICE in, is absurd. Comparing the two as the same is absurd also.

raisab, you are entirely missing my point -- and indeed the point of all such legislation.

Workplace nonsmoking legislation is not intended to protect you, the customer. As you correctly point out, you have the choice to go elsewhere. Workplace nonsmoking legislation is intended to protect workers in the workplace -- in this case, workers in the restaurant and bar indistry who work in bars and restaurants. As you correctly point out, "work is something you need to do," and it is something that various government bodies have determined that workers who "need to work" in office buildings, airplanes, restaurants and bars (etc.) should be able to do without exposing themselves to the unnecessary risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. According to your own logic, this is not "government interference in something one has a choice in," but rather government regulation of workplace safety.

I would like to know the percentage of restaurant employees that smoke...  I think the number would surprise a lot of folks.  Protect them from what?  They already smoke.  The ban is to placate militant non-smokers who falsely argue that they want the ban to protect the worker.  They want the ban because they dispise smoke.  Nothing more.  If you smoke, go outside.  If don't, keep your opinions to yourself.

There is ample scientific evidence (I have cited some very compelling studies in these forums) that the hazards of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars is significant. And it really doesn't matter whether the percentage of restaurant and bar workers who smoke is 25% or 75%. The nonsmokers still deserve protection -- not to mention that even the smokers are exposing themselves to increased risk by working in a smoke-filled room. Any argument one can make otherwise would apply equally to smoking in office buildings, airplanes, etc.

FWIW, my anecdotal experience suggests to me that the percentage of bar and restaurant FOH workers who smoke is not meaningfully greater than perhaps 35%.


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I would be interested to know the percentage also. I find that a majority of those bar workers and restaurant workers I personally know smoke.

Again I do not like the smoke, but I agree with Delgato on this one. These are militant nonsmokers who wish to impose their will upon others. Choose to work and eat elsewhere.


Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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No Mr Kinsey, work is something you need to do. Going out to restaurants is something you like to do. I find the distinction very simple. If I do not like the food at a certain place, I do not eat there. If I do not like the smoke, I have other choices. Government interference in something I have a CHOICE in, is absurd. Comparing the two as the same is absurd also.

raisab, you are entirely missing my point -- and indeed the point of all such legislation.

Workplace nonsmoking legislation is not intended to protect you, the customer. As you correctly point out, you have the choice to go elsewhere. Workplace nonsmoking legislation is intended to protect workers in the workplace -- in this case, workers in the restaurant and bar indistry who work in bars and restaurants. As you correctly point out, "work is something you need to do," and it is something that various government bodies have determined that workers who "need to work" in office buildings, airplanes, restaurants and bars (etc.) should be able to do without exposing themselves to the unnecessary risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. According to your own logic, this is not "government interference in something one has a choice in," but rather government regulation of workplace safety.

I would like to know the percentage of restaurant employees that smoke...  I think the number would surprise a lot of folks.  Protect them from what?  They already smoke.  The ban is to placate militant non-smokers who falsely argue that they want the ban to protect the worker.  They want the ban because they dispise smoke.  Nothing more.  If you smoke, go outside.  If don't, keep your opinions to yourself.

There is ample scientific evidence (I have cited some very compelling studies in these forums) that the hazards of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars is significant. And it really doesn't matter whether the percentage of restaurant and bar workers who smoke is 25% or 75%. The nonsmokers still deserve protection (not to mention that even the smokers are exposing themselves to increased risk) working in a smoke-filled room. FWIW, my anecdotal experience suggests to me that the percentage of bar and restaurant FOH workers who smoke is not meaningfully greater than perhaps 35%.

Yes, in general I would agree with you that government regulations are designed to provide an employee with a safe working environment; however, respectfully, if the establishment allowed smoking when that person applied for a job and they took the job anyway, knowing that they hate to be around smoke and/or consider it a health hazard, isn't that their responsibility? Did they have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever to not take a position in such an establishment? I know some out there would say that they didn't have a choice. Again, I would disagree. Yes, they did have a choice and they made it. They chose to take a job in an environment that they deemed offensive/deleterious to their health in a city that for some time has had many restaurants that were smoke free. Oh well, the point is moot anyway, Samuel. Though I wonder why having 80-90% smokefree and a measly 10-20% of restaurants that would allow smoking would have imposed such a "hardship?" :hmmm:

Now, if someone would be kind enough to answer the question I posed in my previous post on this here. :smile:

Edited for typos.


Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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These are militant nonsmokers who wish to impose their will upon others. Choose to work and eat elsewhere.

Your first point may be correct, although that doesn't necessarily mean that the militant nonsmokers are wrong. Although it is of course not an analogous situation, one could accurately say that suffragists imposed their will upon others through their work to obtain voting rights for women.

Your last point is also correct. A customer can always choose to eat elsewhere.

Your second point, however, is not well made. Suggesting that restaurant, airplane, bar and office workers who do not wish to be exposed to the risks of secondhand smoke should "choose to work elsewhere" is simply not acceptable. Any such argument you may make that restaurant and bar workers would apply equally well to workers in office buildings.

As I pointed out upthread, secondhand smoke is not a necessarily inherrent risk of working in these industries the way getting squashed with heavy machinery is a necessarily inherrent risk of the construction business. You can't construct skyscrapers without heavy machinery, but you can serve people food and/or drink without secondhand smoke. And, of course, the construction industry is highly regulated (some would say not highly enough) to mitigate the necessarily inherrent risk of being squashed by heavy machinery to the greatest extent possible.

Yes, in general I would agree with you that government regulations are designed to provide an employee with a safe working environment; however, respectfully, if the establishment allowed smoking when that person applied for a job and they took the job anyway, knowing that they hate to be around smoke and/or consider it a health hazard, isn't that their responsibility?  Did they have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever to not take a position in such an establishment?  I know some out there would say that they didn't have a choice.  Again, I would disagree.  Yes, they did have a choice and they made it.  They chose to take a job in an environment that they deemed offensive/deleterious to their health in a city that for some time has had many restaurants that were smoke free.  Oh well, the point is moot anyway, Samuel.  Though I wonder why having 80-90% smokefree and a measly 10-20% of restaurants that would allow smoking would have imposed such a "hardship?"  :hmmm:

No, this doesn't really work -- and I'll tell you why: If this argument worked today for bars and restaurants, then it would have worked for office buildings and airplanes as well. And they we'd be right back in the 1980s with smoking allowed just about everywhere, and no way for workers to protect themselves from secondhand smoke.

I find that it is instructive and useful to try to apply any argument against smoking restrictions in the bar and restaurant workplace to the office workplace. If it's something you agree should be regulated and largely disallowed in office buildings, then it's something you should likewise agree should be regulated and largely disallowed in the restaurant and bar workplace.

I have a large number of friends in the NYC bar business, and without fail (smokers included) they are all overjoyed with their now smoke-free workplaces and feel that their overall health and well-being has improved.


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I am against such government control of any of our personal habits or business habits.

I don't quite understand this. You're saying that you're against things like government-mandated workplace safety standards, sexual harassment laws, nondiscrimination laws, etc. (these would all fall under "government control of our business habits")?

It's a common misconception to suppose that workplace smoking bans are enacted to protect customers. They are enacted to protect workers. They have nothing to do with whether you or I want to be around cigarette smoke because, as you say, we can choose to go elsewhere. Saying that workers can "choose to work elsewhere" or can "choose to work in another industry" doesn't seem to cut it in this case (inhaling secondhand smoke is not a necessary risk of working in the restaurant or bar industry the way that the possibility of being burned alive is a necessary risk of putting out oil rig fires).

(Jumping in late)

Not that worker safety isn't a legitimate issue, but I'm about 99% sure that that's pure spin -- a hook chosen because it makes the anti-smoking forces look like concerned citizens instead of self-righteous prigs. Not that they're not concerned, not that they are (all) prigs.

But this bill is not the result of restaurant workers riseng en masse to save their lungs. The worker safety angle is, if you'll excuse the expression, smoke and mirrors.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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And it really doesn't matter whether the percentage of restaurant and bar workers who smoke is 25% or 75%.  The nonsmokers still deserve protection -- not to mention that even the smokers are exposing themselves to increased risk by working in a smoke-filled room.

FWIW, my anecdotal experience suggests to me that the percentage of bar and restaurant FOH workers who smoke is not meaningfully greater than perhaps 35%.

I worked in the restaurant industry for ten years, and a lot more than 35% of my co-workers smoked, but smoker or not, we would all jockey for the smoking sections for our shifts, because the tips were better in smoking sections. The smokers tipped a better percentage, drank more and ordered more courses.

Sure, our clothes and hair stank, but after 8 hours of running back and forth and carrying food, we all stank anyway no matter which section we worked in.


S. Cue

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Not that worker safety isn't a legitimate issue, but I'm about 99% sure that that's pure spin -- a hook chosen because it makes the anti-smoking forces look like concerned citizens instead of self-righteous prigs. Not that they're not concerned, not that they are (all) prigs. 

But this bill is not the result of restaurant workers riseng en masse to save their lungs.  The worker safety angle is, if you'll excuse the expression, smoke and mirrors.

Oh, I'm quite sure you're right about that. But, of course, construction workers didn't exactly rise up en masse for OSHA regulations either.

The bottom line is that being exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke is bad for your health, and most of the time there is no reason people should have to be exposed to it. I don't think (although I don't know) that most of the people behind measures like this care whether or not you smoke. I think they care about whether they, and other people, have to breathe your smoke. This seems reasonable to me, and I'm not sure it's fair to characterize them as "self-righteous prigs."

As someone who supports workplace antismoking measures myself, I couldn't care less whether people choose to smoke or not. I have been known to smoke a cigar every now and then myself, and I'm certainly not one of those people who wants to pass legislation that prevents people from doing things that are "bad for you." Heck, I do plenty of things that are "bad for you," starting with drinking way too much. Similarly, I don't get the impression that the people behind this legislation want to prevent people from, say, eating fatty meat.

But let's go back to my bad behavior: I drink too much. Now, my drinking too much doesn't affect the other people at the bar. Their alcohol-related health risk factors are not affected one bit by sitting next to me in a bar. On the other hand, drinking too much does affect other people, for example, on the roads when I am behind the wheel of a car. So, while I would not like for a bunch of self-righteous prigs to push legislation that limits my ability to drink too much in contexts where no one else is affected by my drinking, like a bar, I think it's just fine for there to be limitations on my blood alcohol levels in contexts, like driving, where other people are affected by that drinking. In fact, I think it's reasonable to be fairly restrictive about this because I recognize the fact that I don't have to drink. I feel pretty much the same way about smoking: I don't have any problem with the fact that some people choose to smoke, and I am happy for them to continue to smoke. But I recognize that smokers don't need to smoke, and I think it's reasonable to put limitations on smoking in contexts where there is a high likelihood that other people who are not in a position to choose to be elsewhere will be adversely affected by that behavior. . . like in the workplace.


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While I don't think the government should legislate our lives away, I very much support the smoking ban. Perhaps I'm getting hypersensitive as I get longer in the tooth, but frequently I'll get a whiff of cigarette smoke and it will linger in my nose for several hours. This is perticularly likely when entering restaurants (or stores) where it seems smoking employees (and customers) are protecting the entrance like some sort of smoldering beefeater guard :smile:.

I believe more non-smokers are inconvenienced by smoke than are smokers by not smoking. Over the holidays, we were waiting for a table in a Philly restaurant and had to inhale a bit of smoke. Luckily it wasn't too much and the meal wasn't ruined. I understand I could have waited outside, but I might have missed the call for the table and it was much more convenient to sit at the bar with a drink (the horror :smile:) .

I truly understand that smokers feel infringed on, just as non-seatbelt wearers and non-motorcycle helmet wearers also feel infringed on. But some times it comes down to who gets the most benefit out of a piece of legislation.

Thanks,

Kevin


DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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ban starts january 2007 ,

there you go !!


Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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ban starts  january 2007 ,

there you go !!

It's a little early but yesterday the city councel voted to approve the smoking ban by 11-1. The mayor knows that if he vetoes the bill, the council will override him. The question remains whether Congress will override an override. Keep in mind that Congress has the final say with regard to DC matters.


Edited by mnebergall (log)

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(Jumping in late)

Not that worker safety isn't a legitimate issue, but I'm about 99% sure that that's pure spin -- a hook chosen because it makes the anti-smoking forces look like concerned citizens instead of self-righteous prigs. Not that they're not concerned, not that they are (all) prigs.  

But this bill is not the result of restaurant workers riseng en masse to save their lungs.  The worker safety angle is, if you'll excuse the expression, smoke and mirrors.

Didn't I see a march on Tuesay of restaurant workers, lots of them, rallying against the ban? Prigs? Charles, I learn new words from you everywhere!

And as for comparing this to helmet laws,they have repealed those in a few states already.

I guess if you are into a socialist form of government, this ban works for you. Just don't complain when they start interfering in other parts of your life


Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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And as for comparing this to helmet laws,they have repealed those in a few states already.

I guess if you are into a socialist form of government, this ban works for you. Just don't complain when they start interfering in other parts of your life

If not wanting to breath cigarette smoke by force is being a socialist, I'm a socialist. Perhaps the helmet law example wasn't the best, but injuries for those wearing helmets are more often than not less than those without helmets. Motorcycle accident victims who were not wearing helmets are called 'organ donors' by e.r. nurses and the like.

I am actually very much in favor of the government keeping out of my (and everyone else's) business. But if one chooses to smoke in their home (or car, etc) I won't be subjected to it. If they smoke in a bar or restaurant, I suffer having to breath disgusting air.

Thanks,

Kevin


DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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