You cannot win with these people

The smoking ban is a bad idea according to some scientists with a lot of time on their hands because . . . wait for it . . . it sends smokers outside altogether to smoke and, you know, kids might walk down the sidewalk and breathe.

The results of University of Georgia scientists’ test of outdoor cigarette smoke levels in downtown Athens show that indoor smoking bans may be unhealthy for outdoor diners and drinkers.

Researchers want to find out if moves to restrict indoor smoking in bars and restaurants increases the public’s chances of breathing harmful chemicals associated with cigarette smoke outside, according to a report that UGA researchers presented at a recent conference.

Personally, I think the smoking ban is one of the few nanny-state ideas that I’ve ever enjoyed. I opposed it, but damn is it nice not to go to a restaurant and stink.

15 comments

  1. Jeff Emanuel says:

    There is little or no limit on the nannystate experimentation which the PRACC will perform.

    I love the smoke-free restaurants, bars, etc., but would rather the market drive that than government.

  2. Clayton says:

    Of course it does, since the smokers usually congregate right outside the main entrances and form a cloud gauntlet to whatever building you want to enter/exit.

    Everytime I leave Hartsfield (couple times a week) I take a deep breath in baggage claim and sprint across the street to the parking lot.

  3. Lee Benedict says:

    I think that this crap should be banned altogether! Fresh(er) air v. someone’s “right” to pollute it with cyanide, arsenic, polonium-211, and numerous other cancer-causing compounds. Tobacco products are the only LEGAL products that when used as directed can kill you and others…not to mention drive up the costs of healthcare and insurance.

  4. John Walraven says:

    Bill,

    Chris’ answer is correct with one exception–an establishment that builds out a seperate room with seperate A/C from the non-smoking part of the building and with sufficient exhaust may allow smoking even though kids are in the place. This exception was introduced by Rep. Ed Lindsey as a floor amendment, borrowing language that the Committee Sub included for places of employment. The “funny” part in that amendment was that it wasn’t drawn up so that the kid wouldn’t be allowed in the smoking room. Just a little loophole :).

    I, too, really enjoy this law. Assisting in the drafting of this law was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in my career. It was a huge moment for Sen. Thomas when this bill gained final passage. It also was one of my favorite days of debate and lawmaking in the House in my ten years working down there. In the House, the bill was an open proposition and 30+ amendments were offered and no party lines existed. Seatmates were arguing with one another straight from their conscience and watching the board for the results. Restaurant owners all tell me how biz is up because of it. I, too, don’t like going home smelling like smoke after dinner. The wisdom, I believe, that’s found in this law is that its an extension of GA’s public policy regarding kids and cigarrettes. Kids can’t buy, can’t possess (h/t to Mitch Seabaugh) and with this law, can’t be around smokers. Pretty reasonable, I’d say, given that the kids are the only ones that can’t choose where they’re eating anyway.

  5. MidGaDawg says:

    “Tobacco products are the only LEGAL products that when used as directed can kill you and others…not to mention drive up the costs of healthcare and insurance.”

    Handguns?

  6. bird says:

    As much as my wife appreciates smoke-free restaurants, the real advantage of indoor smoking bans is that it encourages individuals to stop smoking. I used to smoke a couple of cigarettes after a beer or two (alright, maybe more than that), but the indoor smoking ban has stopped this almost entirely. The smoking ban drastically contributed to a reduction in my smoking from the status of an occasional smoker to practically never.

    Apparently NYC did a study and found that the City now has approximately 200,000 less smokers than when the ban was enacted. To what extent the ban contributed to this reduction in smokers in unclear, but it certainly played an important part.

  7. drjay says:

    erick are you sure about the correlation of whether you smell or not and whether the place you are allows smoking?

  8. jsm says:

    So, bird, are you in support of the smoking ban because of the advantage of reducing the numbers of smokers?

    Walraven, I had not heard of the amendment you mention. I tried to get Stacey Reece to look at this exact option when he was pushing this whole mess, but he wouldn’t even entertain the idea.

  9. John Walraven says:

    If you take a look at the law you’ll see very similar language for restaurants and workplaces. Rep. Lindsey essentially “cut and pasted” that language into the restaurant section. Rep. Reece was doing his best to get a tough bill through the Health Committee and to the floor, where, I would imagine, he knew that the House would amend it. He didn’t object to a huge floor amendment–to raise the number of employees a business could have that would be exempt from the law from five to ten–which was adopted without objection.

  10. The Comma Guy says:

    The amazing thing is the number of places that still don’t understand (or respect) the law. I was at a place in Atlanta and some customers lit up. When I complained to my server, I was told that per the bartender, the law only prevented places that allowed unaccompanied minors. Since the children that were eating there with their parents, folks could smoke all they wanted.

    In rural East Georgia, I ate at a place where the “smoking section” was separated from the rest of the establishment by a set of swinging half doors from a Wild West saloon.

  11. John Walraven says:

    I also saw a sign that said that during daylight hours, the establishment served minors and at night, only served 18+, when smoking was allowed. That’s the same thing as me putting a sign on my car that says between 8PM and 8AM, I don’t obey the speed limit. Doubt that would work with one of Georgia’s finest and it shouldn’t work for restaurants. The idea of shutting the doors to minors at a certain time of day was considered but not included in the bill.

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