March 8, 2005

THERE ARE NO UNHAPPY PURITANS:

Smoking ban worries turn to ashes (TOM BENNER, 3/08/05, Patriot Ledger)

By the best measures available, Massachusetts restaurants have seen business go up - not down - since a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars went into effect July 5.

Gee, you mean most people prefer their meals without a stench of death?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2005 8:41 PM
Comments

Oh, of course there are unhappy puritans: Someone, somewhere is out there, smoking a cigarette and liking it.

Posted by: mike at March 8, 2005 9:18 PM

Yes, they aren't a Puritan or they'd not treat themself so contemptuously.

Posted by: oj at March 8, 2005 9:41 PM

Uh, the puritan isn't the one smoking in that joke.

Posted by: mike at March 8, 2005 9:56 PM

Ban restaurants too, they encourage sloth and gluttony.

Posted by: carter at March 8, 2005 10:27 PM

I'm a beleiver on this one. I had been against on, well, libertarian grounds. But, having recently spent some time in New York City, I must say that bars and restaurants are better without the smoke.

Here's an idea, though: restaurants can be all smoking, or all non-smoking, but not both. Add a tax break for non-smoking...

Posted by: Seven Machos at March 8, 2005 10:30 PM

mike:

No, the unhappy one is.

Posted by: oj at March 8, 2005 10:45 PM

Restaurants should not have smoking. If you're actually trying to eat something, you shouldn't have to smell smoke.
Bars, however, should encourage smoking. There are few greater pleasures in life than a bourbon and a Camel. Drinking and smoking go together like Republicans and fiscal irresponsibility.

Noel Erinjeri

Posted by: Noel Erinjeri at March 8, 2005 10:58 PM

Research I have been conducting for my employer shows that restaurants usually see little or no drop off when smoking is banned, but bans do not affect most of them anyway. Here in the Puget Sound region, 70% of restaurants are already non-smoking. Evidence shows that bars, taverns and casinos ARE affected by smoking bans and many suffer, especially when bans are not universal. When an illegal ban was enforced in the Tacoma area, bars and privately owned (and very small) casinos were greatly affected, but the local (and very large) tribal casino was a huge winner as it did not have to follow the ruling. The same is true for a proposed state ban that would affect every business in the state EXCEPT tribal casinos. So, along with not paying the state minimum wage ($7.35hr), the state employment taxes or the large excise taxes that my employer must pay, they would also get this boon. I am against smoking bans on adult businessesbut I am for them for any business that allows children. Adults can make their own choices and the market can sort out the situation.

Posted by: Pat H at March 8, 2005 11:14 PM

I'm with Noel. Bars are dens of sin and vice anyway, so banning smoking in them is like having anti-swearing rules in a whorehouse.
Of course, OJ is against the existence of public taverns too, so that argument probably won't fly with Juddles.

Posted by: Governor Breck at March 9, 2005 6:36 AM

Noel,

As I non-smoker I sympathize. But I think a restaurant can make its own choices, because, after all, it knows its clientele better than you and I or certainly the State does. There are also hybrid environments like sports bars where one eats and drinks, where the menu matters as much as the booze. Most of the better restaurants ban cigars and pipes in the dining area anyway.

Posted by: Bart at March 9, 2005 11:46 AM

If second-hand smoke is really a health risk then smoking in restauants is a public health concern. If one argues that the restaurant should allow smoking and let the patrons decide whether or not to risk their health then do they also aruge to abolish periodic checks of restaurants by the health department? After all, let the restaurant have a filthy, roach infested kitchen, if the public chooses to eat there then that's their choice.

Posted by: Shelton at March 9, 2005 12:11 PM

The public can walk in and see people smoking, even if they are the first ones in the place, they can see ashtrays. Generally, they cannot walk in and see the cockroaches or other filth, as most restaurants understand that diners do want even a basic level of hygiene. Health issues are a far more latent defect. The customer who does not wish to risk the dubious harm of 'second hand smoke' can observe the situation and eat elsewhere.

OTOH, I would say that a health check for a hot dog pushcart is a waste of time and money. You eat there at your own risk.

Posted by: Bart at March 9, 2005 12:27 PM

The basic point is: If smoking bans help business then restaurants would adopt them voluntarily anyway, and these blue-nosed, Puritanical, anal-retentive, totalitarian (whew!) laws would be unnecessary. As a couple of posters mentioned, many restaurants have done exactly this. But what's with the government running its boot up the small business-person's ass to enforce this nonsense?

OJ: "I do/ don't like this policy" is not an argument of principle.

Posted by: Tom at March 9, 2005 8:03 PM

Tom:

No, the principle is Imago Dei.

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2005 8:41 PM

Imago Dei governs the municipal bar and restaurant codes?

Standing by for Harry...

Posted by: Peter B at March 9, 2005 9:02 PM

Points for erudition; I had to look that one up.

Posted by: Tom at March 10, 2005 7:59 AM

The principal is the Nanny State.

I seem to remember the Bible saying something about not being thy brother's keeper.

No matter what image thy brother was made in.

Guess that doesn't apply to OJ's world.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at March 10, 2005 8:25 PM

Jeff:

Is that supposed to be a joke? Cain asked if he was his brother's keeper after killing him. God's answer was, yes.

That's the paternal state by the way, as it involves morality.

Posted by: oj at March 10, 2005 8:29 PM
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