Smoking Bans (Again)
Posted by bmac on January 25, 2008
I’ve blogged about this quite a few times, and Ryan over at Pro-Patria blogs about this frequently. Sorry if you’ve heard all this before, but it’s a big issue with me, and not because I’m a smoker. This is important, and while it’s already too late to stop it, we should at least think about what we’ve gotten ourselves into with these bans.
I firmly believe these bans pass, not because people are concerned about second hand smoke, but because it’s their one chance to vote into law, a ban that will stick it to people they don’t like. It’s 100% personal. What other ballot questions really give you the chance to do that? To directly say fuck you, with your vote, to an entire group of people?
For the chance to do that, people are more than happy to give up a right or two in the process. In fact, I’d say they’re so consumed with hate, it never even dawns on them to consider for example, that we can have smoking, and non-smoking restaurants and bars. It never even occurs to them that having a choice is better than not having a choice, no matter how you feel about the choice in question. This also applies to the ban on Trans Fats. Because fat people are also easy targets. Two down. You think it’s gonna stop there?
Do you think for a minute, government hasn’t noticed how easy it was to get voters to happily vote away choices? California has taken the ball and run with it, imposing bans on smoking in apartments and condos, and even on the beach. Now they’re trying to get control of homeowners thermostats. (It was killed…..for now)
What if it was the opposite? What if every bar and restaurant had to allow smoking? How would you feel about that? Because there’s no difference.
I live in Las Vegas. Vegas has an unbelivable amount of bars. Not on the Strip, but local bars. There’s one on just about every corner. I’ve never been to a city with more bars, there must be several hundred, easy, in a relatively small valley. There are so many bars because they make thier money on gaming. If you can’t get a gaming license, don’t open a bar in Vegas. The drinks and food are loss leaders for the bars here.
I’m not talking about the big clubs or the casino’s, these are mostly locally owned and operated small businesses. In 06, a smoking ban appeared on the ballot, a smoking ban for bars that serve food, even if that food is a microwaved basket of fries. All the bars serve some kind of food. Of course the ban passed.
The result? Instead of fighting a costly legal battle, most of the bars closed the restaurant portion ot their establishment, as gamblers really like to smoke while they lose the rent money, which means a lot of people lost their jobs, and we now have more drunk drivers on the road, because people can’t chase that shot of tequila with a greasy cheeseburger, the way God intended.
Oh, and we lost one more choice.