Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Yes, please

Gov. Jim Doyle asked lawmakers Monday to pass a statewide smoking ban before they adjourn for the year at the end of next week.
Yes, please.

I frequent bars and clubs (on account of playing in a band) and have only increased my patronage since the Madison ban went into effect. It has been a huge boon to me personally and to a number of people I know. An example: I sometimes sing for this group, and before the ban, it wasn't uncommon for my throat to close up and cause me to have a coughing fit in the middle of a song. That's not at all what an audience wants to hear (regardless of what they think of our music in general), nor is it something I enjoy doing.

Another bonus courtesy of the ban comes in the form of the weekly Bennett's ad in the Onion. I always look forward to discovering what crazy new illogical rant will accompany the plug for smut n' eggs.

But these are just small anecdotes. There are quite a few very good reasons to ban smoking in "public buildings, workplaces, restaurants and taverns."

I do understand the concerns of bar/club owners, and those expressed by the always vocal Tavern League. If the state were trying to ban something like, say, playing darts, then I'd be right behind them in their calls to block it. But we're talking about a proven poison, something that doesn't just harm the smoker, but wafts out and harms everyone around them, too. Hell, if you need your tobacco fix, take up the always charming "smokeless tobacco" (see: chew) habit. Just don't spit it onto my shoes.

The Tavern League's website has a list of bars that closed in 2007, supposedly as a result of the ban. Thing is, how does this compare to years' past? Where's the hard data linking their closures to loss of revenue due to the ban? How many of those places were headed for closure regardless of/before the ban went into effect? The Green Room, for instance, was a cavernous place filled with pool tables. Maybe they just couldn't afford the large space? And Bru's Anchor Inn, as far as I was aware, was having trouble staying open before the ban went into effect.

Like all things, businesses must learn to adapt or perish. It's harsh, but isn't that how we, the capitalists pigs, encourage innovation and improvement? Plus there's that whole cigarettes fucking kill thing, but I hate to sound so negative. Wait, no I don't....

(image credit: tobaccofree.org)

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