Friday, March 28, 2008

Fitchburg joins the fun

Provided it's not all an elaborate April Fools prank, the city of Fitchburg (Madison's southernly neighbor) will go smoke-free on April 1st of this year. While the rest of the state waits to see what our fine Legislature does come the next session (zzzzz), it's interesting to see individual towns and cities taking the initiative to deal with the problem themselves.

Of course, Fitchburg's ordinance includes an exemption until April 2011 for 4 businesses that apparently meet the requirements to be considered "existing small taverns," "existing bowling centers" and "tobacco bars." I'm a little torn on this. While the exemption for "tobacco bars" has always made sense to me--I mean, if the main purpose of a business is the selling and enjoyment of tobacco, they would have a valid argument to make about a ban negatively affecting their livelihood, and why would a non-smoker want to go/work there anyway?--but the other exemptions seem a bit strange. Does it really take 3 years for a business to ready itself for a smoking ban? I highly doubt that, and in the meantime it doesn't do what blanket bans are supposed to do: level the playing field for everyone by applying the rule equally.

Still, I suppose it's progress, and on the off chance that the state Legislature actually gets around to passing a ban next session, there's a chance that the 2011 extension will be trumped anyway. To make a terrible pun, though, I won't be holding my breath.

UPDATE: Just noticed a Badger Herald article stating that Eau Claire has also joined the ranks of cities banning indoor smoking. Congrats to them, too. Although it is disheartening to see that people are still parroting the Tavern League's completely unsubstantiated talking point about how many bars have closed in Madison allegedly due to the smoking ban.

1 comment:

John A said...

Nice! I hit movies over at Star pretty frequently, and the Dry Bean is the best nearby place to get a drink afterwards. I'll look forward to coming home and not smelling like ass. :)

The Lost Albatross