Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

My fellow blogger, Tim Trentham, did a very nice post about the proposed smoking ban here in Austin (March 30). I was on the fence previously, but I’m not anymore. I’m in favor of the ban and there are two reasons why: first is this study by the Harvard Medical School which studied the state-wide smoking ban that went into effect July 5, 2004 in Massachusetts. They concluded that the ban had no affect on bars or restaurants:

Patronage in study establishments did not change between pre and post-law measurements. Analyses of economic data prior to and following implementation of the law demonstrated that the Massachusetts state-wide law did not negatively affect state-wide meals and alcoholic beverage excise tax collections. Furthermore, the number of employees in food service and drinking places and accomodation establishments, and keno sales were not affected by the law.

Second is the study done in Helena, Montana about the effects of second-hand smoke. You can see it here on my blog, but much of it is listed below:

“The citizens of Helena voted in June 2002 to ban smoking in all public buildings

7 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on April 7th, 2005 @ 11:38 am

    Thanks for the nod, Mike, and for giving a few studies that support the smoking ban.

    I must say that I’m still torn simply because I’m so close to some of the people who run the small bars and clubs that could be affected by the ban. Not to mention that my band plays in many of these same clubs.

    Personally, I’d like to see the smoke go, but the ban could have a direct negative affect on me if it causes clubs like Beerland, Headhunters and Room 710 to go out of business. I’d have fewer places to play and hang out (not that I get out all that much anymore).

    The club owners really believe that their livelihoods are at risk and I can’t say that I’m still not 100% sure that they shouldn’t be worried. I’ve heard arguments going both ways. It’s a tough issue, that’s why there was so much debate when the current ordinance was passed.

    I’m definitely going to investigate this more on my own before making a decision next month. Perhaps I should invite some of the major players in this to submit posts for a debate here on Austin Metblog? I’ll see if Randall is game from the anti-smoking ban camp. I’m not sure who to contact on the pro-smoking ban side.

  2. Mike Smith (unregistered) on April 7th, 2005 @ 11:42 am

    I think that would be really great. I would love to hear both sides.

  3. ttrentham (unregistered) on April 7th, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

    Oh yeah, today’s the last day to register to vote if you want to have a say in this and the city council seats.

    Also, I want to clarify my position. What I’d really like is for Randall or someone from the Keep Austin Free bunch to prove to me that it’ll hurt business.

    If the ban affects all bars, then I don’t see a problem. Even if the smokers can no longer smoke (and I’d like to see a percentage of live music venue-goers who smoke), they’ll still come to see the bands. Where the hell else are they going to go? Nowhere. I’d also like to see the reasons why this ban might put some bars out of business and not others. How is there a differing financial burden if everyone is affected?

  4. Patrick M (unregistered) on April 11th, 2005 @ 1:11 pm

    I hear what you are saying about the smoking ban. But I must tell you that you cannot just look at one study of how the ban did not affect places of business. In Tempe, AZ. Within the first year of the ban, 40 bars went out of business as they were not high profit bars, much like in Austin. In effect, you will destroy the culture of Austin and what makes it great.

    I don’t believe that people have a right to tell other people who own their own property what to do and how to run it. The owner bought it, it should be their choice. Please don’t make this a government issue, this is a choice issue of the people. It is a moral issue as well as a health issue.

    If you do not want the smoke, don’t go to the places that have smoking. Most places and bars are already smoke free. Don’t take it away from everyone!!!!!!

  5. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on April 12th, 2005 @ 6:59 pm

    I’ve always wondered why someone doesn’t make a hip non-smoking bar in a place like Austin or New Orleans. Let the market for non-smoking venues determine the outcome. To my knowledge, no one has flipped the argument for small business owners.

    Instead of “You’re not going to lose any money.”
    Try “You’re actually going to make more money and be healthier (which may drive another economic incentive – health premiums) at the same time.”

  6. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 13th, 2005 @ 3:57 am

    The problem sounds as if some believe the business sustainability of bars/clubs/restaurants should be put before the health of its patrons. Are businesses happy to take their patrons money with no social conscience for their health?

    I can’t imagine anyone would argue that second-hand smoke is good for you and for every smoker who threatens to not go to their local should the ban be imposed (and really, who cares?), there is already a non-smoker who doesn’t go to their local because of the smoke.

    Or it could be that I’m a tree-hugging hippy :)

  7. basketballjones (unregistered) on June 11th, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

    “Second is the study done in Helena, Montana about the effects of second-hand smoke. You can see it here on my blog, but much of it is listed below”

    I’m afraid u have been duped. This study has never been made available to the public and i doubt it ever will be. The studys statistician, Dr. Stan Glantz, has a Ph.D. in applied mechanics and engineering economic systems, not statistics. Furthermore he’s the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. He’s funded by the federal government to attack the tobacco industry. The National Cancer Institute, for example, gave Glantz $600,000 to “study” tobacco industry lobbying on the state level. I guess lobbying causes cancer too. Sorry u and the rest of the public have once again been duped.

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