Smoking Ban Upheld and Clarified

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a ruling today on the city’s one year old smoking ban. He clarified what steps a bar owner must take to be in compliance with the ordinance.

A bar owner must post “no smoking” signs and remove ashtrays and other smoking accouterments, Sparks ruled. If a patron continues to smoke, the owner can no longer be held liable for not taking additional steps.

Makes sense. Chip recently went into a bar where the establishment clearly wasn’t doing what was required by the law. He filed a complaint and got quite a few nasty comments on his post about it. It’s clearly still a contentious issue even after a year. Most, both smoker and non-smoker, seem to have moved on.

4 Comments so far

  1. Thomas Laprade (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 12:58 am

    Smoking bans are the real threat…

    Dear Editor. Oct. 12/06

    The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation from
    sea to sea has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed threat
    of second-hand smoke.
    The bans are symptoms of a far more grievous threat; a cancer that has been
    spreading for decades. This cancer is the only real hazard involved — the
    cancer of unlimited government power.
    The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom
    menace. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper reaction?
    Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating people about
    the potential danger and allowing them to make their own decisions, or
    should they seize the power of government and force people to make the
    “right” decision?
    Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than
    attempting to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the
    tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.
    Loudly billed as measures that only affect “public places,” they have
    actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and
    offices — places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose
    customers are free to go elsewhere if they don’t like the smoke. Some local
    bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is obviously
    negligible, such as outdoor public parks.
    The decision to smoke, or to avoid second-hand smoke, is a question to be
    answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment
    of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding
    every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend
    or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married
    or divorced, and so on.
    All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful
    consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the
    neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must
    be free, because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only
    his own judgment can guide him through it.
    Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette
    smokers are a numerical minority, practising a habit considered annoying and
    unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the
    power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.
    That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of
    inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your
    favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm
    at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited
    intrusion of government into our lives.

    Thomas Laprade
    Thunder Bay, Ont.
    Ph. 807 3457258

  2. Michael J. McFadden (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 1:34 am

    Tim Trentham wrote of the Austin smoking ban, “It’s clearly still a contentious issue even after a year. Most, both smoker and non-smoker, seem to have moved on.”

    It certainly IS still a “contentious issue” in Austin and in every other state and city where such bans have been enacted. A substantial segment of the population has been unjustly vilified and abused by laws and their misapplications. For the most part the target of those laws, bars, restaurants, and smokers, have grudgingly followed them because they felt they had no power and no choice in the matter.

    Judge Sparks’ ruling truly follows the spirit upon which America was founded: when a government oversteps its bounds it is up to free citizens to stand up and say “No more!” and challenge that government to abide by our Consititution.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  3. spyglass (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 9:48 am

    Very well said, the both of you.

    Smoking is Healthier than Fascism.

  4. ttrentham (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

    Thanks, carpetbaggers. Like I give a fuck what someone from Ontario and Pennsylvania thinks about something we enacted here.

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