So I hear on the news driving home after work that the the Kansas legislature is working on, and passing, a statewide smoking ban, affecting bars, restaurants, public workplaces, etc, all the usual jargon. With the usual exceptions: Private clubs (paying a fee to the state) and state owned casinos (and if I understand correctly, at least partially state-owned is the only way you will get a casino in Kansas). Sounds like they don’t want to hurt their own businesses with this intrusion, eh?
Now maybe with myself being a smoker, I have a little biased opinion. Sure, I know that smoking is bad for me, and sometimes if I smoke too much one day, I’m hurting the next. Really, getting up there in years and realizing I ain’t as young as I used to be is making me think I really need to cut back, although I can’t bring myself to the point of “I’m quitting!”
Anyway, I don’t understand what is so difficult about this, and why nanny-state busy-bodies in city and state governments, and people like Yael Abouhalkah of the Kansas City Star’s editorial board seem to be so hell-bent on making their ideas law. I think that the business owner is best equipped to decide what sort of business he or she will run. Some in favor of smoking bans talk about how it will help businesses, why, there are so many people who don’t go to bars and restaurants because of those evil smokers.
If business gets better with smoking bans, then it should be a no-brainer for the proprietor to stop it themselves. And, perhaps, even cut down on expenses, like exhaust fans and air filter devices found in some bars.
In most localities that enact smoking bans, there always seems to be at least one “smoke-easy,” like the underground bars in the 1920s, that law enforcement doesn’t bother. So if folks know about the place, and wish to have a drink and smoke, they will go there. As I have read, even police officers in New York City frequent places like that, with no fines or citations handed out.
Here’s an idea: Let’s let the owners decide. And make their choices clear, with a very obvious sign near the entrance, saying “This Establishment Allows/Does Not Allow Smoking On The Premises.” Then, the consumer has a clear choice whether to enter or not. Much like the “No Weapons Allowed” signs.
If the bar across the street that bans smoking is suddenly hopping and raking in cash hand over fist, and the smoker’s lounge is dull, stinky, and dead with no business, then perhaps the owner will take note and make changes accordingly.