Smoking

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donecookn
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2006/07/18 23:34:33 (permalink)

Smoking

Need some input please.
In business 12 years in Pa.. Restaurant has been a smoking establishment.
Business has dropped off and we are going to make the jump to smoke free. What should I expect? Business drop more than pick up? Pick up right away? Oh be still my stomach!
#1

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    Fieldthistle
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 06:22:28 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    Donecookn, I think you'll get some positive re-inforcement from most people here.
    If your restaurant is a eat-fast and run type of place, I doubt you will lose business.
    I am a smoker and at fast food places or restaurants that have a fast customer turnover
    rate, not smoking doesn't bother me.
    But if I am going to sit down for drinks and a meal that will last 30 minutes or more, and
    pay some hefty prices, I refuse to go to non-smoking restaurants.
    Be of good cheer, I think I am a minority and your change will benefit you. If you get
    too many complaints, you can always open a small smoking section later. If you do, locate it
    in the "ghetto" part of your restaurants, in a place that non-smokers do not have to travel through
    and will not notice or participate in the effects of smoking. I, as a smoker, have no wish to
    disturb a non-smoker's meal by my habit.
    Locally, we had a popular restaurant put in an air system that the owner claims makes the air in
    the smoking section of his restaurant more pure, clean, and fresh than in the non-smoking part of his
    business.
    Good luck with your change and I hope your business picks up.
    Take Care,
    Fieldthistle
    #2
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 06:54:19 (permalink)
    i was managing a big place in fl when the law hit. we had to convert. of course there were a few disgruntled butt-heads, but hey, you just tell them they may live an extra day, for that missed stogie.
    as for sales dropping, thats another issue, we would all love to try to help you with. what part of pa are you in?
    often, there are circumstances changing outside you neighborhood, that effect your sales. like a new place opening down the road, or maybe a big traffic draw had changed, like some government building being relocated, or many other possibilities. when you were busier, was there a lot of through-passers, or all regulars/locals. of all locals, then look at what you may have done to loose them, if anything. soemtimes the mistakes we make, are easy to fix. like if the mistake is simply letting the competition out-advertise you. that could be all it is. first, you have to properly troubleshoot your situation.
    just a start.....
    #3
    John A
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 08:03:45 (permalink)
    I manage a 200 room oceanside hotel in Florida. After a major renovation we went to non smoking in all rooms and get many more compliments than complaints, more than a few from smokers as well.

    John
    #4
    pdxyyz
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 08:14:38 (permalink)
    It's one thing to go smoke free because of legislation it's another to make the move on your own.

    How many other establishments in your area are smoke free? Have you talked to them about the change in business?

    How did you determine that smoking was the reason for your drop in business? How long has the problem persisted?

    Here in Wisconsin the city of Madison went smoke free. Those places in the city center didn't suffer at all, but the places on the outskirts where customers had the choice of smoke free on one end of the block and smoking on the other suffered. In fact a number of places gave up their liqour license and shut down because of this.

    I would do more analysis on the situation before making the move.

    Personally I'm a non-smoker and prefer smoke free dining.
    #5
    Kirsby
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 09:08:30 (permalink)
    pdxyyz, I would have to disagree that places in the center of Madison didn't suffer from the smoking ban. I think those places that are mainly drinking establishments suffered a lot. My husband's business partner managed a bar right off the square and lost a huge percent of his business after the ban. And the kicker is that most of the lost business was from state legislators who worked at the capital and would travel outside the city limits so they could smoke.

    He has since left Madison, and Dane County, to open a new bar and restaurant with my husband in Green County. Their place has a non-smoking dining room that is separate from the bar area where smoking is allowed. If your building is set up like this it is a good alternative. They also have an ionizer and ceiling fans in the bar so it never gets very smoky in there unless a lot of people are smoking. I am a non-smoker myself but do not believe legislation should force business owners to make this decision. If the demand is there then the market will drive the decision.
    #6
    blizzardstormus
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 09:55:12 (permalink)
    Donecookn,
    It really depends on what type of restaurant you operate.
    I bought a small family restaurant (non-alcoholic) 4 years ago which had been a smoking establishment. I opened as a non-smoking restaurant. Several other local restaurants have gone to non-smoking over the succeeding years. Our common experience:
    Immediate drop off in breakfast business. Most of the lost business was customers who came in for an hour or two, smoked like a chimney, and only drank coffee (free refills).
    Immediate pickup in lunch business. Local business people (including smokers) don't want to smell like cigarette smoke to their own customers.
    A gradual increase in breakfast business as the non-smoking public found out about our restaurant's policy.

    If you do go non-smoking, I suggest a major cleaning of the dining room to eliminate the smoke odor. This includes menus. You will be surprised how much a menu picks up odor.

    I DO NOT agree with government-mandated legislation on smoking. It should be totally market-driven.
    #7
    joanie41
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 19:48:36 (permalink)
    I am a non-smoker who despises the stench of tobacco. I also hate the fact that the stench clings to my hair and clothes. Such a foul, foul addiction! Whenever possible, I avoid smoky places and spend my money in establishments with clean air.

    In my community, virtually all places are smoke-free, save a few bar/restaurant places that have a completely separate ventilation system in the bar area. The two areas have to also be separated with a glass door (by law). Therefore, when I'm around here, I simply don't have to put up with tobacco smoke, which is great. And business at all Columbia food establishments -- even the crappy ones -- is incredibly strong. There is often a long wait to get a seat. The clean-air rules are NOT hurting business.

    In Baltimore, where I work, it is very different. Most bar/restaurants still allow smoking, and I just hate it. It spoils what should be a pleasant experience. The establishments have that sticky, dirty feel that you get when smoking is permitted.

    In contrast, I was recently up in NY, where smoking is banned everywhere, and it was so lovely. No stench, clean air, no sticky film on everything...just much better in every way. And every bar/restaurant was crowded, so either the smokers have given in, or there were enough non-smokers that it didn't matter. I think the whole "we'll lose business" thing is a myth. If you have a good product, and a well-run business, people will come. And non-smokers like me (who comprise about 80% of the population) will be much happier!
    #8
    soozycue520
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/19 23:57:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by blizzardstormus

    I DO NOT agree with government-mandated legislation on smoking. It should be totally market-driven.


    I totally agree with blizzard on this.

    I am a smoker, but agree that some people loathe the smell, especially while eating. I don't care to frequent a non-smoking establishment. I can wait that long {or longer!} to refrain. It's kinda like, if I go to someone's house, I will not smoke, or will go outside. If I am in a cab, I will ask the driver if he/she minds if I smoke. It's just a common courtesy to me.

    However, if you are in a bar that doesn't serve food, I feel you should know what you're getting into. If the bar advertises itself as non-smoking, then you know you are getting something else. This should not be a government mandated issue. It should be decided by the business owner, who will decide what he/she wants their customer base to be.

    {Disclaimer: As a smoker, I am just a smoker when I drink. I've cut way back in my old age!! }

    #9
    donecookn
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 02:53:53 (permalink)
    Thanks so much for the comments.
    I do believe Pa. will soon force all restaurants to go smoke free.
    I am indeed a smoker and this has been a huge decision for me.
    Business has fallen off the last 2 years to the point of desperation. We began counting our smoker non-smoker custoners and to our astonishment discovered there are more non-smokers now than smokers. Out of 128 counted in a few hours 84 were non-smokers.
    It dawned on me that maybe I am isolating the business by allowing smoking and that if I went smoke free it would open the door to a new customer base. I did some statistic hunting and found out Pa. population is less than 25% smokers and the 65+ crowd who we cater to is around 10% smokers. In my mind I thought maybe we are missing the boat! Of the customers I talked to the ones who really gave me a hard time about going smoke free were the coffee only drinkers. For the most part the money spenders (the food eaters) said if they couldn't go one hour with out a smoke there was something wrong.
    I agree the place will get a good scrubbing just prior to going smoke free. We only seat 58 and there is no way to divide the dinning room to have a non-smoking section. As I said I am a smoker and this is going to be hard on me. We do not serve liquor so there is no problem there. We will be the second small restaurant in the area to go smoke free. The Kings about 8 miles from me is smoke free and they are doing just fine. And too now the Pa. Restaurant Association has changed their position on smoking and will now lobby for non-smoking in public eating places. Personally I dislike the thought of the gov. mandating smoking. I have a friend who lives in Australia and not only has smoking been banned in public eating places it has been banned on the beaches AND in cars with children in them! Now that really bothers me!
    #10
    Peachpie9
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 03:18:00 (permalink)
    As a business person, I have a strong belief in a market-driven economy (NAFTA haters, don't kill me). But I wonder, if the smoking bans hadn't been enacted, would anyone have tried the smoke free life for their establishments? I think they'd have been prevented from it by the very trepidation that the original poster is feeling. Would you even be considering it if there were no success stories to lead the way, donecookn?

    Personally, I'm very happy that many establishments are now smoke free. I like a bar atmosphere occasionally, especially if there's a sporting event with local interest being televised. The ban and its outgrowth have given me more options. I'd never go anywhere where smoking is allowed. Hate the smell and the way it clings, even after I've washed everything--twice. I don't hate smokers, just the smell.

    My daughter graduated from college in June, and we had hotel reservations for the relatives made six months in advance. When we went to check in, they had the rooms, but "unfortunately" one of them was a smoking room. We'd specified non-smoking and that fact was reflected on the confirmation we had with us.

    At that point, they "found" the other non-smoking room. I think they were running low on non-smoking rooms and decided to try to pry some loose from people who had more than one, or something. Imagine trying to clean your things after they've been steeped in that smell for 72 hours. Blech! There is just no way..

    Good luck and I hope you choose smoke free so I can come visit you.

    Catherine

    P.S. FieldThistle, I have to say your position on the controversy is one of the most balanced, practical and generous I have seen. Nice!
    #11
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 08:21:25 (permalink)
    your business will probably increase, without smokers. one reason, you said your customes are 65yrs. probably many of them have not left you, but have left their bodies, due to smoking illnesses. hhmmm...
    its a fact, non-smokers will be your customers longer.

    i have lost many friends due to smoking illnesses. enough for me to wake up! i put down the cig, a few yrs ago. i worry everyday, that i didnt stop soon enough. i cant imagine death at the hand of my own addiction. think about it......

    our gov pays tons of tax dollars for medical treatments to treatsmoke related and, second hand smoke related diseases. that, is why the smoking bann.
    its a monetary thing. next, they might say pay for your own treatment and pain meds, or suffer..
    sorry for the post, but i just want to 'wake up' someone.
    go to www.thetruth.com
    and learn a ton....

    donecookn, i think you should do it fast, like a band-aid and get it over with. then, let us help yo with the business decline issue.
    find a non-partisan, and have them rate your establishment. create your own form, with many aspects of interest. food, surroundings, service.e.t.c.
    this may help you determine some keys.
    #12
    donecookn
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 11:51:34 (permalink)
    August 1 we go smoke free.
    Now if I can get myself to go smoke free with it all! lol
    Actaually its not funny I lost my older sister Nov. 2005 to cancer.
    #13
    V960
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 12:32:36 (permalink)
    I live in NC. We will be the last to go smoke free. Cruise through eastern NC and see all the acres of tobacco plants. Maybe Virginia will be last but we be one of the last.

    As to restaurants going smoke free of theri own accord...you'll get my business. I'm allergic to tobacco smoke and must refrain from being around it. Makes travel to the far east a challenge. I swear even the dogs smoke in China.

    I do agree smokeing should be banned in restautrants and bars however. The employees should not be subjected to this danger. I can put w/ it for a meal but what about the bartender or waitress who swims in it for forty to fifty hours per week.

    #14
    ctrueder
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 12:54:57 (permalink)
    Gotta put my two cents in (kindly disregard the pennies as the ramblings of an old man). I'm an old, retired professor, and one of the "luxuries" I allow myself is a good cigar now and then (Cuban, when my son can bring me a few from Canada )

    But, I would NEVER impose my "smoke" upon someone else. I smoke my cigars outdoors, away from people, and in private. I EXPECT other people to DO THE SAME!

    My wife and I WILL NOT patronize a restaurant that permits smoking (even segregated smoking), nor will we stay in a hotel that allows smoking (ANYWHERE on the property)!

    Neither she nor I can TOLERATE the disgusting smell of stale cigarette smoke.

    Enough said (preached ... )
    #15
    Salustra
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 13:09:53 (permalink)
    donecookn-
    Best wishes with the changeover. Maybe some "Now Smoke-Free!" advertising is in order? Smoking has been forbidden in California restaurants for so long that I forgot it wasn't that way everywhere. A cross-country trip a couple years ago was a culture shock - especially for my kids. They'd NEVER seen people smoking in a restaurant. One place literally made my older boy physically ill (he's slightly asthmatic). So, you know where my sympathies lie.

    As for converting yourself to smoke-free: ask your doctor about Zyban. Hubby used it about 7 years ago with relative ease and great success. Best $120 we ever spent! Quitting will be easier for you working in a non-smoking environment. Best wishes with that part, too!
    #16
    donecookn
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/20 22:30:23 (permalink)
    Thank you ALL so much!
    I never expected such positive answers!
    Ok August 1 here we go!
    #17
    AndreaB
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/21 08:22:08 (permalink)
    I smoke, and it's the stupidest thing I've ever done. I'm trying to quit, and would welcome a smoke-free restaurant in my town (I don't smoke in restaurants anyway). It really is a disgusting habit and I could kick myself for ever starting.

    Andrea
    #18
    UncleVic
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/21 11:28:17 (permalink)
    I've read stories like this all over the country (mainly from the goverment forcing their strong arm)... But from what I've read, business take a dip in sales for a few days, then swing right back to where they where. Some owners like it also because of a quicker turnaround. People not hanging out smoking leave quicker, thus freeing up a table for the next customer...
    Being a smoker it really dont bother me... Only non smoking places I will not visit are the ones that serve alcohol. Gots to have a smoke with that mixed drink!


    #19
    jofie
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/24 22:24:26 (permalink)
    I have never smoked in my life. Doctors tell me that I have Emphysema. How fair is that? I could never tolerate smoke. In my early years I worked in an office where everyone smoked but me, it was so bad that I passed out one day. I didn't know better at the time but that should have been a reason to leave the job.

    This past Friday, my husband and I entered a restaurant, immediately I complained of the smoke, of course the staff bent over backwords to open a window to ease my discomfort. We were seated in the non-smoking section but the area still reeked of smoke.

    The next morning we stopped at a small diner for breakfast. Again, the smoke was intolerable, we turned around and walked out and traveled a bit further to another diner, there was smoking and non-smoking sections, we were seated in the non-smoking, the air was fine until bikers entered the joint and proceeded to smoke, needless to say, I was out of there in a flash.

    We will continue from now on, to leave any establishment that allows smoking to overtake the non-smoking area.

    Congratulations 'donecookn' on your decision to go smokeless!
    #20
    ellen4641
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 00:15:43 (permalink)
    NJ just went smoke free April 15th! (except for the casinos.........that's not right, is it?
    They are too powerful) There is already a 20 year veteratn casino "floorperson" employee, Victor Hennick suing cause he has lung cancer, and never smoked (just 2nd hand smoke!!!)

    I lived in CA for awhile, and got spoiled there as well, with the NS laws..

    It's funny, cause I was just at the Amtrak Train Station in Philly, and almost told someone "you're not supposed to be smoking here", but then I realized that YES, they were legal. PA is not politically correct yet.
    No "crime" was being commited. But it sure felt like there was....

    #21
    MacTAC
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 01:21:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by donecookn

    I have a friend who lives in Australia and not only has smoking been banned in public eating places it has been banned on the beaches AND in cars with children in them! Now that really bothers me!
    ... " AND in cars with children in them! Now that really bothers me!"

    Smoking in cars with children really bothers me. I think that should be illegal everywhere, without a second thought.

    Good luck on the changeover, I think it'll go well and good luck on quitting yourself. When I quit a two and a half pack a day habit thirty years ago, my brother and I made a bet (for dinner of course :-) and neither of us has smoked since. A friend also was part of that wager, didn't succeed and still smokes to this day.

    I had tried several times previously, but this time I had switched to Vantage (like inhaling air then, but would probably do a job on me now) from Marlboro. I think the switch made it a little easier. What also helped for me was to not think about how long I would be suffering attempting to quit, but to think that as long as I don't light up, I've already succeeded. The process was over. Of course the withdrawal symptoms were still there, but I believe that mindset is what made it successful.

    Again, best of luck to you...
    #22
    donecookn
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 05:00:01 (permalink)
    Of course the coffee drinkers/smokers are giving me a hard time about all of this. They are betting on how long we stay open after August 1st with out smoking allowed.
    The smokers who eat for the most part say they will be back.
    This should be very interesting!
    But the customer count shows non-smokers are out numbering the smokers!
    But my stomach is still flip flopping!
    #23
    doggydaddy
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 11:28:21 (permalink)


    donecookin,

    I too used to equate cigarettes with morning coffee and going to the bar. I used to be a pack+ a day smoker, but not any more. That said, I still enjoy a cigar. The restaurants that I worked at don't allow smoking due to state laws. This causes the bar patrons to stand outside, looking like guilty pariahs.

    As for the dining experience, I don't care if the place is smoke free as I figure that I can go for an hour or two without smoking. If it is alcohol free, that is okay too as long as the food is good.
    Any smoker who avoids a restaurant due to smoking restrictions has a serious problem. Face it, if it is a state restriction, they will eventually HAVE to break down and go out to eat. How are they able to fly cross country?

    I think that your concerns were big issues other cities in the nation where smoking was prevalent. After going cold turkey they managed to survive and prosper. I think that bars are the only places that had a decline in business after the change. They addressed that problem by having a outdoor space that protects the customers from the elements.

    I am smoking a cigar right now and I still say 'Go for it.'

    mark
    #24
    Donna Douglass
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 11:56:02 (permalink)
    Once upon a time I smoked, for about 40 plus years. Then in 1994 I had a heart attack and immediately quit smoking and have never looked back. But today I have emphysema and am tethered to oxygen, a nebulizer and all the meds associated with heart and lung problems. Therefore, I'm very sorry I ever smoked.

    But I do not like government regulation and so am torn when it comes to new laws and regulations governing what people can and cannot do. I cannot tolerate breathing smoke anymore, and so we avoid those places which allow smoking. This is no hardship although there are probably many really good places to eat that allow smoking. But I have found that it isn't worth the time spent in hospital due to inhaling second hand smoke, which is what has happened to me several times.

    I do sympathize with businesses that suffer due to regulations and feel that there should always be the option of choice; smoke or non-smoke. Our local city has recently enacted a non-smoking law but has a loophole whereby a business can get an exemption if they don't allow anyone under 18 to eat/drink in their establishment. In this particular instance, I can think of only two places that have legal smoking.....every place else in town is smoke-free.

    Didn't mean to ramble about this, but just wanted to state that a non=smoker (formerly smoker) does understand and sympathizes with the businessman who has to look to his livelihood.

    Also, I have found that it is quite pleasant to walk into a place that smells clean of smoke and is much more agreeable to the dining experience.

    Donna
    #25
    -Tricky-
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 13:44:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Donna Douglass

    But I do not like government regulation and so am torn when it comes to new laws and regulations governing what people can and cannot do. I cannot tolerate breathing smoke anymore, and so we avoid those places which allow smoking. This is no hardship although there are probably many really good places to eat that allow smoking. But I have found that it isn't worth the time spent in hospital due to inhaling second hand smoke, which is what has happened to me several times.

    I do sympathize with businesses that suffer due to regulations and feel that there should always be the option of choice; smoke or non-smoke. Our local city has recently enacted a non-smoking law but has a loophole whereby a business can get an exemption if they don't allow anyone under 18 to eat/drink in their establishment. In this particular instance, I can think of only two places that have legal smoking.....every place else in town is smoke-free.


    What about the employees? Don't they have the right to as safe a working environment as can be provided?
    #26
    Scorereader
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 13:56:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by joanie41



    In contrast, I was recently up in NY, where smoking is banned everywhere, and it was so lovely. No stench, clean air, no sticky film on everything...


    except for McDuffs but that sticky film wasn't smoke! (eww)

    #27
    Scorereader
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 14:05:54 (permalink)
    Might I make a suggestion?

    In NYC, many smokers congregate on the sidewalk outside the restaurant door to smoke. There is usually some sort of "ashtray" or other place to put the butts. This usually means the non-smokers have to walk through the smokers to get inside.

    My suggestion, is to create an outside patio, possibly on the side of the building, for a smoking area. Thus, giving the smokers a designated place to smoke AND keeping the smoke out of the reastaurant AND away from the main entrance where non-smokers walk through.




    #28
    saps
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    • Joined: 2003/08/18 16:22:00
    • Location: wheaton, IL
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 14:09:37 (permalink)
    The problem with smoking is that it became so commonplace and socially acceptable over time, smokers assumed that they had rights.

    But in reality, it is a public nuisance and should be treated as such. No one has the right to fire carcinogens into the air for public consumption; it's no different than dumping poisonous chemicals into public waterways. Should we eliminate the legislation on that?

    Then there is just the common courtesy of it. Most people refrain from farting and belching in dining areas. Although neither causes cancer, they can be malodorous, cause breathing problems, and make your eyes water. How does cigarette smoking differ? (Aside from the fact that farts are funny)

    #29
    pdxyyz
    Cheeseburger
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    • Joined: 2003/05/30 09:39:00
    • Location: not here, OR
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    RE: Smoking 2006/07/25 14:27:56 (permalink)
    I guess that following the logic presented that grilling should be illegal because it burns fossil fuels and pollutes and can create carcinogens if done improperly.

    And lets not stop at that, how about cars, manufacturing plants, bonfires and burning leaves all contributing to bad air.

    And methane in the atmosphere is a problem, so while farts may be funny they are an ecological problem.

    While it is all fine and dandy to hop on the anti-smoking band wagon, let's not forget the number of things we all do that add to the pollution in the world. Making smoking illegal isn't going to stop the smog alerts in LA.

    #30
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