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June 01, 2009


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Here in Chicago, after a year and a half, the fanfare has worn off and the lobbybists have moved on. After a winter with subzero windchills and neighbors complaining to police about groups of people congregating outside the bars during the summer, which is illegal in Chicago, the ban is fading into forgotten history in many small neighborhood bars.

Auntie Knickers

So glad to hear that my breakfast at the Main Dish in Luck, WI in July will be smoke-free!

Rick Horowitz

You may want to hold off on that meal for a bit. The new law doesn't become effective until sometime *next* year.

Iro Cyr

I respectfully submit that you're mixing apples with oranges when you bring up past labor laws and compare them to the smoking bans. I suspect that it is your bias against smoking that is clouding your logic.

Contrary to adults, children did not have a choice of whether they wanted to work or not. The law eliminated their exploitation. The operative word here is choice.

Adults still have the choice of working 70 – 80 hours a week. The only thing the law did is prohibit employers from forcing it upon them. I would sure like to see anyone try to stop me from working 80 hour weeks by holding 2 or 3 jobs or getting paid overtime at my regular job! Again the operative word is choice.

There are still many dangerous jobs. Legal safety requirements attempt to make such jobs safer, they do not totally ban the hazard. State of the art ventilation could have made the hospitality venues safer to those choosing to allow smoking and those choosing to work in such venues. If we can efficiently ventilate mines, underground garages and dangerous chemical labs, among many other places, we can sure ventilate a venue that allows smoking. This, assuming that I believe that second hand smoke presents a significant health hazard, which I don't. But this is another story.

Would venues have gone smoke-free if we had left it to the owners? According to the pro-banners, it is the public that overwhelmingly demanded smoke-free venues and that intolerant non-smokers would more than make up for the business lost by smokers staying home. Then why should businesses hesitate to go smoke-free on their own? In reality however, this is all pro-ban propaganda and I agree that most business owners would not have gone smoke-free on their own, but if we’re going to police smoking bans that take away all choice from both business owners and their employees, not to mention patrons, why not police proper ventilation systems in such businesses through periodic inspections?

Physical health should not be a civilization’s only goal either. Mental health, sovereignty of one’s own body, free enterprise and free will, are also part of the goals of a civilized society.
Simple fairness would have been to cater to everyone’s preferences by exempting venues who choose to allow smoking according to the clientele they cater to and demanding proper ventilation for the employees who choose to work in such environments. Anything else is the tyranny of the majority on the minority, no matter which way you slice it.

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