I hate that I keep feeling the need to get into the smoking ban debate. Actually, what I hate more is that there is still a debate at all. But bad habits die hard and ban opponents are going to keep pushing back until they finally realize that their dirty habit is no longer going to be tolerated where the public can be harmed.
The Springfield city council tonight is going to consider two proposals that would, at best, water down the city-wide smoking ban, or, at worst entirely gut it. Neither option is acceptable to me but we’ll see what the council decides.
Meanwhile, the SJ-R published this hyperbolic screed by the executive director of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, Steve Riedl.
I have a few comments about Mr. Riedl’s version of “logic”.
First, the arrogance of his first paragraph is stunning:
How long can you and your family survive without a paycheck? A month, perhaps two months? This is what Springfield’s bar owners are experiencing because of the smoking ban. Their net business income is their paycheck - and scores of them have been without a paycheck for two months now. These people and their families are suffering immeasurably.Really. How about the families of cancer victims and their immeasurable suffering? Ever watch someone die of cancer? Oh wait, I forgot according to you guys there is absolutely nothing wrong with second hand smoke. Silly me, stuck the in the reality-based universe again.
Then there’s this:
People know that these entities cater to this segment of society and that, whileOh brother. Now in the interest of “diversity” we have to put up with public smoking. Perhaps smokers deserve special minority status too. Let’s call it “smoking affirmative action.”
smoking should be severely limited, society has to allow the use of a legally sanctioned product in a few limited venues. After all, our country is based on respecting and promoting diversity.
Our industry and this organization support a comprehensive smoking ban for Springfield. We have always maintained this position, despite being portrayed by anti-smoking groups and a few media outlets as the evil entity that would allow smoking anywhere.Yes, I’ve always been very appreciative of your organization’s opposition to smoking in preemie wards and daycares. Come on, the argument is only seriously over restaurants, bars and other public social gathering places and your position has been to allow smoking in those places universally.
Again, employing logic, we all really knew these businesses would suffer. Most people probably hoped that the suffering would not be as extreme as it has been. These businesses have been forced into a crisis situation solely to satisfy a minority of vocal Springfield residents who have an extremist viewpoint on the issue.A minority of vocal Springfield residents? Seems to me the stokers are the vocal ones and they are definitely in the minority.
Oh, and we have been warned:
Again, employ logic and reasoning. Do not rely on the anti-smoking propagandaAs a card-carrying member of the Anti-Smoking Propaganda Machine I want to make it clear that I’m also a member of the Anti- Food Poising Reeducation Committee and the Pro-Stop Light Ministry of Truth. Just so you know.
machine to make your decision for you.
On economics alone, the Springfield City Council should take action to grant narrow exemptions to Springfield’s smoking ban.The economics of the situation will be remedied in the long run. The inevitable state-wide ban will help greatly. For those smokers who still stay home, guess what, they will spend their money somewhere even if it’s not in a bar. I know this because as Americans they will not save any extra money. Nope, it’ll be spent boosting another part of the economy.
Bars and restaurants, especially local ones, are some of the most volatile businesses there are. Many open and close here each year. Even if some closing can be (in part) pinned on the smoking ban, well that’s the cost of social change. The vast majority of establishments will not close and new ones will continue to open. There will always be a wide variety of places to eat and drink in the city, meaning many places will have figured out how to survive and prosper even with the smoking ban.
By the way, anyone looked at the parking lot of the newly opened Corner Pub at Koke Mill and Iles on any given night? They opened after the ban a few weeks ago and don’t seem to be short of customers.