April 14, 2003

New York City Smoking Ban.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:32 pm

Yesterday, Dana Blake, a bouncer in a Manhattan Night Club, was fatally stabbed as he sought to enforce New York City’s two-week old law that prohibits smoking in New York City’s saloons. The reason for the smoking ban, we are told, is that smoking is dangerous to others. It certainly did not work out well for Mr. Blake.

Now, I know that the no-smoking law did not kill Dana Blake; two punks, probably both well oiled by 2:30 a.m. did the killing. However, the incident has caused me to think a bit about the extent to which the health of others is really what drove this sledgehammer legislation. It seems to me that between smoking and booze (both of which I am fond of), booze is far and away the bigger societal problem. Consider these make-believe headlines:

Woman Found Badly Beaten
Police reported that after a night of binge smoking, the victim’s husband returned to the house in a smoking-induced rage and beat her savagely.

Bus Plunges From Bridge, Killing Dozens
The investigation into this horrible tragedy revealed that John So and So, the bus driver, had been smoking heavily before driving the bus.

Deadly Fight Breaks Out at House Party
Police responded to a loud brawl outside the home of Mr. and Mrs. So and So. The investigation revealed that several of the participants in the fight, including the victim, had been smoking heavily at the party.

Car Smashes into Pedestrians, Causing Numerous Injuries
Police reported that the driver of the car in question had been smoking just before the accident in question.

New Year Marked by Huge Vehicle Pileup Results in Multiple Fatalities
Fifteen automobiles were involved in a multiple car crash that brought traffic to a standstill for hours on Route 24. The preliminary results of the accident investigation revealed that virtually every one of the drivers involved in the accident had been smoking heavily at New Year’s Eve celebrations that were being held at various places in the state.

So, one might ask, perhaps instead of laws that ban smoking in saloons, we should have laws that ban drinking in saloons. Let me answer that intentionally silly rhetorical question for you. The only reason that booze has not been outlawed in saloons is because the beautiful people who decided that they don’t like smoke, do like cocktails. Simply put, they want to be able to drink in a smoke-free tavern, and the smokers in New York City will just have to deal with it.

To get there, the beautiful people and others who make a living from telling others how to live their lives, have taken away the ability of a bar-owner to decide, based on market forces, whether he might want to permit smoking in his establishment. If the market were to dictate that non-smoking bars were the moneymakers, they would naturally proliferate, and they would do so without the force of governmental regulation.

I know…..I know…..I know….. The purpose of the law is to protect the people who have to work in a place where people are smoking. This was a stroke of genius on the part of the beautiful people. You see, the anti-smoking law is not about them –the limousine liberals – it’s really about the poor workers. Sorry, Buffy, but I don’t buy it. I would hazard a guess that for every bartender who claims to have been bothered by smoking, one can find twenty who were not bothered – many of who are smokers themselves.

I am certain that there are many jobs that are much more dangerous or potentially hazardous to one’s health than being a bartender in a saloon where patrons are permitted to smoke. I also cannot help but wonder why, if smoke truly bothers a bartender, he/she chose that career path in the first place. Further, he/she could seek employment in one of the non-smoking bars that would spring up all over the place, if we are to believe that ridding saloons of smoke is vitally important to most people and not just another bit of social engineering on the part of those with the political clout and savvy to make it happen.

Finally, I understand that there is an exception in the New York law that permits cigar bars. That just proves that the beautiful people enjoy a good cigar with their cocktails.

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