Sunday, November 16, 2008

SMOKING BAD FOR BUSINESS-BAD HEALTH BAD FOR ECONOMY

Where did I hear someone say “Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?” What a great metaphor! I could not agree more with this statement so when Ohio joined the growing number of progressive states prohibiting smoking indoors, I was ecstatic! I helped to pass out a lot of information about why the ban is a good idea to those who would vote on the issue so I had such a great feeling of helping to accomplish a milestone in this state. The archaic argument that bars or restaurants will lose business if smoking is prohibited is finally revealing itself as the ‘smoke and mirror’ myth that it really is. The only benefits go to the tobacco industry as far as I am concerned.

I have always looked at the “restaurants/bars would lose business without smoking” notion as B.S. and in fact believed that such establishments would actually lose more business if they permitted smoking within their confines---by chasing away the buying power of all those who refrain from going out because of the concern of being subjected to second hand smoke.

Additionally, what about the costly damage second hand smoke does to interiors like carpet, cloth, walls, and light fixtures. (uhhh…besides everyone’s lungs!) I also factored the cost levied on the public in terms of health care and lost productivity in the workforce due to smoking related illnesses. Did anyone ever consider lost revenue for bars or restaurants---and expense on society because of those factors? Major world cities like New York and Sydney, Australia--as well as one of the largest states, California, have all implemented smoking bans and no one is shutting down because it. In fact, many argue that business has increased. All of those places have plenty of smokers as well and smoke bans have not stopped them from going out!

I often wondered at what point did society deem it appropriate… or more importantly, necessary, to accommodate a self indulgent and destructive habit that satisfies a few---BUT…hurts many innocent others----in their place of business---Especially in such a place as a restaurant, where the food should be the major attraction??? When did all that start and WHY? To illustrate the stupidity in the logic of accommodating bad habits ,like smoking in restaurants, I will say that we should not discriminate against those who prefer a farting section! How about a nose picking and booger flinging section while were at it? Yes, sounds ridiculous, but is it any less ridiculous than the idea of smoke from one or two people creeping around and polluting everyone else’s personal airspace. At least you stand a better chance of the fart gas dissipating before it reaches your table than the smoke!

The smoke free workplace in Ohio was passed by voters in November of 2006 overwhelmingly and will only work and be fair when all places comply. That is why I just get so infuriated when I see violations occurring. It is not fair to places actually trying to do the right thing.

One other point about a bar or restaurant losing business…I ask: TO WHOM? If all smoking is banned in all places statewide across the board, and other states following the trend, is someone going to travel out of state until they find a place in a particular state where they can smoke? Maybe so, but IF so, it demonstrates the serious problem of a personal self indulgent addiction that would cause someone to drive so far just to suck smoke into their lungs. It really says something about the pathetic state of a drug addicted society---and we should not build an economy around bad habits that will end up levying a cost burden on all of society in the future.

It is time for restaurant and bar owners to craft a new vision and philosophy about the kinds of customers they can attract. There is an untapped and neglected market of health conscious individuals. Is the non-smoking crowd’s money not good enough? Why is it that some of the most successful restaurant chains and local businesses in Greater Cleveland and North East Ohio are smoke free--and have been long before the ban?

If restaurants or bars are depending on smokers to be a part of generating most of their business rather than the product the establishment actually offers (good food and drink and fun times)---Well, all I can say its that‘s pretty sad and just plain dysfunctional. It’s just sooooo…. “Wal-Mart!” Like I said, the health cost burden and lack of productivity in the economy courtesy of a sick populous is not worth the rest of us continuing to tolerate it as we have for years.

Hey smokers, no one said you cannot smoke…No one is taking your right to kill yourself away. All the law is saying is that you now must exercise your responsibility and do it in such a way where it does not affect others. Freedom without exercising your responsibility is NOT your right or anyone else’s. It is simple: you just have to go outside--and while you’re e at it, please do one more thing, could you stand far away enough from the door so that the second hand smoke does not get sucked back inside when people are coming and going? Oh amd wait…One more itty bitty thing, please bin your butts. The earth is not your ashtray.

The majority--the non-smokers have tolerated you for many years, while you have imposed unhealthiness upon us---now it is our turn to impose healthiness on you. Sorry, some of us have the selfish interest of wanting to breathe. Thanks to a grass roots effort by Ohio activists and voters, we have helped make that possible---and now we can move in a more progressive and productive direction in society.

Lastly, to all those who support the ban and realize the benefits, if you notice any smoking violations in Ohio, please call and report them to the Ohio Department Of Health’s toll free smoking violation line at 1-866-559-OHIO (6446). Your help counts. Please note the name of the establishment, address of violation, the approximate time and date, and the county of which the violation took place. Listed below is an unofficial list of those who chose to violate the smoke free law. Make it clear to them that you will not support those who break the law. Inquire with the Ohio State Department of Health what happens to those establishments who purposely balk at the new law.

Below is a link to an unofficial list of those establishments in Ohio who chose to balk at the law.

http://www.smokechoke.com/



P.S. I can find a lot more people who 'smoked for 40 years' who are DEAD, than the one exception smokers frequently point out about some relative of theirs, their Grandpappy, who smoked for 40 years and is just fine! Absurd logic!

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