IBJOpinion

Smoking laws are slippery slope

March 19, 2011
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

I finally have reached my breaking point and felt compelled to write a letter in response to last week’s editorial. I find it increasingly disturbing that a publication which purports to call itself a “business” journal continues to preach anti-business rhetoric. To devote what seems to be every other weekly editorial to chastise state legislators for their failure to enact a statewide smoking ban, is a smack to the face of American capitalism.

The last time I checked cigarettes are a legal product and smoking them in the sanctity of your own home or in a myriad of other places indoors and out is still not a prosecutable offense. So, my premise is that business owners should be allowed to determine whether their bar, restaurant, casino, or private club is smoking or not. Their establishments are after all private property.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that while I am not a cigarette smoker, I am an occasional cigar smoker. I absolutely do not want to eat my filet mignon next to a table of smokers, so I choose to eat at Eddie Merlot’s, which has banned smoking. But if I want to have a beer and a cigar while I chat with friends, I now have several choices in which to do so. Enacting a comprehensive ban on liberty as you call for reminds me of Orwell’s “1984”.

The system we have now works, period. Economic factors determine which establishments are smoking and which are smoke free. Many restaurants have gone smokeless such as Scotty’s Brewhouse. Scott Wise will tell you that he is smoke free because he makes more money being smoke free.

On the other hand, to not allow smoking in an establishment such as the Indy Cigar Bar or Nikki Blaine’s in which every patron and worker is fully cognizant of the benefits and risks is akin to discrimination. After all, we all eat and drink. Next thing you know, we’ll be telling The Cheesecake Factory that they can’t sell cheesecake due to the high fat content.

Mark my words IBJ, this current movement is a slippery slope of diminishing liberty and business opportunity.

____________

Mark A. Paul
 

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  • Heya!
    Hey! Thanks for the warm words Bumstead! Send me an email at Cantiloper over on AOL and I'll send you a copy of the latest "Stiletto." I think you'll make good use of it.

    Greg, it's diluted a LOT more than one in ten. It's more like one in ten thousand, even if you're trying to follow the nasty ol' smoker around so you can enjoy the aroma. I just did an analysis after an article about open air campus bans at the U of PA site and a little analysis using one of the newer outdoor ETS studies and the basic EPA Report figures produced something interesting. Evidently with all this worry about campus smoke, one of those "perpetual grad student" types would have to go to school at Penn for 192 MILLION years on the average in order to get lung cancer from the campus smoke.

    :)
    MJM
  • Its about time something gives...
    I have just about had enough of all this anti-smoker babble that the media and bleeding heart wussies keep pushing on people. I swear the next time some sad looking over feminine guy walks past me knowing darn well I'm smoking and says 'You offended me with your cigarette', I'm going to punch him in his mouth. These laws and the people supporting them help nobody. All they do is hurt those who just want to have their god given rights to enjoy their lives the way they want to. I don't smoke because I'm addicted.. I smoke because I like it and want to continue. I didn't start smoking because I was peer pressured or that tobacco companies properly marketed to me. I started smoking because I wanted to. With that said.. I am using a legal substance and as such should be allowed to use it when I want and where I want. I am not killing babies, it doesn't impair my judgement, it does not cause me to act out violently. Why is it illegal?

    To have an open-air smoking ban absolutely does NOTHING. Open air smoking results in the smoke from a cigarette being diluted with outside air and being carried away in a breeze dramatically reducing it's offensive effects 10 fold... Why the hell would you ban that? It will make no difference... just because you have in your mind that smoking kills people?

    There is not ONE SHRED of proof that tobacco products cause any cancer or deaths. It's all speculation based off of very poor science. If we used that science on other things, your fricking car probably puts you at more risk of cancer from the fumes it puts out than cigarettes, but I dont see anyone banning cars and throwing a fit now do I? Its time we start getting our god given rights and dignity back. We are not evil people because we want to smoke. You are evil people for stepping all over us and ridiculing us for it. Leave us alone you frickin bullies!
  • Thank you Michael
    Just wanted to let you know, I have seen, and appreciated comments by you on other publications, and your website. THANK YOU for all your efforts in trying to inform the public to the tactics and goals of the anti movement
  • It's about time!!
    Let's pay attention folks!! - Samokers are the most highly taxed citizens in the US !! They have also become second class citizens, in the US and around the world! Being denied employment, Insurance, access to a social life, and any respect!! In many cases, Even people living with a smoker is being denied the same things!!! - When did this become OK???
    In California it has become illegal to smoke in your ENCLOSED porch or Patio!! This poses absolutely no health hazzard to ANYONE!! It's just that a few ZEALOTS can't stand to even look at it.

    IT HAS NOTHING to do with health. It is a VERY HIGHLY FUNDED, politically active, ant-smoking movement, that will stoop to ANYTHING to keep their pharmaceutical funds flowing in. And it's all been based on the constantly repeated, PROVEN fallacy, that second hand smoke is some kind of boogy man!!
    It's time that people woke up to what is going on here!! We are headed in the same direction Germany was before the world woke up, and realized the MILLIONS were persecuted and eventually murdered, simply because a small group of ZEALOTS - didn't like their lifstyle!
  • Well Said!
    Excellent letter Mark Paul! The Slippery Slope is always denied by Antismokers but all you have to do is take a look at their history for a single minute to see how real it is. Just look at what they're concentrating on today: open air bans in parks and on campuses, bans in public housing, pushing for non-hiring or even firing of smokers, bans on smokers' adopting/fostering and support for removing children from smokers after divorces.

    Slippery Slope? I think we've already slipped.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

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    1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

    2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

    3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

    4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

    5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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