Over at Iowa Independent, Douglas Burns has put up another post complaining about the tough bill on public smoking that the legislature adopted earlier this month.
Burns offers 10 ways to deal with the smoking ban which, in his words, will introduce “a radical cultural change in many shot-and-a-beer, small-town taverns that dot the Iowa landscape.”
One of his suggestions is:
2. Take your anger out on Gov. Chet Culver, Big Brother Democrats and Turncoat Republicans
To be a one-issue voter for the rest of your life is crazy. But the smoking ban is an example of effete urban Iowans monkeying around with the small businesses of rural Iowans. If it’s smoking today, what’s next for government intrusion into small businesses? Will we go the way of New York City and ban certain fatty foods to the point where chicken-fried steaks must be served without gravy?
With statehouse races in the fall, smokers and those who don’t like the creep of big government into Iowa life should send a message by voting against smoke ban supporters. Better yet, contribute to their opponents. The ban was generally a Democratic brainchild and product, but some Republicans jumped off the Bridge Over the River Common Sense on this one, too.
I’ve got 10 suggestions for the smokers like Burns who feel oppressed by “effete urban Iowans” (which isn’t even accurate, if you look at the list of legislators who voted for this bill):
1. Quit using that “what will they ban next, fast food?” analogy. The smoking ban is nothing like the government trying to control people’s consumption of fatty food, because eating unhealthy food doesn’t affect other people’s health the way second-hand smoke does.
2. Acknowledge that your choice to smoke in a bar or restaurant prevents employees of those establishments from choosing not to inhale smoke. It’s easy for you to say that people who don’t like smoking should get another job. Maybe that “shot-and-a-beer, small-town tavern” is the only game in town for that employee. Maybe family obligations require someone to work evenings and weekends, when a large portion of the jobs available are in restaurants or bars.
3. Recognize that what seems inconvenient to you may allow pregnant women to avoid second-hand smoke and the increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth that accompanies it.
4. Remember that pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke have a higher risk of delivering a low-birth-weight baby, which is associated with a greater chance of various health problems.
5. Instead of complaining about having to step outside for a cigarette, think about the future babies who will not have an elevated risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because you did not expose their pregnant mothers to second-hand smoke.
6. Think of all the men and women who work in that place you like to smoke who will no longer have to work in an environment that raises their chance of getting cancer, heart disease or chronic lung problems.
7. Recognize that this smoking ban will probably save you money if it pushes you to smoke less or even quit.
8. Take up Burns’ suggestion to pursue the free smoking-cessation counseling offered by the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Division. Then you can treat yourself to something nice with the money you save on cigarettes.
9. If you own a restaurant or bar where smoking has been allowed up to now, take heart; research in other parts of the country suggests that you will not lose business because of the smoking ban. I know that I eat more often at the Waveland Cafe in Des Moines since the owner made it smoke-free last November.
10. If you own a different kind of business where smoking has previously been permitted, remember that smoking bans bring hidden economic benefits to many businesses, including “reduced absenteeism, reduced insurance costs, and reduced cleaning and maintenance costs.”
Feel free to add to my list in the comments section.