10 ways for smokers to stop whining about the smoking ban

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.

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  • all or nothing

    a letter to the editor in todays des moines register states…

    “Iowa’s Constitution Article 1, Bill of Rights, Section 6 clearly states “All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.”…

    the rest of the letter and daily responses can be found here: http://www.desmoinesregister.c…

    To me, this seems pretty cut and dry. The lawmakers at the state house, went above and beyond what the Iowa Constitution says, by picking and choosing where you are allowed to smoke a “LEGAL” product.

    I am a smoker and I also work in a restaurant. I disagree with our elected officals,for them to pick and choose for me where I can smoke just isn’t right.  

    In my humble opinion, it should be a straight across the board smoking ban, or nothing at all. Why should casino’s, cigerette outlets, the VA home (not other nursing homes) and farmers with employees be given the right to smoke and not the small “shot and a beer, small town tavern” (as you say) be banned from from smoking.  

    The small town and not so small town local businesses all generate a revenue for the state. They should be allowed to flourish or parish on their own, not with a shove from our own state officals who we/they elected to protect and help them.

    If least comes to least, have businesses that allow smoking put a “warning label” on their doors (warning this business may contain 2nd hand smoke and be hazardous to your health), just as the cigerette companies do on their cigerette packs.

    A straight across the board ban or nothing at all!!!

  • I strongly disagree

    For One

    I am a vet, and if vets want to smoke, I think they deserve to.

    For two

    No one mentions the employee just trying to get by in this recession, by taking a job at your beer and a shot local tavern, who is suffering because someone is smoking.

    For Three

    If you want to smoke, dont go out! No one is forcing you to smoke, or to go to the bar.

    For Four

    I smoked for two years before quitting in July. On army bases I was not allowed to smoke in public places or 50 feet from a building. and I got along just fine.

    For Five

    I was also under 21 for my three years of service and was not legally able to drink when I had been deployed, and fought for our country. I dont hear anyone complaining about that and it is much less dangerous than smoking… For those who do it responsibly.

    Point is, you cant pick and choose what freedoms you wish to have at the expense of others.

  • employees

    as an employee of a restaurant, i was well aware that my future place of employment had a smoking section. I still CHOSE to work there.  The same CHOICE other adults and ppl of working age make before applying at a place of business.

    My earlier post wasn’t about who should be allowed to smoke it was about our Iowa Constitution, and how the law makers treaded all over it while making this law. If they would of went straight across the board and outlawed smokign everywhere, then I wouldn’t of had a problem with it, along with many other ppl here in Iowa.

    secondtonone there is one  point in particular  that u make that is just a twisted around version from what others have said… if i choose to smoke i can stay home. same goes for non smokers..if they don’t want to be around smoke then they don’t have to frequent an establishment that allows it.

    As for not hearing people voicing their concern on drinking age of service men. I have voiced my concerns for a long time about that. I wasn’t able to serve my country due to a medical condition i have had since the age of 2, but I have had friends and family serve and believe that if they are old enough to elect the officals to send them to war, and to die for our country they should be allowed to drink as an adult.

    As for the “shot and beer” places, the employees won’t have to worry about a job, much less smoke as those are the first places that will more then likely close due to lack of patrons coming in.

    It was good ole Ronald Reagan that raised the drinking age from 19 to 21. He basically blackmailed the states into doing so. In short, he said, “raise the drinking age to 21 or loose your federal highway assistance money”.

    You’re right about one thing “second” it is all about choice and freedoms.  The state should either recend the law for everyone, or revise it to include everyone. They shouldn’t be allowed to make the choice for us.  

    • evidence suggests you are wrong

      We’ve got a lot of cities and states and even countries where smoking bans have been enacted. There’s no reason to think that bars or restaurants will close because of the smoking ban.

      The recession is already hurting the restaurant industry, and that is likely to continue. I suppose the smoking ban may be a convenient scapegoat for some that do close, but I think the general state of the economy and people’s need to cut back on discretionary spending will play a greater role than the smoking ban.