6.23.2008

Smoking ban comes to town July 1st

It's finally here: the smoking ban in area bars. Some towns and cities have already put laws like this in place, some patrons of said bars have taken up acting like bar patrons and turning the bar into a "theater" so they can smoke, getting around the law on a technicality.

No, having talked with the public about this before specifically as it relates to going to shows and "the bar scene" etc., we know how passionate people are about being called drug addicts, having the consumption of a legal product criminalized or, from the perspective of the venue, having the state tell them how to run their place.

It's jack-booted nannyism, as Christopher Hitchens himself called it.

People also know that, for those who don't smoke, it sucks going to shows and ending up smelling like the absorbed odors of a thousand cigarettes. They may have always been tying one on anyway, drinking you know, and never thought about the basic assumption underlying the ban; that second hand smoke is harmful.

It's been a relatively peaceful coexistence, until July 1st.

No more smoking in your favorite bars, like The Empty Glass or The Blue Parrot. Area rock group Quick & Dirty is holding a "Smokefest" June 30th at the Parrot; free smokes and whiskey for you if you show up. What kind of whiskey?


Threefold Theory recently did a Raze benefit -- the lines are drawn! Of course the Glass has the patio so that should work fine for them.

So what's going to happen is the people who don't smoke are going to make a pill to get people off nicotine and when they don't take the pill (or take too much) they'll be thrown in jail. Public safety.

And cigarettes will still be legal.

But no, we wonder how this will affect going to shows. Most business owners say it will hurt business but there are examples of smoke-free rock venues, right?

8 comments:

Rudy Panucci said...

All I know is that the number one reason, by far, that I hear from people as an excuse NOT to go support the local music scene is that they can't handle the smoke, or the carelessness of the smokers.

I was at The Vault for the first time Friday night. It's smoke-free. I have never seen a bar in Charleston that packed (except for special shows at the The Glass). There were as many people in The Vault as there were at The Glass the night The Pistol Whippers reunited.

I say that banning smoking in bars is a key event in revitalizing the music scene in this town. For too long the 25% of people who smoke have run the 75% of those who don't out of places where bands play.

Sure, some poorly-run bars will go out of business, and the owners will blame the smoking ban, but so far in WV when bans have gone into effect, the number of bars that fail has not increased. Bars go out of business all the time, regardless of smoking bans. They still will after the ban goes into effect, but the bars that are run properly will flourish.

Caustic Rod said...

Althought I tend to feel that smoking and drinking go together like peanut butter and jelly, I do my best to respect others' space when smoking. It's really a tough call as to whether or not it will greatly affect the bars' traffic overall. There will be people wwho don't come out as much, but then they'll be people who come out more. In reference to The Vault, I think certain kinds of bars with be affected more than others. High end clubs like the Vault probably won't be affected as much as music venues and neighborhood bars. Just my 2 cents.

Stephi said...

When the smoking ban went into effect here in Wheeling, Yesterday's Draught House & Stage ignored it for as long as they could get away with. Finally they got busted, as did several other businesses, and we HAD to start smoking outside.

It was Winter. It was awful. But even with being a smoker then, I must admit that it was nice to go home and not smell like a bar. After a bit, I hated going outside to smoke, and I was at Yesterday's so much I just quit. I know several other people who have done the same thing.

It is a pain in the butt, but I started thinking of it this way - going outside to smoke is a nice excuse to break away from people who are getting on your nerves. It's a nice escape from a crappy band that's on stage. You just get used to it.

kevinleebriles said...

Well, I think overall it is a good idea. Secondhand smoke kills just like regular smoke kills.
Truth is, pot ain't legal, SO THE DAMN CIGARETTES SHOULDN'T BE!!!!!!

...i wish I'd never started actually...

Anyway, my thoughts on the Panucci argument for the vault is...it's still brand new and the place to be for now. I haven't been there YET so I'm not sure about the scene.

Yeah...Go Charleston for taking a step in the right direction. I still don't think it should be a thing that the govt tells patrons to do, but the patrons themselves should have enough respect for the customer as to offer an option of good music without the smoke.

Afterall, we are talking about the same establishments that serve people alcohol all night...right before they get in their cars to DRIVE home...yeah, never thought that was very smart. But it's the drinker's responsibilty right??
Nope, you heard it here 1st, I'm callin bull@#*$ and givin a big le middle finger to ALL bars for that one, but I digress.

Lastly, good article Mr. N2...

just remember wvrockscene, you may always cover the local scene with the awesomeness and enthusiasm that you always do...

...but you'll STILL never get a videocamera in The Sound Craptory.

Word up and peace out!
Me, me, and more me

Anonymous said...

Will this shut bars down?
I have to agree with Rudy on this one, some may, but I doubt it will be as bad as some say it will.
What bothers me about all this "smoker vs. non-smoker" crap is that you never really heard much about it until the idea of a smoking ban was first introduced. That's not to say that there has probably been some friction there for some time, but you just didn't hear much about it. Now it's just about all we hear about.
Personally, I am continually amazed at how easily something that appears to be "linked" to something else gets touted as being fact, both in the media and in society in general. Second-hand smoke has been "linked" to lung cancer and other respiratory ailments, but has NOT been proven, to cause any of these. I'm sure if we as a society took things for what they really mean rather than what we thought they mean, we'd all be alot happier, but this type of thing has gone on for hundreds of years, and will continue to go on. It's just human nature to take what you want from a source and dump the rest, I don't care how "responsible" of a journalist you are, the minute you have an opinion on something the facts, as you see them, are already skewed.
I don't think any of this would have reached the point that it has if the media hadn't jumped on the bandwagon prematurely in drilling our heads full of what was essentially not fact. We've heard the headlines for years now, "Tonight the CDC has discovered a possible link between second-hand smoke and gloucoma."
What's that ya say? Second-hand smoke doesn't have anything to do with gloucoma? Well, give it time, I'm sure that the same pundants that claim that "second-hand smoke is the cause of a rise in lung cancer" will try that one out. We listened to them when they said all the other crap that got this started and most of us believed it, so why shouldn't we believe this as well?
Wake up people!!
We are being lead around by the nose, and the worst part of it is that most of us are too blind to see it! We think we are well-informed, but the biggest part of us rely on other forms of information such as the national news or on the internet for our facts. Who polices these institutions for accuracy in their facts? People are inherently fallible, we can and do make mistakes, we are not perfect, and none of us ever will be so how can we, as a society, stand up and make law, when, for all we know, we may not have all the facts?
The word "linked" does NOT mean the same as the word "causes", look them up in a dictionary if you think I am wrong in saying this. I'll do it for ya right here:

link - n.
1. One of the rings or loops forming a chain.

2. a. A unit in a connected series of units: links of sausage; one link in a molecular chain.
2. b. A unit in a transportation or communications system.
2. c. A connecting element; a tie or bond: grandparents, our link with the past.
2. d. An association; a relationship: The Alumnae Association is my link to the school's present administration.
2. e. A causal, parallel, or reciprocal relationship; a correlation: Researchers have detected a link between smoking and heart disease.

3. a. An association; a relationship: The Alumnae Association is my link to the school's present administration.
3. b. A causal, parallel, or reciprocal relationship; a correlation: Researchers have detected a link between smoking and heart disease.
4. A cuff link.
5. Abbr. li A unit of length used in surveying, equal to 0.01 chain, 7.92 inches, or about 20.12 centimeters.
6. A rod or lever transmitting motion in a machine.
7. Computer Science A segment of text or a graphical item that serves as a cross-reference between parts of a hypertext document or between files or hypertext documents. Also called hotlink, hyperlink.

causes - n.

1. a. The producer of an effect, result, or consequence.
1. b. The one, such as a person, event, or condition, that is responsible for an action or result.
1. c. A ground for legal action.
1. d. A lawsuit.
2. A basis for an action or response; a reason: The doctor's report gave no cause for alarm.
3. A goal or principle served with dedication and zeal: "the cause of freedom versus tyranny" (Hannah Arendt).
4. The interests of a person or group engaged in a struggle: "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind" (Thomas Paine).
5. Law
5. a. A ground for legal action.
5. b. A lawsuit.
6. A subject under debate or discussion.

There ya go, they are not the same thing, so therefore we should not misconstrue "linked" for "cause", they are not the same and shouldn't be taken to mean the same, but that is exactly what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Governments gone wild


The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation -
from sea to sea- has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed
threat of "second-hand" smoke.

Indeed, the bans themselves are symptoms of a far more grievous threat; a
cancer that has been spreading for decades and has now metastasized
throughout the body politic, spreading even to the tiniest organs of local
government. This cancer is the only real hazard involved - the cancer of
unlimited government power.

The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom
menace, as a study published recently in the British Medical Journal
indicates. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper
reaction? Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating
people about the potential danger and allowing them to make
their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force
people to make the "right" decision?

Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than
attempting to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the
tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.

Loudly billed as measures that only affect "public places," they have
actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and
offices - places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose
customers are free to go elsewhere if they don't like the smoke. Some local
bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is obviously
negligible, such as outdoor public parks.

The decision to smoke, or to avoid "second-hand" smoke, is a question to be
answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment
of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding
every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend
or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married
or divorced, and so on.

All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful
consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the
neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must
be free, because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only
his own judgment can guide him through it.

Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette
smokers are a numerical minority, practicing a habit considered annoying and
unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the
power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.

That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of
inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your
favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm
at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited
intrusion of government into our lives.

We do not elect officials to control and manipulate our behaviour.

Rudy Panucci said...

Second-hand smoke has been proven time and time again to be a health hazard. Just because tobacco companies throw money at a guy in a white lab coat to say that nobody has proven anything, it doesn't mean he's telling the truth.

If you want proof that smoking is bad for you, watch the next Radio Free Charleston. I sound like I've been gargling Draino. I know that, personally, the quality of my life will improve dramatically once the ban goes into effect.

To clarify what I said about The Vault--The smoking ban will probably hurt it--it's been smoke-free since day one. It was packed, probably with more people than every other downtown bar combined. I spoke to a couple of young ladies who were there, and they told me that they only go out to places that are smoke-free. Now they may venture into other places. Which is good news for all you single guys out there. The Vault had some pretty fine-looking ladies hanging out there.

Having said that, it's a shitty place to hear a band. Nobody goes there for the music, and I was the only person applauding when the songs ended. The crowd was way louder than the amplification. It was like seeing a band play in a bowling alley on league night.

The thought of hearing a band at the Empty Glass, and not coughing like a coal miner with black lung for a week afterwards thrills me to no end.

Anonymous said...

As bad as it pains me, because I have so much fun not doing it, I have to agree with Rudy. It wont shut down bars. It didn't shut down restraunts. People will still come out to see shows, going outside is a minor problem that is easily overcome.

I also agree that second hand smoke is hazardous. It may or may not be deadly, but it certainly does things to people who stay around it too long or much. Such as harder to breath, ect.

My wife is allergic to smoke. I can't smoke around her. Although I have found a solution!

Sure. Ban smoking in bars. Ban it in restraunts. Ban it in hotels, and ban it anywhere else you can think of that is public. HOWEVER, there should also be a law that says that smokers have a nice comfy CLEAN place that has WALLS, a HEATER and an AIRCONDITIONER where they can detatch themselves from the world and smoke.

Smokers aren't angry because they can't smoke. They are angry because they get pushed into uncomfortable situations so that somone else can be comfortable. They don't want special treatment, just FAIR treatment.

I think we should start a group. The group's job would be to make sure that smoking is treated fairly. There should be a smoker and a non smoker at the head and they should both be impartial. That way not only non-smokers, but smokers can live life in America, where it is free and everyone would be comfortable.

Or we could just go ahead and ban smoking AND drinking and get it over with. That is coming soon, mark my words.