Smoking Ban Bad For Business (NOT)

So lately there’s been a bit of a hubbub about smoking in public places here in Connecticut and New York. I know NY has had different levels of non-smoking in restaurants both in and out of the City, but I think they are smoke free for all restaurants. Right now, CT has banned smoking in all restaurants; smoking in bars is allowed until April 1, 2004, when those too go smoke-free. Do I smoke? No. Do I care? You’d better believe it.

I’ve never smoked and for the most part I don’t mind it, provided it’s not in my car or house. Yeah, I know that that will limit any number of places that I would find it, but I know a number of smokers that don’t smoke in their car or their house so, I think that’s a pretty fair restriction to live with. Even smokers admit that smoking can stink up any enclosed space, so this is a known fact. Aside from that, I don’t mind it much in restaurants and I’ve grown to expect it in bars – I’m not thrilled with it, but I expect it there, so I’ve learned to live with it.

And now there’s no smoking in eat’m up joints and soon to be none in bars, here in CT… I’m thrilled with that, actually. For restaurants, it usually means more seating – ya don’t have to wait for “non-smoking” or have that first available crap. For the bars, it will mean that I don’t have to come home and shower a 1/4 inch layer of smoking film of my body at night – that’s a nice to have, but not a requirement. I guess I’m more for these laws than against them, now that I think about it out… if smoking was an “alone” activity (i.e. something that didn’t bother anyone else) then I would have more of a balanced view, but it’s not. I choose not to smoke, so why should I have to swim in someone else’s second hand smoke, be it healthy or not?

The real issue here is that bar and restaurant owners are trying to fight back and petition their respective governments, but it’s shaping up to be pointless. Why is this under my skin so much? Because they’re fuckin’ morons. It’s just one more example of how people need to “get the right argument for their cause” bit. The owners keep saying that these laws are going to hurt business, and that’s what truly irks the shit out of me, because I don’t see how this will hurt business – it just doesn’t make sense.

Will it stop people from going to restaurants? Um, no. People have to eat – people will still go out to eat – people will go to restaurants in spite of the smoking laws. In NY, this might have been a case, where they once had different laws for smaller places versus the larger ones, but in CT it’s a universal law: all restaurants have to prohibit smoking, so it neither promotes nor hinders competition.

Will it stop people from going to bars? Hah. People go to bars to meet other people, dance, and drink. Smoking is obviously included, but it’s not the sole reason for the bar – it’s an additional activity that acts as a back drop to the rest of the stuff. I’ve never heard someone say “I’m drying for a cigarette – lets go to a bar!” People can’t get liquor in CT after 8PM so yes, if they’re dying for a drink they have to go to a bar – ciggies are sold 24/7. It just doesn’t matter.

So yes, these owners are about to get royally screwed because they’re arguing the wrong points to make their case… I don’t know what it will take for people to get a clue and learn to argue their cases better; it’s just plain nuts. Almost as much as the people that are living in NYC and complaining about getting tickets for doing things that they got away with, even thought they’ve always been against the law – they’re pissed because cops are simply enforcing the little laws (to raise money) instead of ignoring the silly shit. Almost as nuts.

Suits me fine, actually, this smoking thing… one less thing to deal with at the local bar. [Sorry Charles! (He’s a born-again smoker that has label’d this law a communist effort because it’s a pain in his ass) I won’t miss it!]

23 thoughts on “Smoking Ban Bad For Business (NOT)”

  1. Up here in the vancouver area of BC we’ve had a smoking ban for a while. Have all the bars shrivelled up and gone away? Nope. Some just don’t have smoking or have an outside smoking area. Area all the resteraunts hurting for money and closing up shop? Nope, not as far as I can tell anyway. Obviously I don’t have an in for the financial state of all the eateries in my area, but there are just as many as there were a year ago.

    On the downside though, it’s now *really* jarring when you go into a bar or resteraunt that does allow smoking (ie: trips to visit friends in seattle WA). Wow, smelly and gross. After a while you really don’t notice the lack of smoke anymore and it’s just “normal”. As a non smoker that “normal” is just fine by me.

  2. I am a smoker. The only problem I have with the smoking ban, is that it is the government stepping in and making a decision that I think the owners should be able to make. If the owners decide they want a non-smoking restaurant, fine, let them make it so. But, if they want a smoking one, leave them be. If enough customers who want to go to a none smoking establisment boycotte a smoking place and let the management know why, the owners will switch it over to non-smoking. I really don’t mind the no smoking in restaurants, because the length of time I am in there, I can go without a ciggy. But, I chain smoke when I drink. And I would have to spend all my time outside smoking. I don’t mind the government putting in regulations for places that want smoking, such as better air filtration and circulation systems, and let the owners decide if they want to spend the extra money and have a smoking establishment or make it a non-smoking place.

  3. The only problem is that smoking, either in a restaurant or a bar, is not something you do alone. It includes all of the people around you and if one of them opt not to be included, there’s no way to “avoid” the smoke, aside from leaving. So just because one person wants to smoke, 10 people might be inconvenienced and forced to leave; now one person will be inconveneinced.

    As to the government getting involved, lobby your state representative. I did when I pitched a fit over the “close at 8” liquor law. I lost my case. That means that I either have to move or live with it – same thing will happen here.

  4. While I don’t disagree with healthier environments, I think across the board legislation is discriminative. The choices should be left up the the owners to run their businesses as they’d like. I am a smoker, and anyone who is knows its tough to have a couple of drinks and not smoke. During the week, I go out a couple times with friends and watch a game and have a few beers, at which time I spend about $30-$40 between drinks and a bite to eat, and I also consider myself a good tipper. When the ban goes into full swing I won’t be going out for those casual outings during the week with the guys which takes anywhere from $60-$120 out of the bar’s till, as well as $40-$60 out of the tip jar for staff during the week. If the same goes for my weeknight crowd, its a pretty significant amount of money to lose on those slow Tuesday & Wednesday nights. It’s the little watering holes that are going to feel the brunt of all this. Instead of going outside to grab a cig and lose my seat, or whatever, I’d rather just stay at home and watch the game from the couch. Will some non-smoking patron may fill my space? It’s possible, but while they MAY make up the money, due to no fault of their own, they HAVE lost mine. I don’t smoke in restaurants, even if its allowed, but I think when you’re at the bar all bets should be off. Making a bar a healthy environment is almost contradictory, clean lungs aren’t helping you if your liver’s black.

  5. Simply put: while the guy next to me is destroying his liver, it’s not impacting my life. If the guy next to me is smoking and destroying his lungs, he’s taking mine out with him. That too, in a way is discriminatory: if I want to be in a smoke free environment, then I can’t go to a bar, at least until April.

    And no one is stopping you from going out with your friends to spend your $60-$120: that’s your choice, based off the situation at the bar – not everyone will feel the same way and they might be able to lure in non-smokers into the mix, to maintain the level of business. Frankly, to purposely boycott a place because of something like this is on par with people that used to boycott US-based dealers that sold Japanese cars, to prove a point. They ended up hurting a US-based business (the dealership) that sold US-built cars (i.e. Honda is built stateside) just because it was designed and marketed in Japan.

    To each their own. So long as CT doesn’t do something stupid like make it a “only certain [sized] bars can have smoking” law (like they did in NY) then at least everyone is on an even playing field.

  6. Smoking is a legal activity. Bar owners should have the right to decide what legal activities to allow in their establishments. Afterall, they are the ones who pay the rent or mortgage and employ people. Anyone who is bothered by smoke can just go to a place which chooses to impose their own smoking prohibition. Anyone who wants to smoke can avoid those establishments which prohibit smoking.

    What will big brother impose on us next, for our own good, of course? Oh yes, government is going after fast food joints, complaining about “super-sized meals.” One waco legislator in CA wanted to impose a new 5 cent tax on soda pop because kids are getting obese.

    Government should keep out of legitimate businesses. Let the owner decide whether or not to allow smoking. Say there are two bars in close proximity. One allows smoking and the other does not. Both the smoker and the nonsmoker could enjoy a drink in an environment in which each is comfortable. What’s so terrible about that?

  7. “Anyone who is bothered by smoke can just go to a place which chooses to impose their own smoking prohibition.”

    Anyone that wants to smoke can just go outside to smoke and then come back inside. I, as a non-smoker, cannot go outside to eat or with a drink to avoid the smoke. It’s a lesser of two evils, in my book, as simple as that.

  8. “Anyone that wants to smoke can just go outside to smoke and then come back inside.”

    What about:

    1) The sociability aspect. “Excuse me while I go out for a smoke. Fill me in on the conversation when I get back.”

    2) Inclement weather: rain, snow, sub-freezing temperatures.

    3) Those who enjoy a smoke WITH their drink. You cannot go outside with a drink to avoid smoke. The smoker cannot take his drink outside to sip his drink while smoking.

    4) For most smokers, smoking is not an activity; it is something they do while engaging in an activity. “Going outside for a smoke” makes smoking an activity–something to do.

    Again, two bars near each other. Bar A chooses to allow smoking. Bar B chooses to ban smoking. Smokers and non-smokers who don’t have an issue about smoking can be comfortable at Bar A. Non-smokers and smokers who don’t mind the ban can be comfortable at Bar B. What is terrible about allowing people to make a choice? Each bar owner will make the choice that he feels will be best for his business.

  9. Simple fact Bill: You choose to smoke. That’s your choice. And when your choice impacts the people around you, you take away their choice not to smoke. By forcing people to go outside, you aren’t losing anything: you can still smoke. And by forcing people outside, I gain the ability to not smoke, by being in a smoke free room.

    I choose not to smoke, and if I go to a bar, I can’t choose not to smoke b/c the room is usually filled with smoke… and I have to peel off a layer of smoke from my face when I leave the bar because it sticks to everything.

    As to the two bar ides, that’s where I think this law will force things to go to. I don’t this law will last, but until the “non-smoking places lose business” theory is shot – which this law will prove is false – no bar would bother banning smoking on its own. This makes for a level playing field.

    Basically, in my mind, smokers are whining about a loss of freedom that simply inconveniences them, ignoring the fact that non-smokers have been inconvenienced for decades.

  10. Thankyou JT!!! I am a bartender and a potential buyer of a bar.. very soon. But now I am asking myself if it is a good idea!! Our customers are 99% smokers and I know for a fact alot of them think like you do. Because I am a smoker too and Rarely have I gone out to dinner with this stupid smoking ban in effect. I know it is gonna hurt out business big time.. and my tip jar too. It is ridiculous and to me is like Communism!! If you don’t like smoke.. go elsewhere!!!! It should be up to the owner and not the Government who makes all of the profit from us buying the cigarettes in the first place. What a sham hah!!! My boss says we keep smoking.. and we are gonna too!!! I bet alot of places will. It is bullshit, and I bet you it will blow over. Watch!!

  11. Communism? So, but no. That would require sending all of your profits into the state and you keep nothing for yourself. If you want an apt analogy it’s more like Fascism.

    As to the rest, why is it: “you don’t like smoke.. go elsewhere”? Why can’t the smokers go outside? It’s ridiculous to me that you can make a statement like that because that’s so slanted and biased it’s nearly unrecoverable. At least the non-smokers aren’t saying “don’t smoke in public” or “if you want to smoke stay home”. In fact, as a non-smoker, screw you, to tell me that – that’s worse than making smokers go outside. At least I’m not hurting anyone by forcing them to deal with second hand smoke. This isn’t like the music a bar plays: if I don’t like hiphop, and I go to a bar that plays hiphop, it’s not going to kill me overtime.

    I’ve also been seeing this lately: “the government can’t tell me what to do [as a bar owner]” argument. This too holds absolutely no weight with me. The state has regulated bars for at least a century, so what’s the new and shocking reality here really?

    Can bars server liquor to people under 21? Past 2am? Can they sell smokes without a tobacco permit? Can they sell ciggies to people under 18? Can they push pot or allow people to smoke it on their premesis? Hold cock fights in the backroom? Sell guns? Offer nude shows without special zoning? All of it, a resounding NO. All of it, regulated by the town, state or federal government.

    The list of what a bar owner can’t do, as regulated by a level of government, is nearly endless… right down to the “no full nude shows allowed if liquor is sold” law. That law has been on and off so many different times that I don’t know if it’s still active, but I remember when the Zebra in Norwalk became a juice bar to keep their skin. I’m almost waiting for the “I can’t look at a naked woman without a drink in my hand” argument, since everyone keeps trying the “smoking and drinking go together” bit.

    Sorry – unconvinced, still.

  12. Back at you…

    First of all.. Communism.. facism.. it is still all bullshit to me. And as a nonsmoker you can tell me to screw myself.. but I happen to know a shitload of non smokers that happen to agree with me on the bar end. Many of them!!! My biggest problem with it is it is my livelyhood. I have to feed my kid and pay my bills. Maybe if that is how you paid “your” bills and knew it would hurt “your” income you may have a problem with it yourself!! Maybe then you could possibly understand. Not to mention that the government is raping us on taxes on cigarettes and then ban us to smoke where we want. Did you know that the cigarette manufactures make 11 cents on a pack of cigarettes for profits? And the government makes almost $2?? What do you call that one??? Sounds like More bullshit to me!! As for the strip club laws.. I know a bit about them since I used to dance and there are ways around them. There are ways around alot of shit.. if you know the right people. Simple as that. And the other shit like selling guns and holding cock fights.. is illegal the way you put it. Smoking is not! Also I doubt you are gonna die from second hand smoke. I just do not believe that one!!! And never will. Just like one day eating something is suppossed to prevent cancer and then 5 yrs down the road it ends up being bad for you. They change their shit all of the time. I would just guarantee your lungs are Much healthier than a smoker even if you did hang out in a smoky bar a few times a week and nothing anyone says is gonna change my opinion on that one!! You can be unconvinced all you want.. but so am I!!!

  13. Very huge difference between the -ism’s. Just pointing out that there’s a huge difference between the two. And you’re still assuming that it will hurt your business. There is not guarantee that it will (or that it won’t) change the volume of business. Only time will prove or disprove that: that’s what I’m telling people to do, because right now, it’s “because I said so” and that holds no weight with me either. I don’t think it will impact business (given that restaurant bars are still packed, and they’ve been smoke free for months now) and you think it will – no one will know until studies are done on it.

    What do I call the tobacco tax? A high tax for something that you *choose* to do. It’s optional to life. You choose to start smoking. You can choose to stop, or at least try to, if you wanted to. My parents both quit. My grandparents quit. Most of my friends have quit and restarted and quit again. The high tax is a blatant attempt of the government to try to get more people to stop smoking. It’s no different than the gas tax, except almost everyone needs gas – a lot more people than there are smokers. And I think the gas tax is actually higher – proportionately, at 60 cents a gallon – and gas stations make between 1/2 to 1 cent per gallon, which is a lot less than tobacco makers.

    And yes, actually, smoking in bars is illegal right. And yes, there are ways around all things. Kids that are under 21 drink, kids under 18 smoke, and guns are sold legally and illegally. However, people keep going on “the government can’t tell [bar owners] what to do!” and that’s NOT the case – it’s a half assed argument. This is just one MORE regulation that will be passed on to bar owners – not the first.

    As to whether or not second hand smoke can kill, there’s millions of studies, sure. Remember margarine? Good then bad and now just OK. Same thing happened with eggs. But do you know what I DO know? People suffer from getting too much smoke. Go stick your face over a BBQ: you’ll cough. In a fire? Cough. Someone blows smoke at you? Ack. And then there’s the fact that you go home smelling like an ass tray, after an hour at the place, and you can peel off a film layer off your skin.

    And, lastly, of course your entitled to your opinion, just as I am, but I’ll always pick apart an argument if it’s not strong enough to stand on its own – it’s just what I do :)


    This ban is absurd. Seriously, what is next? The more freedoms we allow the government to take the more our freedom will become abolished. If you don’t believe this take this for example-

    This summer in NJ they tried to ban smoking in cars! That’s right YOUR OWN CAR!!! Please tell me how this law will save all the cancer ridden second hand smoke vcictims in hospitals across America.

    What you have mever met one before? that is because they do not exist.

    Free will lets huamn beings make decisions based on their own personal prefrences and beliefs. This law does not allow an individual to make any choice because the choice has been made for them. If I own a bar and I hire an employee he or she would be aware that smoking occurs in my establish ment. Just like the patrons would have the same clear understanding. I am so sick of people trying to save the world. If people are to stupid to seek education on their own health then good riddens!

    As for Randy, your arguements only take one person into consideration-YOURSELF!!

    Great your clothes no longer smell; wash them.

    Your skin has a film on it, take a shower.

    You can’t breathe, hold your breath till you leave.

    Your eyes are tearing, close them.

    If you don’t like doing these things, don’t GO OUT.

    That is your choice.

    You are so repulsede by smoke, take up running and hang out at Starbucks where you can interact with other good law abiding, right taking liberals who share your views.

    Leave the smoke filled bars for me, a life long nonsmoker.


    Oh yeah I dont smoke cigarettes

  15. And yet every single point you make above can be used for people that are pro-smoking ban. For example, if you don’t like the ban or the restrictions, stop smoking, stay home, leave the room, pay the fine, etc.

    If it’s my choice to NOT smoke and your choice TO smoke, ONE of us is going to be inconvenienced. That’s just simple physics – if more people followed my advice and used patches in place of smoking, there’d be no problem. People aren’t anti-tobacco; they’re anti-SMOKE.

    So if I choose not to smoke and you do, I have NO CHOICE but to breathe the air. Should I go outside to breathe? I’d never make it back into a bar. SCUBA gear? Dur. Does it make more sense to ask the smoker – who has made the decision to smoke – to go outside? Yes, since one person is inconvenienced, rather than the crowd of people around the smoker.

    If you READ the article and the rest of the blog, you’ll have seen that I still went out and didn’t complain while there was no ban. I dealt with it b/c I had no choice. That in no way should prevent me from CHEERING now that the ban is in place because my quality of life has bumped up. The bartenderes I’ve spoken to have agreed with that and they’re smokers!

    This is my opinion. It’s my fuckin blog, so I’ll share my opinions are, as they pertain to me. If I was a liberal, as you claim I am – what a joke THAT is – I would speak in terms of people and society: I could give a rat’s about all that. I’m speaking about me, so why wouldn’t it be selfish?

    Further, “let freedom ring”? Maybe you should spend some time reading the post about “Using the Right Argument to Argue” because you sound like an blathering idealist. Smoking is regulated as much as alcohol and car ownership. You can’t drink on the public streets, you can’t drink and drive, there are age restrictions [discrimination!], taxes, licensing, and health issues. What’s so bloody free about that? The choice to do smoke if you want? You still have the freedom to do so – just keep it out of everyone else’s face. Free will. That’s not going to hold any water here. We have laws for a reason in this world: consquences are what keep free will in check. I can go sniping in a bell tower if I choose to, but there will be consequences: you can still smoke in public, but there are consequences to that as well, now.

    Futhermore after smokers being in the dominant position in this nation since the 1400’s maybe we can have a couple of years of non-smoking to be favored. After all only 20% of WA smokes, per the last poll… even so, I’m sure the ban will be reversed at some point. Maybe you should be more pissed at the voters for voting for it, rather than the lone blogger that agrees with it.

  16. Listen, you make valid points and I do see your side. However, after living in Europe for over a year and taking everyones garbage about our laws and being mocked by people claiming”we have no freedoms” left in America has made me lash out at you personally, I apologize.

    I just can not handle that the public is so ill informed and could have allowed this to happen. People in this country are more concerned with what the Hollyweird crowd is doing than with their own government. It is freightning to me because I love America! I am so involved it makes me crazy at times. I tried to rally against this ban but no one seemed to care until it already happened like much of your bloggers here. People in Germany laughed at me when I would say we can do anythin g in America Germans said it was to be expected that we would soon regulate a food tax on Mc Donalds for all of our fat people since we already try to regulate everything else, e.g. drinking at 21, its sixteen there, gambling at 21, 18 there, smoking at 18, banning smoking in PRIVATELY OWNED facilities, taxing smoking. We are becoming the laughing stock of the world.

    I appreciate that you do not use health reasons as your main point here because that argument truly is bogus.

  17. I blame the media. The media has a two prong fault, in my opinion: they keep us in tune with Hollywood b/c it sells well and they are constantly on the attack of government, no matter who’s involved. This makes for a constant push to have sensational and “bad” news. Good news never sells well, so it’s against their nature to promote good stories all the time.

    Freedom is relative. You’re allowed to speak out against any of the things you don’t agree with. That’s the freedom you’re given that you might not have in other nations. It doesn’t mean that what you speak out against will be changed or succeed… your vote always counts but it doesn’t always win, and people forget that. And Europe, they have just as many laws as we do. Look at the examples: there’s a drinking age law, a smoking-purchase law, etc. The numbers are lower, that’s all. The fact that you can die for your country and not drink a beer before it – legally – is moronic. I’ve written about it before.

    Privately owned is pointless, if you let the public in. Once you do that you can add your own rules to the place but there’s a baseline of public laws you have to support. This is why you can’t have bar offering prostitutes for sale in their “privately owned” space. The town/state/federal law has priority. And as to the health reasons, those ARE real issues. They treat people caught in a fire for smoke inhalation; how can cigarette smoke ever be healthy?

    As to the US becoming a laughing stock, I think it’s b/c the world is use to doing. We’re young and we’re foolish at times… ugly combination seeing as we have more cash than all other nations. It’s easy to pick on the top dog…



    (that is just as silly as these “big brother” laws”)

  19. Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea, would it? Banning cigarettes, I mean. After all, here’s a product that – if used as the product is described – will kill you, yet we still allow its sale. Why is that? Ah yes, the tobacco lobby. Very strong. Because it makes the US a lot of money. Alcohol, well, that’s another matter. I still maintain that people should have to get a permit to drink much like people need a permit to sell the stuff, but that’s just me.

    FWIW, this is the same argument NORMAL uses when they try to legalize pot.

  20. PFFT. You can’t BAN cigarettes. They’ll just become another legal substance floating around, that will be made privately, cost more, make more crime, etc. Prohibition didn’t work. The illegalization of pot isn’t working, what on fucking earth makes you think banning cigarettes will work?

  21. Hi, I’m a sophomore at UW-Madison writing a policy analysis on smoking policy. I see there’s been a pretty good conversation here and just thought I’d throw in what I’ve found out.

    1) In Washington DC, 60% of residents support a smoking ban. In Arkansas it’s 65%, and in Arizona it’s 70%.

    2) According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, second hand smoke does not, in almost any situation, violate legal limits for air quality.

    3) In the 9 months since a ban was enacted in Minnesota, 59 bars have closed. 19 bingo halls closed in Edmonton following a ban there.

    4) In Helena, Montana, a smoking ban lasted 6 months before being removed. During those 6 months, heart attack admissions to hospitals dropped from an average of 40 (per 6 month period) to just 24.

    5) In the UK, cigarette companies have paid businesses to set up outdoor seating. In Chicago, a smoking lounge (technically a tobacco retail store and therefore allowed to have smoking, and owned by a cigarette company) offers tables and a coffeeshop-like atmosphere.


    Most people support smoking bans. The government’s guidelines would not consider smoking to be unhealthy. Smoking bans are in fact bad for businesses, but they are also effective in preserving public health. There are ways around smoking bans, but most of them would not bother nonsmokers.

    Just figured you guys could actually use some facts in this argument.

  22. Facts? Dude, if you spun those lines up them any more you’d be a spider.

    1) What was the make up of the body of people polled?

    2) For every study that proves something there’s another two that disprove it.

    3) What other economic things happens during that period of time?

    4) Completely circumstantial? Or is there proof that things were related?

    5) So?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.