The pharmaceutical giants & their pawns take on Texas...Westover points to this article from the Houston Press. Here are a few favorite excerpts:
None of these limitations means anything to Young, who will keep on smoking half a pack a day (more when studying) no matter how much antismokers try to stop him. "I could quit," he says, "but why?" Smoking-cessation products can cost up to $40 a pop, while a pack of cigarettes is only $4, which even a poor college student can scrounge up. And for every person who accosts Young with 'tude, there's another who shares his habit and could become a new friend.
$40 a pop, well let's figure out why, there are a lot of non-profits on the payroll. Between 1996-2002 the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical affiliate RWJF alone paid out $133,620,603.00 to non-profits and organizations to lobby for smoking bans, I'm sure a campaign contribution or two also comes out of that smoking cessation cost.
"Now wait a minute," some of you antismokers might be saying. "I have the right to go out in public and not have to breathe smoke."Well, sorry, but bars and restaurants aren't public places. "These are privately owned establishments," says Dennis Keim, 52, a local rabble-rouser and occasional smoker. "If people don't want to be in that environment, there's nothing that forces them to be there. They have a choice of, in this town, something like 12,000 other eating establishments," he says, exaggerating the numbers a bit. (There are actually about 10,000 restaurants in the greater Houston area.)
Keim was okay with the ban, enacted in '92, that prohibited smoking on city property. "It's one thing to set policy in a facility that's owned by the government, where people have no alternative. You can't go to an alternative courthouse. You can't go to an alternative city hall.
But you can go to whatever restaurant you want. This is America..."
Private property rights now there's a novel idea, I don't think I heard that phrase uttered once in Minneapolis, Bloomington, or Hennepin County meetings.
When City Councilman Michael Berry voted against the recent smoking ban, he said, "If you don't like smoking restaurants, don't go to them. What we heard over and over again, and it disturbs me, is this notion that 'I want to go to [someone's restaurant], and I want to tell him how to serve me on my terms,' which is 'I want you to serve me with no smoke,' even though he wants to serve those people who smoke."
That's how you know you're in Texas, a lawmaker speaking common sense, against the whining liberal entitlement crowd. I still recall some snot nosed kid calling into the Bob Davis show "...hey...what about my right to go into a bar and not smell smoke..." Hey, snot face it's a private bar owned by an individual...no you don't have that right; also I don't believe I saw that "right" anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. But if you put enough liberals in city hall, or on the Nicoderm payroll anything is bound to happen... trampling of individual property rights.....for one thing.
Two University of North Texas economists studied the effects of the smoking ban in restaurants, and the results were released in October 2004: Dallas lost $11.8 million (or 3.6 percent) in alcoholic beverage sales in 2003 compared with 2002. You could blame it on a sliding economy, but business was booming in the smoke-friendly suburbs, where hooch sales increased from 3.2 percent (Richardson) to 7.9 percent (Plano) to 12.2 percent (Frisco). The only other city showing a loss was Irving, down 0.8 percent.
The study also claims four longtime Dallas restaurants were forced to close on account of the ban.
The non-profits and activists will of course spin this info. differently, though I don't know how. By the way one of my bar/restaurant customers in Hennepin County just filed for bankruptcy, now I'll have to take back possession of the Smokeeters they couldn't pay for. They had been in business for 5-10 years, I'm sure the smoking ban had nothing to do with it.
Any attempt to curtail smoking in bars and restaurants is an attempt to curtail smoking in general. The less people can smoke, the logic goes, the less they will. But is that such a good thing?
In 2003, Texas smokers paid 41 cents a pack in excise taxes, totaling more than $501 million. They paid more than $271 million in sales tax on cigarettes and another $479 million in extra costs due to tobacco settlements, which goes straight to the state. The grand total: more than $1.25 billion a year.
That's a lot of money for roads, schools and hospitals.
The above is a point I hadn't even considered, but hopefully lawmakers will take it into account, before future legislation.
"Smokers are my best customers," says the 57-year-old nonsmoker, perched over a white tablecloth with Sinatra playing in the background. Over the years, Frank has lit more butts than a porn director, and when a customer runs out of smokes, he'll send a busboy across the street to pick up a pack.Smokers rarely get impatient, while "most nonsmokers say, 'Where's my food?' " he says, drumming his fingers for effect. And smokers often order expensive wines and hang around to drink them, while nonsmokers chug down their iced teas and hit the road.
The above waiter explains in real world terms why catering to the non-smoking crowd is a money loser for bars & restaurants.
Around the globe, and in your town; I'll continue to present the factual case of smoking bans and their effect on local economy. Next post an email I received on business losses on the Emerald Isle.