Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finally, the cancer clouds are banned. In 30 months.

Congratulations to the advocates of a smoking ban in Chicago. The City Council finally passed a Clean Indoor Act Ordinance that prohibits the cancer clouds in most places, but gives the bars 30 months to comply with the ordinance. That's the compromise that the liquor and restaurant industry was able to extract, and they also managed to get in a provision that if they can prove that the indoor air is of the same quality as the outdoor air based on their air filtration system, they can continue to smoke at the bar.

So all of 2006 and all of 2007 and half of 2008 will be full of carcinogenic smoke in Chicago.

Unless Commissioner Mike Quigley pushes Cook County to move faster than Chicago's July 1, 2008 deadline....(he has proposed a Cook County ordinance to ban smoking in all of Cook County).


Lazerlou said...

Lame. The local taverns are closing at an alarming rate and the ones left won't be smokey and atmospeheric anymore. I'm glad I moved from chicago becasue it is quickly losing its soul. They should have let only people who drink like real Chicagoans vote on this one. I mean, I'm all for smoke free restaurants, but damn, The Charelston without smoke? The California Clipper without ash trays? Jimmy's without smoking? A cultural tragedy, really. A bunch of pencil necked geeks who can't handle ehir drink undermining our hard drinking hard smoking die early ethos. You all might as well just admit Chicago has no soul anymore.
And Juan Pierre? Does anyone still wake up at night with nightmares about the 2003 NLCS? I might as well become a Giants fan.

MDS said...

I know. And no one flies anymore because planes just don't have that smokey feel anymore. And doctors and nurses, who have a stressful enough job as it is, aren't even allowed to smoke at work anymore.

I can't imagine what Daley was thinking by dragging his feet on this one. He just handed a good 5 percent to Jesse Jackson Jr. And I'm in that 5 percent.

Lazerlou said...

Hey planes and work places are not for smoking. Drinking establishments are. Another example fo poor legislation that is way too over inclusive. The paternalism sucks. And I don't even smoke.

Bill Baar said...

Smokers Liberation Front published some German Nazi anti-smoking posters from the 1930s.

CF said...

I love this issue, absolutely love it. Let me start by saying I'm all for the smoking ban. I don't smoke and I hate smelling like shit after 10 minutes in a bar. And I don't need "studies" to tell me that a dense cloud of smoke in a crowded room is bad for my health. Of course it is. But mostly I love the smoking ban because it's a real-life freedom restriction that hits young liberals (sorry, Progressives) right in the mouth, so to speak. Gun restrictions? Whatever, don't own one. Campaign speech restrictions? No problem, hate those Swift Boat guys. School prayer restrictions? Whatever, I'm not some religious wacko. But guess what, those "pencil necked geeks" are coming for you too. I love it. And I honestly believe that the state has a strong argument for the ban. It goes like this: The state pays for your healthcare (not mine in particular, but a lot of people). Smoking is bad for your health. So the state has a civic duty, both moral and economic, to restrict your bad behavior. And yes, junk food is next. Pay close attention to how this works. Conservatives have a name for those "pencil necked geeks" - we call them Liberal Elites. They want to restructure society to fit their norms and preferences. I would've voted for a smoking ban, if anyone had bothered to ask me. But why waste your time with democracy? You might end up with another Proposition 187. Elites don't like smokers, and they don't care what you or the rest of the drooling masses think about it. Stop worrying about Big Tobacco or Big Oil. It's Big Government that restricts your freedoms. Every time.

Lazerlou said...

While that is a fantastic diatribe, you miss a huge point (other than that I hate cigarettes and do not smoke them). The government has any number of ways it can deter behaviors that result in externalities. And so it must take a look at the cost benefit analysis which each type and manner of restriction would create. You can't make this a black and white issue and start freaking out about big government. I hope you are smarter than that, but I wouldn't bet on it. The issues are not so black and white and the ideal soultion depends on what is being restricted and how we go about restricting it.
With guns, they only create externalities (they are designed to kill someone other than the owner, even though it doesn't always work out that way) so they are the perfect object of direct restrictions (unless CF you gain erotic enjoyment from your gun, which I would not put past you - "Oh my sweet killer, how I love to make love to your barrel... you are so powerful and make me feel oh so powerless."). So outright bans on certain types of especially dangerous guns are totally appropriate, and limited exceptions for hunting and sport shooting can be accomodated.

But with cigarettes, the externalities are not direct (nobody dies as soon as you light up), and people actually enjoy smoking them. So an outright ban everywhere on a behavior that certain people enjoy, even in the place designed for their consumption? Ridiculous. There are better ways to achieve the government's aims. Price people out of cigarettes with taxes first and foremost - that would deter smoking at home and in public which is far more consitent with the healthcare considerations. And restrict their consumption everywhere that there is NOT a reasonable expectation that you would be subject to smoke (like everywhere BUT a bar). And if there is a market for smoke free bars, let the marketplace work itself out.

But my point was a cultural one, and maybe I'm just hanging on too tightly to the romantic image of intellectuals smoking, drinking and conversing in bars. I will admit that despite my distaste for this overinclusive and culturally deadening legislation, I do love the smokelss bars here in SF. But this is SF, not Chicago, and I'm starting to notice Chicago is losing its distinct identity, which is sad.

And CF, your paranoia about some desire on the part of elites to shape society to fit their apparently arbitraty personal norms is absurd. It speaks volumes about the amount of fear that blackens your heart. There are plenty of objective, universalizable, good reasons to restrict the influence of money on government, to restrit gun ownership and a even far more compelling consitutional basis to keep religion out of public schools. That you worry about the big bad government restricting school prayer is retarded and anti-American. Move to Saudi Arabia so you can bask in the state sponsored dominance of one particular religion.

CF said...

Lazerlou, that diatribe is at least as good as mine. Put aside for a moment that gun ownership and political speech are explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights and are still restricted by a wise and noble government weighing costs, benefits and externalities. Are you weighing the "benefit" of intellectuals in berets being able to smoke at Jimmy's versus the long-term damage of second-hand smoke to employees and customers? Is your argument based on Chicago losing its culture and tradition? My parents went to public schools on the south side. They prayed before sporting events, sang Christian Christmas carols, and had moments of prayer for FDR and our soldiers during WWII. You'd shit yourself if a public school had a moment of prayer for George Bush and our troops in Iraq. Times change, especiallly when influenced by an activist government. No doubt you have good arguments for why gun restriction, prayer restriction, political speech restriciton, etc. are good for society and civic values. But why is a smoking restriction any different, except that you like smoky bars? How is that different than the redneck who likes to collect automatic rifles? Both you and the redneck are having your preferences restricted outside of the democratic process. At least the redneck has the Second Amendment, even if he's too inbred to read it.

Lazerlou said...

The second amendment does not grant an individual a right to bear arms, either in its words or its interpretation by the supreme court. Sorry. You lose on that one. Look it up. And the interpretation of the first amendment to apply to corporate and commerical speech is one of the biggest tragedies of our government. Giving money is not political speech, it is commerical speech, and it should not be protected like actual speech (And certainly not by corporations. That corporations are considered "individuals" as a constitutional matter is one of the biggest farces of our governemnt) I don't dispute that paying money is considered a form of speech as a constitutional matter, but it is a backward ruling that has caused great harm to our citizens. Further, times change becasue progress is made, not becasue of what you seem to think are arbitrary acts of activist governemnt. People actually are free enough to think for themselves and reject ridiculous notions of a God that has intent and meddles in human affairs. Atheism or agnosticism are both viable religious theories that public school prayer blatently violates. Thank God for the supreme court protecting atheists! (ha)
As for the redneck, I thought I spent the time pointing out how the externalities of guns are far more serious than those of cigarettes, and that the pleasure of smoking for some exists in reality as a physiological matter(instead of as some sick psychological pleasure of having the potential to kill). And if you could read closely you'd see I'm all for the governmental regulation of cigaretts, just as I am for guns. I'm simply arguing those regulations should take different forms based on teh pleasures they provide for the individual, and the harms they cause to the rest of us.

Nathan Kaufman said...

This creates the ultimate grey area. The air filtration business will be interesting-

Lights out for smokers
Ban kicks in Jan. 16; bars, some restaurants get reprieve

By Gary Washburn, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporters Dave Wischnowsky, Gerry Doyle and James Janega contributed to this report
Published December 8, 2005

"... concerned by a provision that offers the hope of a permanent exemption for any place that meets yet-to-be-determined rules for scrubbing the air."

Lazerlou said...

I saw that. The outcome of political negotiation is rarely the optimal one. Sweet Chicago. An air filter and an envelope stuffed with hundreds will be all that most bars need to maintain their character. I can't wait to walk into the California Clipper when I'm back and smell the sweet cancerous smell of political compromise.

Steve Bartin said...

Since the anti-smoking crowd is worried about our health,should Chicago's fat people be served at fast food restaurants? They cost money? Will there be a ban or some sort of limitation? Since,Chicago's Public school system is corrupt and dangerous should we ban it? A 46% drop out rate isn't a healthy place for students to hang out in.All those who love Chicago's one party government are welcome to comment.

Lazerlou said...

Yes, they should be served. However the governemnet should impose a sin tax on bad food to deter consumption. First the highest tax on trans-fat (artificaily hydrogenated fats), then the second tier on alcohol, processed sugar and animal fat(naturally saturated).

Further, the fed government needs to impliment severe environmental controls on massive corporate cow pig and chicken farms, which will serve to protect (finally) the environment as well as drive prices for meat up. Those guys get a free pass because they have way too much sway in washington.

If you did all that, maybe it would be much cheaper, as it should be, to eat brown rice and vegtables as opposed to 99 cent cheeseburgers.

Again, this doesn't have to be an all or nothing issue, and I'm not sure why everyone treats it that way.