Known Johnson

November 2, 2006

Yes on 201, no on 206

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:23 pm

I very, very rarely make any political statements on my site, but I’m making an exception this one time because I feel very strongly about the issue of public smoking and hopefully a few voters will find this in a search. The upcoming election in Arizona has not one but two clashing anti-smoking bills on the ballot but only one of them is actually a real option for people opposed to smoking in public places.

Proposition 201 is the real deal – backed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart & Lung Assocations, and the surgeon general himself, it proposes a ban in all businesses, using tax money raised by tobacco sales to fund its enforcement – meaning non-smoking taxpayers will never feel a pinch, only those who choose to smoke. Sounds pretty fair to me.

Proposition 206 is a joke – backed and funded by tobacco giant RJ Reynolds, it proposes that restaurants and bars be forced to put in separate ventilation for smoking and non-smoking areas (which in itself has just been revealed to be a farce – and it can actually make soot and carcinogens higher in non-smoking areas according a study published today), and, well, that’s about it for non-smokers. It’s more of a benefit to smokers – there is absolutely no provision for enforcement of the proposition once it becomes law, meaning that businesses don’t actually have to follow the law because they won’t and CAN’T be punished for it. Not only that, but 206 has a provision that prevents any further changes in the future regarding smoking laws. Once 206 is in place, it is in place for good unless it is repealed. Does that sound reasonable?

And let’s go back to the ventilation issue for a moment: many businesses that would rather allow smoking are backing 201 because of this requirement because it’s so expensive they can’t afford it and would rather just ban smoking all together rather than see a few businesses with enough money put in the systems and get all the smoking customers. You can see the issues this would have, I’m sure.

I’m certain there is someone out there who is going to leave a comment saying something to the effect that smokers have rights to smoke, why can’t I just not go to smoking establishments, but here’s the thing: for one, there is no “right to smoke” – it’s a privelege and it can be taken away. Second, I don’t have a choice as a non-smoker. Let’s put it into this perspective: let’s say there’s a concert and it’s at a bar. If that bar allows smoking, what are my options? I can either go and put up with the smoking, risking my health (and believe me, it’s several days of feeling like hell – how do you smokers put up with this?!) or not go. I don’t have an option to go to the non-smoking part of the concert because it doesn’t exist (and as the study shows, the ventilation option is a no-go, either.) But smokers always have the choice of stepping outside, smoking, and coming back in. Further, smokers have the best option: quitting. Everyone wins with that option.



  1. I once read an article where someone compared a person smoking in a public place to a person swinging a bat around in a public place. That person can choose to swing the bat around and there’s a good chance that bat is going to affect another person, just as second hand smoke can affect all those around him. The guy writing the article did say, however, that he’d much prefer people take up bat swinging than smoking, because at least you can duck from a bat.

    Comment by Bekah — November 3, 2006 @ 8:47 am | Reply

  2. Seattle banned smoking in public places last year, and I just have to say it’s hawesome.

    It’s the trend nation-wide. Don’t worry, it’ll happen for you guys, if not this year, eventually.

    Comment by Yogi — November 3, 2006 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  3. Boston outlawed smoking in public places a few years ago (including bars, clubs, restaurants, concert venues) and I believe the entire state of Massachusetts has followed suit. Smokers warned that the ban would be bad for businesses, but that hasn’t happened. If anything, non-smokers (who are a nationwide majority) have more incentive to go out and frequent these establishments.

    Personally, I find the fresh air a welcome change. It’s not just the smoke itself that bothers me; it’s coming home and having your clothes reek of the stuff.

    And I’m an ex-smoker.

    Comment by Chris — November 3, 2006 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  4. Well, polls say one of the two anti-smoking bills is definitely going to pass. I just pray that the voters are smart and vote for the RIGHT one. RJ Reynolds has been very, very generous with the funding for the 206 campaign and has plastered the city with billboards and gotten a lot of airtime for commercials that smear prop. 201, while 201 has a very modest budget that doesn’t allow it to do anywhere near as much campaigning. Hopefully people have been paying attention and realize what desperation looks like – the 206 ads take on the insulting “only idiots would vote for 201 and against 206″ attitude. I find those kinds of ads usually mean that campaign is on a slippery slope, but polls show the two have been pretty even all along, unfortunately . . .

    Comment by Tom — November 3, 2006 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  5. […] You may remember the political “intrigue” last fall as two smoking bans butted heads on Arizona’s ballot. The good one won, of course, and went into effect about a month ago, effectively banning all smoking from pretty much any indoor areas – bars included. What’s been fun is watching none of the doom and gloom predicted by the proposition’s opponents. For months beforehand, opponents poured unbelievable amounts of attention on how badly a smoking ban would destroy the bar scene, because, of course, the only people who go to bars are smokers. As we’ve seen in the past month, people who don’t purposely breathe pollution regularly actually do go out and do things, and they’ve been turning up at previously smoke-filled bars. “‘We’re drawing in people who would not come before because they didn’t like the smoke,’” says one bar owner. No kidding? Who would have thought. Oh, that’s right, everyone but the non-smoking ban opponents. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | You’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise » Blog Archive » Smoke out — June 15, 2007 @ 11:42 am | Reply

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