City Government

Drink Up And Snuff Your Butts

Apart from the intrusion into individual liberties, Boise’s proposed smoking ban is about as likely as the 18th amendment (prohibition) of ever succeeding. Most absurd is the attempt to ban smoking in drinking establishments–debated at a public meeting Wednesday.

To put the issue in perspective, consider this: It is perfectly legal to drink intoxicating alcohol which alters the mood and minds of drinkers, is often the cause of domestic violence, assorted crimes, deaths, and unwanted babies. Yet there is a move afoot to ban these same folks from smoking tobacco.

Just as prohibition spawned illicit “speakeasys” and organized crime, we can see Boise coppers walking around the downtown area with a tape measure and arresting folks puffing tobacco within 10 feet of an entrance or at an outdoor patio, or nabbing a guy with a snoot full of vodka for lighting up inside his favored watering hole.

We don’t drink or smoke and don’t like places that allow smoking. However, it should be within the rights of those who enjoy booze and butts to engage in their activities. Those places just won’t get any business from the greenies opposed to smoke. That’s how the free market system works.

Apart from the smoking ban in bars the proposed ordinance also:
• Ban smoking on patios or cafes on public property or in the public right-of-way (such as sidewalks). Smoking would be OK on privately owned patios designated for those age 21 and older (such as outdoor bar patios).
• Ban smoking in private clubs, within 10 feet of bus stops, in employee break rooms and where people stand in line (such as movie or concert ticket queues).

Additional restrictions, expanding the 10-foot smoke-free zone around bus stops and outdoor cafes to 20 feet, and banning smoking near public buses such as the Downtown transit mall and banning all smoking on The Grove are being considered.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Next will be trans fats in cooking oils.

  2. You’re correct Dave, “That’s how the free market system works.”

    However we have people like Shealy coughing up his straw men arguments for a boise ban. “The annual health care costs in Idaho directly caused by smoking are $319 million” Shealy is quoted in the statesman. Well, Shealy, are you suggesting this ban will reduce that? And if it does, it might be because of less smoking, then that would mean less tax revenue from cigarettes. Will that then lead to higher taxes for everyone to offset the lower cigarette tax revenue? Even if everybody quit smoking, that $319 million annual cost is not going to be reduced for decades. Then theoretically, in the decades after everybody quits smoking, people will tend to live longer, then the cost of health care will skyrocket because of all the people who’s lives are extended are added to the health care system. As far as the healthy workplace argument, I would bet more damage has been wrought by the boise city council than is ever wrought by the poor employees who choose to work in a job that exposes them to second hand smoke. Smelly and annoying? yes. Harmful? not even.

  3. I support public smoking because quite frankly, I like the extra parking! Growthaphobes should support public smoking for the tax revenue and eventually less people.

  4. I say leave the Bars alone. If people wish to smoke and have a drink in a bar they should be able to do so.

    We are going to make otherwise law abiding people criminals. I don’t smoke and I will make a move for the door in places where I can’t get fresh air.

  5. chicago sam
    Oct 6, 2011, 1:31 pm

    It’s a job producing measure. One can only imagine the number of enforcers going around sniffing for butts. I would guess donuts are safe for now

  6. Good way to clean the bums out of the parks and such, but the smokers will just drive farther to smoke in a bar that allows it. So this may lead to increase in drunk driving. The DUI task force focus has been on the easy pray trapped in the downtown area, so that will need a reworking too.

  7. Dumb idea. Government must have better things to do than this. There are countless numbers of non-smoking bars around. This is a total non-issue. Shealy is a goofball.

  8. Clippityclop
    Oct 6, 2011, 3:45 pm

    The health costs of smoking are astronomical. Anything that makes it more difficult is A-OK with me.

  9. I am a smoker. A “fair weather” smoker if you will, mostly only when I’m out having a few cocktails w my girlfriends. I fully support this ban in bars and parks. Making me walk outside to smoke will inevitably make me smoke less. And really, who does that hurt? Absolutely nobody. And I would never think to smoke at a park, where children play, they don’t deserve to be at the behest of adults willing to poison themselves. I pray all bars become smokeless. Not only does that look out for healthy individuals, but for smokers as well. And really, what’s enjoyable about coming home and having all your clothes and hair smell like an ashtray?

  10. Smokers will not stop going to the bars just because they have to go outside to smoke, most already do that at home anyways. It will help to get non smokers into more bars, like myself, I have not been into a smoking bar since I had to bounce in one. It will also drastically improve the working conditions for many people who may have no other options for a job.

  11. boisetaxpayer
    Oct 7, 2011, 8:21 am

    maybe ban alcohol and tobacco?? humm…there is a thought!

  12. This proposal is clearly a breach on civil liberties. And the idea that walking past a smoker on the greenbelt is going to harm me is rediculous.

    That said, smokers should be taxed at a rate that actually covers their impact to the cost health care for non smokers.

    $100 or $200 a pack should about cover it.

  13. Why don’t we just ban personal responsibility and freedom and get it over with.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    – C. S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)

  14. There are not many bars, relatively speaking, that permit smoking anymore. I am at a complete loss as to how someone who is offended in any way by smoke could possibly end up in a smoking bar.

  15. Personally I’m not a smoker. I don’t think its good for me. But is this the place of the government to tell business what they can and cannot allow in their Places? I think business will do what is good for there customers without the intrusion of government. Please don’t take away our choices. It is what makes America a special place.

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