Well, I’m optimistic – I just had a pleasant one-on-one with a City Council member on the issue of reasonable no smoking laws and it turned out really well.
We discussed – after he brought up – the possibility of the city issuing “Tobacco Licenses” – for a few bars and private clubs here that still allow smoking.
Modeled after Liquor Licenses, the city would issue these only to bars and private clubs where children are not allowed. Bar owners would pay a filing fee or something up front, and then an additional charge based on revenue.
This is to address the “Not Level Economic Playing Field” theory coming from supporters of making all bars here non-smoking. They say the bars that allow smoking have an unfair advantage over the bars that don’t. Therefore, they reason, all bars should be made non-smoking to “level the field.”
They also say that the bars that now allow smoking will find they do more business if they ban smoking. If it is true that the smoking bars now have an unfair advantage, it’s hard to see how it could also be true that banning smoking will increase their business.
They say the workers in the two bars and two clubs are being unfairly endangered by their exposure to second-hand smoke. The bartenders, at least at one bar, are arguing that since they smoke themselves, they’re not too worried about second-hand smoke. We’ll see what the anti-smoking crusaders say about this. There’s another City Council meeting in about a week.