Will 2012 Be the Year of ‘No Smoking’ in Philly?

As we’ve detailed before, there is a quiet war on cigarette smoking in both this city and this state. An indoor smoking ban has been effect in all bars and restaurants at which food makes up less than 20 percent of their establishment’s total annual sales. In May 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order at the Kingsessing Recreation Center that banned smoking in city-owned recreation centers and outside, at playgrounds and pools.

This at first seemed like a no-brainer. But as part of the “Get Philly Healthy Initiative,” the city may take all of this smoking stuff even further. There’s a PDF on the city’s website which reads, in part, “Smoking in public recreational facilities is a costly public nuisance. It is a common habit of smokers to discard cigarette butts and packages on City streets, sidewalks, parks, and other public areas. The City does not have the resources to remove the excessive amount of litter created by smokers.”

Philly has also considered putting images of diseased lungs inside stores which sell cigarettes which, some studies show, do not work.

Now, it’s being reported that there’s a movement to “close the loopholes” of the ban on indoor smoking, and make it so that smoking is simply banned indoors, everywhere. As according to WITF (h/t Keystone Politics), 2012 may see that happen.

Deborah Brown, head of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, says the result is a regulatory patchwork in which people aren’t sure where they can go if they don’t want to be around secondhand smoke.

“You never know,” said Brown. “Like, you could go into a restaurant thinking that ‘Oh, it’s a restaurant, it should be smoke-free,’ and for whatever reason of the exemptions, it may not be.”

Brown said the exceptions weaken the indoor smoking ban. But the ban itself was the result of a hard-won compromise, something that had to be hammered out in a 2008 conference committee.

The American Lung Association is said to be working with Republican State Sen. Greenleaf of Bucks County on this issue, neither of whom seem to realize how cool smoking looks. More on this issue later.

4 Responses to “ Will 2012 Be the Year of ‘No Smoking’ in Philly? ”

  1. ” “You never know,” said Brown. “Like, you could go into a restaurant thinking that ‘Oh, it’s a restaurant, it should be smoke-free,’ and for whatever reason of the exemptions, it may not be.” ”

    Anyone who’s wondering just how much they can trust the information coming out of the antismoking lobby simply needs to think about that statement by Brown. Look back at the year of 2011 and think about just how often you went out to anything that could be reasonably called a restaurant rather than a tavern. Now, think about how many times you walked into such a restaurant and found it was a smoking restaurant.

    Ten times? Five? Twice? Even once? It’s certainly not something that has caused wide distress among Pennsylvanians, and most certainly not among Philadelphians who can’t even smoke anymore in Dirty Frank’s. The problem that Ms. Brown and the Lung Association folks are trying to avoid stating directly, is simply that there are still a few places in the state where smokers and their friends can gather together and enjoy themselves over a drink, a snack, and a smoke with no one being thrown outside to the dumpsters.

    This goes against the entire social engineering concept that’s driven the smoking ban movement since the 1975 “World Conference on Smoking and Health” where the “secondhand smoke strategy” was largely devised. “Loopholes” cannot be allowed: they encourage people to take advantage of their freedoms and continue to smoke if they like. Ms. Brown, Sen. Greenleaf, et al. should be content to sit with the destruction they’ve already caused to the nightlife in Philly and elsewhere with their bans rather than seeking to make it even worse.

    The only improvement that would be worthwhile at this point would be giving some of the establishments currently laboring under the ban the freedom to petition for permission to change their business model so as to offer Free Choice once again if their owners desire it. The threat of walking into “restaurants” filled with smoke could easily be avoided by a rule mandating signs on the front doors of anyplace that allows smoking.

    How about it Ms. Brown, Sen. Greenleaf? Up for trying something like that?

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  2. Just a brief added note: Ms. Brown also said, “the result is a regulatory patchwork in which people aren’t sure where they can go if they don’t want to be around secondhand smoke.”

    Might I suggest a library, a full service restaurant, a theater, a bus or train or station for such, a courthouse (or indeed ANY publicly owned building), an office, a grocery store, a bookstore, a flower shop, a mall, a hotel lobby, a nonsmoking hotel room, a bar that has chosen to ban smoking of its own Free Choice, a school building, a hospital, a post office, a play, an airport, an airplane, a taxi, a supermarket, a hockey game, an indoor concert, an ice-skating rink, an… well, I said I’d keep it brief, but I’m sure you can think of at least one or two other places out there in that “regulatory patchwork.”

  3. Hmmm… January a year later, and guess what? The Antismokers are back again beating the same drum. The problem is that as long as these people are getting paid to promote smoking bans, whether that pay is in raw, straight dollars as salaries, laundered smokers’ tax dollars in grant money, or pandered voting efforts by politicians who enjoy standing behind lines of children while claiming to be noble in trying to “protect” them from the evil smokers at the bars and strip clubs … as long as these people are getting paid, they’ll keep coming back.

    How about as a start, we yank all their official funding, and let them continue to show us how noble they are as they fight for what they believe in?

    Anyone want to take bets on how many of them will be around with their demands in January 2014?

    - MJM

  4. Whoops! GollyGeeWhillikersGumdropsBatman! Here we are in March 2014 now…

    … and again, Greenleaf and the whole set of staff Antismokers are indeed “back again” just like vampires from the grave, looking to “close the loopholes” that are continuing to confuse poor innocent people all over the state who are wandering into places with no idea whether smoking is allowed, sit down and order an expensive meal, and then, suddenly, become aware that people are SMOKING in the place!

    You have to wonder just how many years it would take for people to think about that possibility BEFORE they order that meal, or just what the problem is that they are so sensitive to the “stink” once they see someone smoking, but were totally incapable of noticing the “stink” that they claim would have been left by the umpteen thousands of cigarettes previously smoked in that particular restaurant or bar.

    Strange how that sensitivity cuts in and out and only displays itself when convenient, eh?

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame”

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