Reason.tv: Smoking Bans Are No Match For New Yorkers

 

Smoking in bars and restaurants has been banned in New York City since 2003 but Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently added beaches, parks, and pedestrian plazas to the long and growing list of places where smoking is verboten in the Big Apple. "Sin taxes" on cigarettes have driven the average price of a pack to more than $11.

Yet in a city renowned for its innovation and drive, smokers have found ways to work around government attempts at social engineering. These include the booming "loosie" trade, where street entreprenuers risk arrest to sell loose cigarettes for a dollar each on the streets of Manhattan; tobacco crops blooming in Brooklyn; and a thriving Soho bar/restaurant that survived the smoking ban thanks to an obscure grandfather clause.

With so much tax revenue being lost to the black market, and even the green market, perhaps it's time for a mayor who made billions in the free market to consider allowing business owners to set their own policies, and let the marketplace sort out the demand for smoking and smoke-free establishments.

About 4 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher.

For more Reason.tv on smoking and tobacco, go here.

For downloadable versions of this video, links, and other supporting materials, go to http://reason.tv

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Restoras||

    ...perhaps it's time for a mayor who made billions in the free market...

    Nanny Bloomberg? HAHA! You guys!

    I do wonder sometimes what it is about people like Bloomberg - does thier success go to their heads and sudddenly they think they know what right/good for everyone else? Kind of a confirmation bias feedback loop?

  • ||

    Yes. Absolutely. Mayor Mikey knows what is best for you because he's a winner. He's like Charlie Sheen, except that Charlie doesn't try and tell you how to live. WINNING...and warlocks.

  • Fellow Billionaire||

    Mike is a winner. Don't you wish you had his billions? Or his talent?

  • ||

    like many on the left, NY country clubbers like Bloomie think they are smarter than everyone else, they can make better choices than people can make on their own, and they don't see the inherent flaws in their own ideas.

    When govt ban the use of one legal product on private property, there is nothing to stop it from banning the use other legal products on private property.

  • ||

    Bloomberg ran -- and won -- the election as a Republican. Not that there's a whole lot of difference between the two.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Tangential, but interesting...

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/40213

    I don't mean to pick on libertarians. Everyone who professes to care about liberty does the same sort of thing. It seems to me that most of our high-level political concepts like "freedom" or "equality" are tailored and tweaked to justify the kind of political regime we already tend to favor. If you are offended by taxation, you'll settle on a conception of liberty according to which taxation is a violation. If you think a relatively high level of taxation is necessary to give people what you think they ought to get, you'll settle on a conception of liberty according to which taxation is not a violation, but not giving people what you think they ought to get is. That's why abstract political philosophy is so often futile. It's probably more useful to start out arguing over regime types in the first place, since mostly what we do is choose our favorite regime type and then reason backwards to conceptions of liberty, equality, and so forth that justify our pick.
  • Another Phil||

    How is this interesting? And who is this "we" that you speak of?

  • ||

    Ten types of high maintenance men. The ending is hysterical.

    http://www.thefrisky.com/post/.....friend/P0/

  • WTF||

    I think "What would Johnny Cash do?" is a keeper.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Next they'll be opening up wheezeasies.

  • 9/11 Truther||

    9/11 was an inside job by Big Tobacco to create a giant promotion for their products.

    http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpima.....76.jpg?v=1

  • Dr. K||

    a thriving Soho bar/restaurant that survived the smoking ban thanks to an obscure grandfather clause.

    I'll bet the mere existence of this drives the ninnies nannies into fits of apoplexy.

  • ed confesses his sins||

    I've been summering in "upstate" New York this year prior to my move in one week to what the Mercatus Center has rated the #4 most "free" state (Idaho! Read all about it here: http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011/ID). Anyway, I've been stocking up on cigars via the internet through JR-cough-Cigars-cough, and I have somehow managed to forget to voluntarily pay New York's onerous cigar tax (75% of the wholesale price, and possibly out of date: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org.....f/0169.pdf). Please don't tell on me!

  • ||

    ""perhaps it's time for a mayor who made billions in the free market to consider allowing business owners to set their own policies, and let the marketplace sort out the demand for smoking and smoke-free establishments.""

    Smoke free establishments, bars for example, are subject to the state ban, not the city ban, therefore Bloomberg can't change that law.

    However, parks and beeches, that's all Bloomie and city counsel.

  • ||

    These include the booming "loosie" trade, where street entreprenuers risk arrest to sell loose cigarettes for a dollar each on the streets of Manhattan

    JFC. You would think that NYC police--and especially NYC police, who know what real crime actually is--would not waste their time on such piddly crap.

    When I'm in NYC, friends from there laugh at me because I'll stand there waiting patiently at crosswalks for the lights to change, while everybody else is just goin' for it. The cops know better than to try to stop a few million people a day and write them jaywalking tickets, why don't they know better than to arrest loosie vendors?

  • JD the elder||

    Hey, it's easier and safer than arresting real criminals.

  • ||

    Sure, let the "marketplace" sort it out. In my marketplace, I will just shoot smokers who compromise my health.

  • better than you||

    Yeah, but what about second-hand bullets?

  • ||

    AHH, this explains why guns are more popular than cigarettes in Mayor Blowhards New York.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Careful Jimbino, they're pretty sensitive around here regarding personal responsibility - you can't dump toxic waste on private property, but you can force toxins on your neighbor's body.

  • ||

    Nobody is forcing you to breathe. Why not just quit?

    And I have no problem keeping smoke from your air molecules--just post 'no trespassing' signs on them and we'll have no problem--oh, be sure to have proof of ownership available so we know you're not trying to pull a fast one.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Proof or ownership? You sound like a lefty.

  • blah||

    i know personal responsibility is a hard concept for some of you to grasp but YOU choose your environment. don't like smoke? get the fuck out. noone is forcing any 'second hand smoke' on you. i don't smoke. guess what? if i want to avoid it, I do. I don't need the government to bully the business owners in MY behalf because I'm not some self righteous prick

  • ||

    i know personal responsibility is a hard concept for some of you to grasp but YOU choose your environment. want to smoke? get the fuck out. no-one is forcing any 'fresh air' on you.

    And you are a self-righteous prick.

  • better than you||

    You could turn your bar into a scientific research center...

  • El-Z||

    Additional downtown smoking-friendly bars include Karma on 1st Ave in the EV and Kush in the LES.

  • Rhywun||

    They're crowing today about how low they've pushed the smoking rate. Considering that the city and state budget is thoroughly dependent on them, I'm wondering what the next step will be.

  • ||

    Banning smoking and other unhealthy activities is the logical next step after guaranteeing free health care for all. Since I'm gonna have to pay for your oxygen tank later, then I should be able to insist that you don't smoke now. I'm all for personal liberty, but this smoking picture is bigger than an individual. Everyone wants to hold on to all their vices and then get bailed out by others when the bill comes due. (this comment seems a little rambley to me; hope ya'll can make sense of it)

  • Rhywun||

    End-of-life medical costs are enormous no matter how you go. Do you agree that I have the right to dictate the exact manner in which you live, in order to delay those costs?

  • ||

    For all you ninnies who are whining about smokers...go fuck yourselves. I never asked you to pay for my health care.

  • ||

    If you have insurance, you did ask me to pay for your health care. So here's the compromise: Smokers will not get any health benefits for any cardiopulmonary disorder. Deal?

  • ||

    Cathy-Can I have some of the drugs you are smoking? Then in your perfect world, you should also be able to dictate everything I do, becasue you know for sure that every single person that smokes gets cancer and dies, oh except for the inconvenient truth that non-smokers die of the same diseases in far greater rates?

    Sanctimonious non-smokers are the worse. I don't smoke, but I can sure read a freaking sign and avoid the exposure if I want.

  • ||

    So, I should take up smoking to increase my life expectancy? Really?

    Well, I'm sure you believe it.

  • ||

    remember bloombewrg of bloomberg horsesheet news for profit in dealing with stocks still thinks insider dealing of the sort using bull sheet info should remain legal, as well as his billions......

  • ||

    It's impossible for businesses to set their own rules, because the whinging little addicts will cry and scream for their little phallic mouthpieces.

    No one proposes that businesses be allowed to "set their own rules" on race, gender, handicapped access or health codes.

    It's not about "rights." It's about pathetic addicts refusing to give a crap about anyone, as long as they get their fix.

    Drinkers don't pee on the table--they go to the bathroom. Likewise, smokers can go outside, do what they need to, and come back, rather than sharing the filth.

    Or they could grow up, show some self control, and quit.

  • ||

    Actually, many libertarians DO believe businesses should be allowed to "set their own rules" on race, gender, handicapped access, or health codes. A filthy, dirty, sexist restaurant wouldn't get a lot of customers. Discrimination doesn't generally pay, especially (thankfully) in today's society.

  • mbt shoes outlet||

    good

  • kicksneakerboxes||

    good

  • snapback hats||

    Yet in a city renowned for its innovation and drive, smokers have found ways to work around government attempts at social engineering

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement