Breakthrough for Freedom: D.C. May Allow Smoking in Cigar Lounges

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By a vote of 12 to 1, the D.C. Council yesterday gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants. Under the current version, bar owners and restaurateurs have until January 2007 to adjust, and there are exemptions for outdoor seating, tobacconists, and cigar lounges. Moreover, businesses that suffer a "significant, negative impact" from the ban can seek "economic-hardship waivers." This is what passes for a moderate approach these days.

The single no vote was cast by Council Member Carol Schwartz, an at-large Republican who has long resisted the smoking ban as an infringement on business owners' prerogatives and the principle of free choice. "I don't like [tobacco smoke] either," she said. "But there are 200 [nonsmoking] venues in the city I can choose so that I don't have to be around it."

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  1. Woo-hoo!! cIgar lounge somking in DC….

    In the words of Jules Vincent: “I’m going….I’m fucking going”

  2. Schwarz for President!

  3. I am generally against to the use of “scare quotes” in news or opinion articles, but in this instance I do believe their inclusion was wholly justified.

  4. DC is one of the most restrictive places to live. I’m surprised this hasn’t happend sooner.

    And how can you have a town full of fat-cat politicians without cigar bars? Ten bucks for a drink, 5 bucks for a stogie, and you can bask in the sweet glow of liberty.

  5. Incidentally, in a place where people are smoking cigars and pipes, the fragrant secondhand smoke is almost the best part.

  6. HAND DIPPED cigars???

    oh yeah! tuna town here we come!

    flag that pigskin bus!

    start humping your noam chomsky blow up doll! we’re a-comin’!

  7. Best Congressional Inquisitor question ever just happened (witnessed via closed circuit tv).

    Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton:

    “Why are their 11 teams in the Big Ten?”

    Finally someone is getting to the bottom of this enduring mystery.

    Next up: Is the position of “Tight End” unnecessarily homoerotic?

  8. Next up: Is the position of “Tight End” unnecessarily homoerotic?

    Only if they become wide receivers.

  9. If this is anything like Austin, the 200 “nonsmoking venues” are a huge exaggeration (although we already had a restaurant ban and were debating a bar ban at the time — in our case, they were counting the bar attached to a TGI Fridays as an example of a bar which voluntarily went non-smoking, despite sharing air with a restaurant which had to do so 5 years previously, for instance).

  10. So apparently the Westin hotel chain just banned smoking in ALL hotels, all rooms.

    For a wonderful example of watching people eat their own, check out the discussion (i.e., cat fight) going on at Democratic Underground. The pro- and anti-smoking people are using on each other every name-calling technique they use when referring to Republicans. It’s quite a sight to see.
    My favorite so far:
    I don’t want smokers in the same hotel as me just as I wouldn’t want someone who rubs feces on themselves, the fact is you stink even if your not smoking of stale smoke and you make other things stink as well. “

  11. Always nice to see the forces of inclusion and tolerance setting an example for others, isn’t it, Daniel?

  12. “The more corrupt the republic, the more laws it has.” – Tacitus (or Cato?).

  13. In college, I worked for Mrs. Schwartz’s mayoral campaign. She seemed pretty reasonable at the time, and it’s good to see that she’s still around.

  14. F Le Mur, I would guess Tacitus because Cato was the #1 defender of the Senate’s institutional power, and they passed all the laws.

    Also, did you all know it’s a proven fact that your clothes smell better after leaving a cigar place?

  15. RC Dean
    My thoughts exactly. I always try to use the pro-peace and pro-labor movement and their speakers as my personal examples of etiquette and decorum. Better than Miss Manners, even.

  16. and kick-ass leather jackets like Gillespie’s are unaffected by the smoke.

  17. I’m amused at the notion of DC’s strip clubs seeking “economic-hardship waivers”. The owners of those places have long since bought their own private islands, I’m sure.

  18. Daniel Montiel – Wow indeed. What a bunch of drama queens the antis are. These people seem to hate everything and everyone, and are allergic to everything under the sun. And, predictably enough, the shrieks of “Big corporation! Big corporation!” are in there…yeah, your neighborhood bar is owned by a big evil corporation. Sure thing, buddy.

  19. I saw a discussion discussion about this on John Stossel’s message board a while back, where a few people were smart enough to point out that this issue is about property rights – not whether smoking is good or bad. One poster said he didn’t care whose property rights got trampled, as long as he didn’t have to be around cigarette smoke. (I’m sure it didn’t enter his mind that HIS property rights might be trampled someday by some other nanny-state regulations.)

  20. M1EK,
    I’m guessing that you aren’t one of those “Keep Austin Weird” types.

  21. Weakning the smoking ban is a severe blow to children everywhere, who deserve to be able to go to a bar without getting all cranky because the smoke irritates their throat.

  22. “One poster said he didn’t care whose property rights got trampled, as long as he didn’t have to be around cigarette smoke.”

    Uh… I would say that people like this jackass are in the majority everywhere, except maybe some western states (obviously excluding the coastal ones…)

    Their line of thought (for this and many other things)

    1. I don’t like (fill in the blank)

    2. The State can ban (fill in the blank)

    Conclusion: Let’s get the State to ban (fill in the blank)!

  23. I’m sure it didn’t enter his mind that HIS property rights might be trampled someday by some other nanny-state regulations.)

    Pirate Jo:

    All to true, but then you’re forced to utter the old cliche’ “First they came for the Jews…” line. However, despite its cliche status, it’s damned accurate in these modern times of ours.

    Paul

  24. One other loophole in the law allows smoking in places where research on smoking is done.

    The bar/restaurant owners should fund some researchers to study smoking in their bars. It could be a ten or twenty year study to compare drinking levels of smokers and non-smokers. Any establishment that kicks in and opens their doors to the study becomes a place of research. Hell, they play their cards right they could probably even cover the cost by writing up an NIH grant, though this would be less libertarian of them.

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