"Free State," Get It?

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Maryland's the latest state to pass a smoking ban, although it needs to reconcile competing versions of the ban before it starts rounding up tobacco fiends.

The two main sticking points are whether to exempt private clubs, and whether the state or local officials should decide when to issue hardship waivers to businesses that demonstrate the ban has harmed them financially. The House would have the state health department decide who receives a waiver, while the Senate leaves that decision to county health officials.

Unless one side concedes, the House and Senate would send a handful of representatives to a conference committee to develop a compromise, which must then be passed in both chambers.

More here with perspective from America's Greatest State,* which Maryland had been laughing at after a smoking ban drove some business its way.

*Delaware.

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  1. Is Delaware even a real place? I thought it was kind of a legal fiction, like all the corporations chartered there.

  2. No, I could’ve sworn I lived there for a few years. Now the Great Punkin’ Chunkin’ — THAT’S the product of a deranged imagination.

    Also: France.

  3. So nice to see that mob rule is the de facto law of the land in these United States of Coercion.

  4. Yes, Delaware is America’s Greatest State. It performs a valuable service for the rest of the world.

    Because it’s small, it doesn’t contain large employer or employee constituencies that skew its corporation law for local reasons. Thus, its corporation law is developed to attract outsiders, not to protect insiders. In order to continue to attract outsiders, Delaware’s corporation law needs to respond to the concerns of both management and investors. People often think of Delaware law as being shaped solely to serve the interests of management, but really, since a corporation formed under such a biased law would not be able to attract investors, corporations would not seek out that law in the numbers that Delaware’s law has been employed.

  5. You should see the way Virginia’s Governor “amended” a smoking bill here.

    As I understand it, the original bill would have done away with the need for non-smoking sections if the restaurant put up a sign that read “smoking permitted.”

    Somehow, Kaine “amended” the bill to ban smoking in all restaurants. I guess Kaine is one of those Liberal-tarians I keep hearing so much about.

  6. I don’t have much sympathy for smokers bitching about anti-smoking ordinances, although I do think it has gone too far in the anti-smoking direction. 15 years ago I was still having to put up with too many damn smokers sitting in non-smoking sections and lighting up, totally oblivious to the signs. There wasn’t enough self-policing by the smoking population–so the authorities stepped in. Standard.

    Supposedly a lot of airlines got into banning smoking after realizing how it was opening them to prosecution on health issues. Smoke particles exhaled from people turn out to be really good disease vectors in small, confined areas. The amount of air-filtering and air exchange that would have been necessary to keep the air “clean” on, say, a 12 hour flight across the Pacific was considered unrealistically expensive.

  7. I don’t have much sympathy for anti-smokers attempting to tell another man how best live his life.

  8. Too bad, grumpy realist, that what you’re talking about is really the “responsibility” of the property owner to enforce his own rules (which is why responsibility is in quotes, ’cause it’s his place and he can let people break his rules if he wants to). The “no smoking” signs in restaurants aren’t law; they’re to be enforced at the property owner’s discretion.

    15 years ago I was still having to put up with too many damn smokers sitting in non-smoking sections and lighting up

    You HAD to put up with them? Someone had a gun at your back and was forcing you to eat there with the smokers? Oh, I thought not…it was really your own choice to be there, like it or not.

  9. “The amount of air-filtering and air exchange that would have been necessary to keep the air “clean” on, say, a 12 hour flight across the Pacific was considered unrealistically expensive.”

    Just open the window, silly.

  10. Too bad, grumpy realist, that what you’re talking about is really the “responsibility” of the property owner to enforce his own rules (which is why responsibility is in quotes, ’cause it’s his place and he can let people break his rules if he wants to). The “no smoking” signs in restaurants aren’t law; they’re to be enforced at the property owner’s discretion.

    I guess the problem is that being a property owner does not give you the right to do anything you want with your property.

  11. I guess the problem is that being a property owner does not give you the right to do anything you want with your property.

    Perhaps using a legal product on your property just might fit in the “allowable” column, huh? maybe?

    Forget it… I know you are kidding Dan, and I don’t smoke anyway.

    It’s just that these busybody, for-your-own-good, “but it makes my clothes smell,” “can’t you read the sign?” anti-smoking mother fuckers make my blood boil. They are killing me more surely than smoke ever could.

  12. I think I’ll buy some perfectly legal vinegar and flick it at Cab’s eyes the next time we’re in the same restaurant together. Hey, nobody forced him at gunpoint to eat there.

    Nah, I wouldn’t do that. But then, I’m not a selfish asshole.

  13. That is some funny shit. You walk into a man’s bar, tell him he can’t allow smoking in there because your clothes will smell, then call him a selfish asshole for taking offense.

    That’s rich.

  14. joe-

    If you walked in and were told
    “hey, we let people flick vinegar in other people’s eyes here”
    and you said “OK…where’s my table?”

    Then you’re the idiot, not anybody else.

    Smoking in restaurants was let known, or was exceptionally obvious, to people coming into restaurants. Face it, grumpy realist was being the selfish asshole, to sit there and voluntarily take something he didn’t like just so he could bitch. There’s no other reason to actually pay to endure something you don’t like. (Unless, of course, you’re forced too, which was my entire point)

  15. “There’s no other reason to actually pay to endure something you don’t like.”

    Unless you actually wanted to eat in a restaruant, any restaurant, once in a while.

  16. “Unless you actually wanted to eat in a restaruant, any restaurant, once in a while.”

    Then there you go, you WANTED to go there. No one forced you. You wanted to eat there, so you have to put up with the atmosphere of the restaurant-you have to listen to their music at their volume, hear/see/smell their kitchen, or not, put up with their menu choices, follow their dress code, and deal with the fact that they do or don’t allow smoking.

    What’s next, laws barring restaurants from requiring a sport coat/suit and tie?

  17. What’s next, laws barring restaurants from requiring a sport coat/suit and tie?

    Nope, next on the chopping block are apparment buildings and attached domiciles. And then eventually private single family properties.

  18. One of the reasons for these bans is a breakdown in the social networks in our communities.

    Smokers frequently ignore common civility and light up without asking those around them (stangers even) if it is objectionable.

    Non-smokers no longer feel comfortable politely asking a stranger to extinguish the cig. even when they are sitting in a non-smoking section.

    People are no longer adept at polite interactions with strangers.

    This leads to the situation whereby individuals tired of the impolite smokers (the majority of the community – remember smokers are about 20%) seek out someone to “enforce” the polite standard.

    Business owners frequently don’t.

    So what happens?

    A law that re-establishes the polite standard.
    After some high-profile years, it will again be common to ask those around you if they mind you smoking, and these laws will fade.

    Smokers brought this on themselves, truly, but only because our society has become so afraid of confrontation that we no longer ask each other directly to behave in a civil manner, but instead use structural mechanisms to solve our problems.

  19. Brendan,

    I didn’t claim anyone forced me to go there. I said that I wanted to be able to eat out once in a while.

    “What’s next, laws barring restaurants from requiring a sport coat/suit and tie?”

    Someone else’s clothing doesn’t introduce substances into my body without my consent.

    “Smokers frequently ignore common civility and light up without asking those around them (stangers even) if it is objectionable.”

    In my experience, this doesn’t happen very much any more. Smokers have become much more poolite, more aware of the fact that their smoking affects other people. Before the big anti-smoking push, people – smokers and non-smokers alike – just sort of accepted that smoke-filled air was the norm. Now, our culture has changed, and people view cigarette smoke as something foreign that is being introduced into the air.

    So much for “laws don’t change mens’ hearts.”

  20. Someone else’s clothing doesn’t introduce substances into my body without my consent.

    Joe you start nit picking at semantics when you run out of arguments.

    He could have just as well said:

    – Whats next a law requiring compulsory showers before I go into a restaurant, so that my B.O. doesnt introduce substances into other people’s bodies with out their consent.

    – Whats next a law requiring that I not wear any cologne/perfume

    – Whats next a law requiring that I dont cook with cury atleast 6 hours before I enter a restaurant, etc…

    Joe maybe you are so ugly/dissfigured that the very site of you makes me sick to my stomach and causes me undue stress, maybe we should pass a law that requires you to wear a burka before you enter a restaurant

  21. I’m trying to get this.

    – Person A owns a bar
    – Persons B, C, D, E, F, G, H go to that bar frequently which Person A has allowed smoking since inception
    – Persons B, C, D are the only ones that smoke
    – Persons E, F, G, H, (the majority) recently become pissed
    – As a result, persons E, F, G, H, get together and use their majority status to direct the coercive, violent, force of the state to compel Person A to change his policy and ban the smoking of Persons B, C, D under the threat of state action.
    – Persons E, F, G, H, are now happy

    Silly me, I was such a simpleton that I thought E, F, G, and H – by literally forcing there wants and desires on the others – were the selfish ones.

    I have now learned that, not only are B, C, and D the selfish ones, but E, F, G and H are the new barometers of civil politeness.

    Got it.

  22. val,

    The distinction between having one’s bodily integrety infringed upon, vs. seeing clothing one dislikes, is not “semantic.” It is a very real, concrete difference.

    And no, none of your other examples are remotely comparable. I’m not going to smell someone’s bo, cologne, or spices on the othe side of the bar. The same cannot be said of second-hand smoke, as anyone who has ever left their house and gone into a place that serves the public would quickly realize. My goodness, the amount of effort some of you people put into not realizing obvious facts is appalling.

  23. Cab,

    How about this: if you assault me, I’m going to respond in kind. Poisoning me is an assault.

    Once upon a time, libertarians believed that it was wrong to impose on other people. Or at least claimed to.

  24. joe –

    I’m not talking smoking at City Hall, or even a public park. I’m not drawing the line at inside or outside. I’m drawing the line at public property vs. private property.

    I can’t believe you don’t think you forcing your will on me in my own bar is an imposition on your part. How is it me imposing on you?

  25. And no, none of your other examples are remotely comparable. I’m not going to smell someone’s bo, cologne, or spices on the othe side of the bar.

    I see Joe, what exactly is the distance at which my BO would become offensive to you? And I dont know about you but I sure as hell can smell some one who bathes in cologne from accross the bar.

    By the way just because you can smell a cigarette does not mean you are getting poisoned by second hand smoke.

    From your post then I can assume that you fully support bars/restaurant building separate smoking and non smoking sections. And you feel that legislation which out right bans smoking on permises with out allowing for alternatives is completely ridiculous?

  26. I see—so, joe, taking your argument to the logical conclusion, people shouldn’t be allowed to smoke around their children either. After all, in your twisted world, that’s assault, and people who assault their kids don’t get to keep them.

    Is that next on the list?

    I am trying to wrap my mind around this; I sink my life savings into a bar, a place for me to make money off of my investment. I find that allowing folks to smoke in a place I own is just fine and makes me more money. So I post signs “We allow smoking in here”. You come in, read the sign and basically say “F that, you smokers, (who are following the rules you agreed to), are rude! Just wait ’til I call my congressman!”

    Jesus, you can’t really be that twisted, can you?

    If I have you as a guest in my house, can I smoke in my house? The answer should be yes…now take it one step further and say that I charge you money to eat the food I prepare and the drinks I serve…can I still smoke there?

    What’s the difference?

  27. And of course the fact that many people have acute allergic reactions to perfumes/colognes should be completly ignored right, joe?

  28. Cab,

    “I’m drawing the line at public property vs. private property.”

    And I’m acknowledging that there is a category in between, called “places of public accommodation.”

    I am absolutely opposed to banning smoking in private homes.

  29. val,

    I’m not going to explain to you how a smoke-filled room gets that way. It’s a simple matter for you to walk into room and notice the difference for yourself.

    Smoking sections, if they work – if they’re actually sealed off with walls or negative air pressure – always seemed like a legitimate solution to me.

  30. val,

    Very few people have acute reactions to perfume, not nearly as many as who experience physical effects from heavy smoke. Please note the term “physical effects” – I’m drawing the line closer to stinging eyes and coughing than to a closed windpipe.

  31. Lots of people bring children to restaurants. Many of those children are ill-mannered and quite obnoxious – and many of their parents do little to curb their shrieking and squabbling. And sometimes, those families choose to sit right next to you.

    Now, I know that when I eat in a restaurant, there may be noisy kids around. But I wonder – why not ban kids from all restaurants? It only inconveniences parents – the rest of us will get welcome peace and quiet. And because we want this, what could be wrong with our pursuing a democratic solution like a ban?

  32. joe-

    I think bars do accommodate the public, but I think they shouldn’t have to accommodate you exactly the way you want them to. I feel market forces can better solve this particular problem than government intervention can. I would think if there were that many people opposed to smoking in bars, alternative, profitable, places would pop up to fill that void. Everyone is happy that way, not just non-smokers.

    Anyway, we just aren’t going to see eye to eye on this one, that’s clear. I’m not trying to gang up on you.

  33. joe, my dad uses the “places of public accomodation” thing too. Maybe you can tell me (since he can’t)…what’s that imaginary line where a private residence crosses that line?

    What about…a bed and breakfast run out of the home? Smoking or no?

    What about…an office building? They DON’T accomodate the public at all…does that mean you could smoke there? (too bad that smoking bans don’t allow this either, so don’t try)

    What about…if I served ten people food and drinks in my dining room, for a charge? Smoking or no?

    The “places of public accomodation” thing doesn’t fly, because restaurants reserve the right to kick your ass out for reasons at their discretion. Sounds like the same rights a homeowner has.

  34. Wow, I sure am glad I left Maryland for the great free state of Ohio!

  35. Smoking sections, if they work – if they’re actually sealed off with walls or negative air pressure – always seemed like a legitimate solution to me.

    Thats great, Joe most reasonable thing you have said so far. Because until now I thought that your answer to separate functional smoking/non smoking sections would have been a resounding NO.

    So by agreeing that you dont have a problem with separate sections, you’ve established that you dont have an issue with smoking being allowed with in one of the sections where non-smokers, like yourself, upon seeing the ‘SMOKING SECTION’ sign would have a choice to enter or not to enter.

    Well, joe, I have the best solution for your conundrum then, and probably the cheapest. What if these two sections were separated by walls, and didnt even share a ventialtion system or an inside entry. That way even as people left the smoking section none of the smoke would enter your section. Better yet what if these two sections were not even physically next to each other, lets say smoking section on one side of the street and then nonsmoking on the other. You would be much better off, wouldnt you say?

    Joe, explain to me then how allowing proper and separate smoking/non-smoking sections is any different then allowing smoking and non smoking establishments?

  36. victory belongs to val.

    Well done, sir.

  37. I feel market forces can better solve this particular problem than government intervention can. I would think if there were that many people opposed to smoking in bars, alternative, profitable, places would pop up to fill that void.

    The problem with that is any idiot can see that market forces do not create non smoking bars in any number (~1-2% of bars), thus, non-smokers resort to legislation.
    It’s much easier to influence elected officials into banning smoke en mass than trying to organize a non smokers rights group to convince bar owners one by one, or quit your current occupation and open your own bar.

  38. Did I not point out that I was in the NON-SMOKING section of the cafe? With big red signs up around there pointing out that it was NON-SMOKING? There was a SMOKING section as well, totally empty, which they could have sat in. They didn’t.

    Face it–what you’re saying is that I’m selfish to ask that the people seated around me follow the posted rules WITHOUT my having to go drag out the cafe owner at 2 AM (which is when it was.)

    And I’m the jerk?

    Sheesh.

  39. Help an idiot out here, “z.”

    Your argument is that market forces obviously aren’t working fast enough, so the best thing to do is influence elected officials to strip the rights of current bar owners because that is easier than you risking your own capital in opening up a competing bar.

    Is that the position you are marrying yourself to?

    If so, I suspect you got that position from the same place you pulled that “~1-2%” number.

  40. And Cab, if someone is saying “can’t you read the sign?”, is that not an attempt by the surrounding society to get you to follow the posted regulation that was put up by the restaurant owner?

    I thought libertarians were into that sort of stuff. Or are you claiming that the only person who can do any enforcement of the stated regulations is the restaurant owner?

    Voluntary self-regulation of smoking. Cab shows exactly why it doesn’t work.

  41. The problem with that is any idiot can see that market forces do not create non smoking bars in any number (~1-2% of bars), thus, non-smokers resort to legislation.

    Maybe because the majority of people who would have patronized bars in the first place are the same people who are actually ok with smoking.

    Now no-smoking legislation supporters could be the majority of the population but they are probably not the majority of bar patrons.

    To argue otherwise; we should have seen a rise in bar patrons after smoking bans passed as the ‘NO-SMOKE’rs who supposedly until now sat at home and were the majority, began replacing or adding to the ‘YES-SMOKE’rs who already went to bars.

    Obviosly we saw the exact oposite happen, indicating that the same ‘YES-SMOKE’rs are still attending bars in the same or declined numbers. The same people that sat at home and supported such legislation are still sitting at home.

  42. If you aruge that actually all the ‘NO-SMOKE’rs already attended bars and simply put up with the smoke and were the majority of bar patrons. Then we should have seen the emergence of non-smoking bars with out any ridicoulous legislation

  43. Bwa ha ha, grumpy! Is this your position?:

    “Well, there were smokers in the non-smokers section, and that’s AGAINST THE RULES (I mean, didn’t you see the sign?) Never mind that there was an owner I could’ve complained to, it was 2 AM! Let’s just pass a law and enforce my preferences at gunpoint!”

    Look, grumpy, smoking bans go above and beyond what you wanted. You wanted delineated smoking/non-smoking areas…fine, I still think that’s for the market to decide, but that’s a reasonable proposition and one I would be willing to advocate to bar owners. Smoking bans go beyond this. Smoking bans are “tyranny of the majority” at its worse. They are the forceful impositition of the moral beliefs of the many over the only people who should have a say about what goes on on their property: the owner and consenting adults.

  44. grumpy realist,

    What exactly makes you think that given the current bans and legislation the same smoker would have acted any differently at 2AM in a caffe?

    Please dont bring up a chance meeting with an asshole, who happened to smoke, as a valid argument for smoking bans.

  45. a more abridged version, grumpy, is if you didn’t like the owner’s enforcement (or lack thereof) of your preferences and his rules, go somewhere else. How hard is that? Pick up and move! You’re not entitled to have your delicate sensibilities catered to everywhere you go.

    Do I go to S/M bars? No, because I know the rules there are for people WHO LIKE S/M! Should you go to smoking bars? No…get the hell on and find your own damn place to go.

  46. You know whats funny. Non smoking S/M bars.

    Yes please, whip me, prod me, burn me. Nipple clamps ,you, say? Alrighty. A ball gag and some erotic assfixiation? I’ll try anything once or twice. Hey wait a minute, that guy has a cigarette. NOT IN MY LUNGS, JERK!

    On a side note, even S/M fans found a market force for bars that specificaly cater to their lifestyles with out any legislation.

  47. Your argument is that market forces obviously aren’t working fast enough, so the best thing to do is influence elected officials to strip the rights of current bar owners because that is easier than you risking your own capital in opening up a competing bar.

    Is that the position you are marrying yourself to?

    My position is that market forces have not created non smoking bars, whatever the reason. If allowed to go on for another 20 years, who knows. Furthermore, legislation is the path of least resistance for people who want smoking removed from places they like to go to. I do not subscribe to that position, I’m just telling you how it is.

  48. val-

    You hit on exactly what bothers me. It’s voluntary and consenting in both cases. What if non-S/M-ers wanted to go into your S/M bar, huh? Why can’t they do that?

    Quick answer: because it’s not for non-S/M-ers. Now take out S/M and put in smoking. Does not the same logic apply?

    erotic assfixiation

    Intentional? Or hilarious Freudian slip?

  49. lol, neither, I just dont know how to spell.

    I googled it, there is an adult movie called assfixiation I think

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