Helping Us Taste the Bite of Death/I Know, I Know My Time has Passed

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Hey, Illinois smokers: The door is thataway.

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a statewide smoking ban in public places Tuesday that would eliminate a confusing patchwork of local laws and leave smokers in every community with one place in common to light up—outside.

For residents of Chicago, the biggest change is timing: Smokers would have to snuff out their cigarettes in taverns and restaurants with bar areas on Jan. 1, six months earlier than the deadline set by Chicago.

Monique Garcia and Jeffrey Meitrodt have the scene inside the House chamber.

Cheers erupted in the House chambers as Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), the bill's sponsor, embraced colleagues and slapped high-fives.

"Smokers have a right to smoke, but . . . they should not have a right to force others to breathe their smoke," Yarbrough said. "Government has a right to speak up and step in when the actions of one person harm another."

Reason's copious coverage of smoking laws and bans is collected here, across five pages.

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  1. It’s inevitable.

  2. Wow, Illinois is behind Arizona in this BS. We went smoke free statewide yesterday.

    Nick

  3. So…smokers have no right to make others breathe their smoke, so they’re forbidden from congregating in private smoking rooms and instead made to smoke in public?

    That make sense to anyone else?

    Seriously–a good friend of mine is deathly allergic to smoke. This bill, which will increase the number of smokers she has to walk past to get into buildings while decreasing the number of smokers she’ll never encounter because they’re smoking indoors in private, will increase her chances of suffering a deadly asthma attack. If there’s a good reason to ban smoking it’s to keep people like her alive. Ergo, this bill sucks for every possible reason.

  4. Ridiculous.

    That there seems to be a mass hysteria in this country regarding smoking that’s so pervasive that people are willing to infringe on property rights to pursue these ends is both frightening and sad.

  5. Actually smokers do not have a “right to smoke”. What they DO have a right to do is spend their money how they wish and behave how they desire on their own private property, so long as this doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights.
    Does anyone else think it’s insane that these lawmakers talk about made-up “rights” while they erode one of the most basic rights; private property?

  6. so they’re forbidden from congregating in private smoking rooms and instead made to smoke in public?

    Outdoor smoking is next on the hit list.

    A restaurant or bar open to the public can’t really be consider a private smoking room. Def. private: Not accessible by the public.

  7. Good news for nonsmokers who will have more clean air to breathe, and also good news for smokers who will not have as many opportunities to engage in their unhealthy habit.

  8. Does anyone have a problem with the “high fiving” by politicians passing restrictive legislation on private property?

    When they get this pumped up, could it embolden our legislators to get really creative and ban things like vegtable oil, light bulbs, and plastic bags.
    Naw, it couldn’t get that stupid, could it.

  9. Does anyone else think it’s insane that these lawmakers talk about made-up “rights” while they erode one of the most basic rights; private property?

    Of course, the whole idea of “private property” is not a right, but rather a restriction – the government telling me what I can’t do on a parcel of land because it “belongs” to someone else.

  10. jb

    It is my understanding that it is impossible to be allergic to tobacco smoke.

    I do like the way you use the “allergy” angle to show how stupid these laws are though.

  11. “Good news for nonsmokers who will have more clean air to breathe, and also good news for smokers who will not have as many opportunities to engage in their unhealthy habit.”

    And great news for all of us too dumb to know which group we’re in. Thanks, Gub’mint!

    [high-fives Dan T.]

  12. z: “A restaurant or bar open to the public can’t really be consider a private smoking room. Def. private: Not accessible by the public.”

    No, the definition of private is a place that is owned by an individual and not the state.

  13. Of course, the whole idea of “private property” is not a right, but rather a restriction – the government telling me what I can’t do on a parcel of land because it “belongs” to someone else.

    Just like murder is the government telling you what you can’t do to someone else because that person’s life happens to “belong” to them.

  14. “Good news for nonsmokers who will have more clean air to breathe, and also good news for smokers who will not have as many opportunities to engage in their unhealthy habit.”

    And very bad news for those who want to live fast and die young. The unforseen benefit is that we rebels are planning your unsavory demise while we’re outside inhaling fire.

  15. “Wow, Illinois is behind Arizona in this BS. We went smoke free statewide yesterday.”

    Yeah, my sister and her husband live out in Arizona. They registered to vote just so that they could support the smoking ban proposition last fall, because they want to go to bars without smelling like smoke when they get home. Their motives represent those of most people who support this- it has nothing to do with “public health” and everything to do with what their own personal preference is.

  16. Just like murder is the government telling you what you can’t do to someone else because that person’s life happens to “belong” to them.

    No, because one’s life is not a thing to be possessed. But yes, outlawing murder does restrict freedom. At least in the libertarian sense.

  17. And very bad news for those who want to live fast and die young. The unforseen benefit is that we rebels are planning your unsavory demise while we’re outside inhaling fire.

    But the more smokers are ostracized, the more rebellious the act becomes. So the government is doing you a favor.

  18. Dan T.,
    Ok, you’re just trolling now, never mind.

  19. And while people will say that smoking restrictions are a limitation of freedom, the truth is that if you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to live in Illinois.

  20. Actually what the government is doing is infringing on the rights of bar and restaraunt owners.

    Seriously, if people quit going to their establishments because of smoke, they’d probably make them non smoking on their own.

    The lesson here I believe is that we smokers probably tip better than non smokers!

  21. Sam, of course I’m trolling (definition: breaking from H&R GroupThink), but it is true that the right to own private property is really a restriction from others using that property.

    It differs from such rights as freedom of speech and religion in that way.

  22. DanT.: These laws really are an infringement on private property. There’s no reason a bar shouldn’t be able to post a sign saying “WARNING: SMOKE INSIDE” and go about its business. There are laws that affect places of public accomodation, but we’re talking about bars here, places dedicated to the slow suicide that smokers and drinkers engage in.

  23. trolling (definition: breaking from H&R GroupThink)
    I’m sure you like to think of it that way.

    t is true that the right to own private property is really a restriction from others using that property
    And I’m willing to debate you on that point, which I find to be inconsistent with the ideals of a free democracy and a servant government, but not if you’re going to say ridiculous things like “But yes, outlawing murder does restrict freedom. At least in the libertarian sense.”

  24. I’m a me-first thinking non-smoker in Chicago, so this is good news for me.

    I saw Kristin Hersh play at the Abbey Pub a few years ago when she was about seven months pregnant. They didn’t allow smoking that night. It was awesome.

  25. Yarbrough represented me until I moved a couple years ago. I never voted for her, but she never had any chance of losing anyway. Cook County politics = City of Chicago politics.

  26. Hey Seitz,

    I like going to the Abbey on non-Seitz nights.

    Place smells better then.

  27. “””that would eliminate a confusing patchwork of local laws and leave smokers in every community with one place in common to light up-outside.””””

    I already know one of the next bans in Chicago, been there, seen it. Noise.

    That’s the problem here in NYC. Now that everyone has to go outside the bar, the noise goes up. You get 10 – 20 people smoking in front of a bar try to have conversations, it gets pretty loud. Now the city is cracking down on noise, placing fines on bars left and right. Too many noise complaints, you get shut down.

  28. Place smells better then.

    I can’t argue with that. Don’t worry, though, if we’re ever there on the same night, you can hang out outside with the smokers. Problem solved.

  29. I personally think it should be up to the establishment. If the bar wants to be a smoking bar so be it. If it wants to be a non-smoking bar, so be it. They can throw you out for smoking. Dan T’s mention of social contract theory still holds, except you don’t have to find a new state to live in, just a new bar.

  30. Bobster,
    OK, cigarette smoke aggravates her asthma with unique severity. In any event, secondhand smoke exposure can send her into a deadly asthma episode. I’d much rather smokers go into smoking rooms and close the door than stand around in her path.

    Z: I’m thinking of office buildings, which always have a congregation of smokers outside, and which could easily create a smoking room inside, if that was legal.

  31. I think it’s just horrible how smokers in this country are dragging innocent people from their homes, forcing them into bars and restaurants and tying them to chairs while blowing smoke in their faces, or worse injecting them directly with cancer. Kudos to the Illinois legislature for finally doing something about these Shanghai nic addicts.

    For some grim laughs, check out local newspaper stories about the ban once it’s in effect, and count the ratio of people saying “Thank God workers are finally safe!” to people saying “Whopee, now I can go whereever I want and my clothes don’t smell!” In Ohio, it was about 1:10.

  32. While this stuff strains libertarian principles, one could argue that employees in smoking establishments could sue (or at least file complaints with OSHA) for exposure to carcinogens in their workplace that their employer does not monitor nor control.

    As to smoking anywhere but outside, Resistance is Futile, you will be assimilated.

  33. Dan: “And while people will say that smoking restrictions are a limitation of freedom, the truth is that if you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to live in Illinois.”

    It’s like having a child who grows up, lives in your house, tells you what to do and what not to do, and eats (insert the percentage) of your food. No one is making you stay in your house, but you know, it’s your house.

  34. Where is the middle ground here? The only 2 options ever mentioned in this debate are 1. business owners choose to allow smoking (or not )without restriction, or 2. All businesses are prohibited from allowing smoking. If I open a business and want to provide food, I need a license, if I want to allow alcohol, I need a license, if I want to cut fricking hair, I need a license. But if I choose to allow smoking, there are no requirements.

  35. Your right to smoke ends where my nostrils begin. Or something like that.

  36. Right on, ultron! The problem is, my nostrils go other places than bars. When, oh when, will the legislature protect me from smoke in every possible home and business I might ever want to go into? After all, my nostrils have rights, and they can’t read signs like “smoking allowed here” or “no trespassing”.

  37. Keep speaking truth, Dan T….some of us love your point of view.

  38. Your right to smoke ends where my nostrils begin. Or something like that.

    Your right to sit and bitch about the smoke ends when you walk in a bar or restaraunt, smell smoke and sit down anyway.

    BTW, that whooshing sound over your head was common sense flying by.

  39. Tbone,
    Sure, you could file a compaint with OSHA, but they have rightfully determined that second hand smoke is not a health hazard. Details and background here: http://www.forces.org/writers/kjono/pdf/Politics-ETS-Summary.doc

  40. Yeah, Dan T. really knows what is up. He is da man. Woo-hoo! I love Dan T. long time.

    Hip Hip Hooray!

  41. Well, I figure private charity can provide havens for smokers. You know, how libertarians figure private charity can feed the poor and educate the needy and stuff like that 🙂

  42. Ultron,

    I know you’re trying to be cute, but in reality most statewide smoking bans wouldn’t even permit a private charity for smokers, as it would endanger the workers (who couldn’t have found jobs anywhere else). If the decision about whether or not to allow smoking was kept in private hands, no one on this board would have anything to say on the matter.

  43. I’m about tired of fascists posting on this site. Then again, what would we do without them?

  44. Full disclosure, I smoked at least eight cigs when Gov’t Mule rocked a local bar here last week. The escorts with the old ugly guys at the next table smoked a pack a piece. It didn’t bother anyone that I could tell.

  45. Pretty soon it will be simpler for our masters to just tell us the things that are permitted. And, think about it, so earth-friendly too. We would not have to cut down nearly as many trees to make paper to print the law books. And you’d be able to get a law degree in about six weeks.

    A win-win all around I say.

  46. Re: anti-smoking bans as workplace safety regulation.

    This would make more sense if OSHA or parallel state agencies set ambient standards for smoke, then allowed owners of establishments to install ventilation equipment that brought the indoor air quality up to the standard. That’s not what the various states, cities, counties, etc. are doing.

    Meanwhile, restaurants create all kinds of smoke in their kitchens, and whenever the chef or captain can’t find a galley slave or waiter, they are out in the alley smoking.

    Kevin

  47. No one should have to be subjected to Kristin Hersh. I call for a ban.

  48. Almost everybody I know is in favor of banning smoking. About a year ago one of the communities near us banned smoking. None of the anti-smoking people had any desire to go to the bars in the non-smoking community.

    A few observations about nonsmoking bars/restaurants:

    I get to breath everybody’s smoke as I walk into and out of the restaurant bar. If I had to wait for a table (which isn’t really a problem in the non-smoking places anymore) I’d be breathing a lot more smoke than if there was smoking inside and I sat in a non-smoking section.

    Outdoor seating during the summer was once one of the few joys of living in my hellish place. Now it’s a place for all the smokers to congregate.

    The bars are now full of families with little kids. Note: these families do not take kindly to drunk people dropping the f-bomb around their kids.

    As somebody who works in an unairconditioned office next to the entrance of a nonsmoking building, I appreciate the times when I don’t have to breath smoke. But I understand that fascism is wrong, plus laws like this have many unintended consequences — just think how miserable life is going to be for the people who live in unairconditioned apartments right above the entrance to the bar.

  49. I live in Illinois. This legislation will just make me appreciate my visits to Missouri and Arkansas that much more.

    I’m predicting a rise in packaged liquor sales and also of course patio furniture, charcoal, propane and propane accessories.

  50. Who will compensate me for all the lost business from the smoking ban?

  51. I like that this sort of laws prohibit even making closed rooms for smokers. Ohio’s prohibited a fucking smoker’s lean-to, even. Outside a pipe bowl a month, I don’t even smoke, and this bugs the hell out of me — if we stuck any other 25% of the adult population in aquariums, it’d be a civil rights violation.

    Thankfully, we all know no other odious but fun personal habit will be next. That slippery slope thing is a fallacy, remember! People with cell phones (electromagnetic waves are a major cancer risk at that power and exposure duration), obesity (the children! Think of the children! No, not the flaws in the BMI system that can lead to us starving folk, the Children!), alcohol (fumes are carcinogenic), reusable dishes (dishwasher hands are [i]ugly[/i]), flavored popcorn (carcinogenic fumes again as well as more conventional brachial damage), gasoline (benzene for teh lose), sunshine (the UN claims 60,000+ people die yearly from it), guns (the children again!), or free speech (nasty stuff).

    “When someone says there oughta be a law, there oughta [i]not[/i].”

  52. Are there any farmers in southern Illinois near Korntucky that grow tobacco?

  53. It would be nice if everyone would simply ignore these sorts of intrusive grabs of private property. Just go about running your business of allowing or barring smoking as you see fit and tell the governor or legislature to go fuck themselves. If everyone had that attitude they couldn’t very well arrest or fine the entire state or nation.

    On the other hand they probably could.

    The problem is the majority of the population is all to happy to appropriate the possessions and labors of their fellow citizens and to zealously crusade for invented “rights” they don’t have while ignoring or outright destroying the actual rights and Liberties they and their fellow countrymen do have.

  54. cactus – There are still some bars in Ohio, even in the big cities, that allow smoking, but gradually they are getting fined. Ohio’s not really looking for infractions yet, but patrons go in, get pissed and compliain.

    Ammonium hit it on the head. One of the advantages of being able to smoke in bars was that it kept kids away. Now I have to swear loudly to accomplish that.

  55. DanT.: These laws really are an infringement on private property. There’s no reason a bar shouldn’t be able to post a sign saying “WARNING: SMOKE INSIDE” and go about its business. There are laws that affect places of public accomodation, but we’re talking about bars here, places dedicated to the slow suicide that smokers and drinkers engage in.

    Personally, I would be fine with that arrangement. I’m really not an anti-smoking zealot.

    However, I do think that communities have the right to decide on their own set of rules, as long as basic human rights are observed and as long as people are free to leave if they don’t like ’em.

    A non-resident of Illinois telling the people of that state that they cannot decide for themselves whether they want smoking or not in certain establishments seems every bit as morality-imposing as the ban itself.

    But at least if you don’t like the ban you can move to another state.

  56. But at least if you don’t like the ban you can move to another state.

    Or you could just mind your own fucking business.

    Nah, that’s silly. Better to find a new job, sell the house and tear the kids away from the their life-long friends.

  57. Nah, that’s silly. Better to find a new job, sell the house and tear the kids away from the their life-long friends.

    If smoking is that important to you, then that’s your choice to make. Why would you want to live in a community that rejects something that you find so critical anyway?

  58. I’m assmuning its still legal to burn incense?

  59. assmuning, assmooning, assuming, whatever

  60. The states are stupid. They tax the crap out of cigarettes because they need money, then they try to get people to quit. What are they saying? That they need the money but they don’t need the money? They seem clueless, do they want people to smoke or not. Some smart state congressman (if there is such a thing) should attach a tax increase to these anti-smoking bills to replace the money that cigarette taxes provide. See if it gets passes then.

  61. SamB was quoted in today’s Sun-Times. I cannot find it online, or I would link to it.

  62. Congratulations, Dan T. You have adopted the classic “states rights” view of the 10th Amendment. I think that’s a feeble reed to lean on, especially in light of the property owners’ 5th and 9th Amendment rights to enjoy what they own as they see fit.

    Kevin

  63. “However, I do think that communities have the right to decide on their own set of rules, as long as basic human rights are observed and as long as people are free to leave if they don’t like ’em.”

    As JW outlined. The cost of a smoker making a change is levels of magnitude beyond that of a nonsmoker looking for a new bar.

    Anyway the health angle of second hand smoke is a non-issue, it a matter of taste. I HATE cologne, it makes my eyes water and personally I don’t like most of the brands. I HATE finger licking, it sounds and looks revolting- sometimes makes me dry heave, nice when you’re trying to have dinner- and it increases the transmission of infectious diseases.

    When I experience these things I leave the vicinity- and wash my hands, I don’t lobby to have the behaviors made illegal.

  64. However, I do think that communities have the right to decide on their own set of rules, as long as basic human rights are observed and as long as people are free to leave if they don’t like ’em.

    But wouldn’t it be much freer if the “community” was the folks who patronize a bar, and not the whole state? That would give a variety of alternatives within taxicab distance.

    Or we could, as anti-smokers would prefer, designate the whole country as the “community” and only have to pass one ban. After all, you can always move to France.

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