Thursday, February 9, 2012

Smoking bans don't harm business?

This is a telling news report

The ANTZ claim that smoking bans are good for businesses and do not negatively impact the economy. You could just read this article and think that the owner allowing smoking in his bar is exaggerating the 20% loss in business after banning smoking. However, if business doesn't actually drop after smoking bans, why is the owner of the bar down the road - one that
does enforce the ban - feel it is "unfair" that the law is not evenly enforced? According to the ANTZ, his business should be booming compared to the smoke-filled tavern down the road. Except a picture is worth a 1,000 words:
Busy smoking bar
Nearly empty non-smoking bar down the road
Also telling is the comment made by the man at the smoking bar when asked if he's planning on quitting any time soon.

"When they bury me," he replied.

This is what we call an 'inveterate smoker" and smokers like him are completely forgotten and ignored by the ANTZ when they suggest tobacco and smoking policies to legislators. Rather than caring about this man, he is left behind as a lost cause or even worse, villainized for his smoking. This man, who has no intention of quitting tobacco, is fed the lies and half-truths about smokeless alternatives and electronic cigarettes. He is encouraged to keep smoking because the government tells him that smokeless alternatives are really no better for him. Even if he did decide to switch to a reduced-harm option to save money, local, state and federal governments all across the country are increasing taxes on these products, making them as or more expensive than cigarettes and removing that incentive.

 If he decided to switch to an e-cigarette, which are not currently banned for public use in Wisconsin (and in most of the country), the ANTZ groups such as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids are lobbying hard to ensure that e-cigarette use is also banned in public, removing yet another incentive to switch. These laws are meant to protect imaginary "possible future smokers" who do not even exist, yet what they really accomplish is keeping real, living smokers in harm's way by putting up every road block possible to him switching to a very low-risk, smokeless alternative.

Wisconsin Assembly Bill No. 469 has been introduced by Senator Glen Grothman and is intended to ensure that e-cigarettes are not included in indoor smoking bans. If passed, this will be the first legislation it's kind passed in the entire world - legislation to protect the use of a harm reduction product in public. This legislation could set a precedence and set an example for state and local governments all over the country. (Update: The bill did not pass after two attempts. Some lawmakers I contacted said there was no need for it if cities and counties were not currently attempting to include e-cigarettes in smoking bans. Since then, at least two towns and one county have added e-cigarettes to their smoking bans.)

There are an estimated 2.5 million electronic cigarette users in this country. These are not the hypothetical youth and non-smokers over which the ANTZ wring their hands, but living, breathing human beings; former smokers who have made the conscious choice to end their exposure to smoke. These are folks who can head back out to that corner bar and enjoy an evening without having to step outside for a smoke and business could be booming again for that owner with the empty bar. The ANTZ want to put a stop to even that.

Please write your congressmen and ask them to support Wisconsin Assembly Bill 469. You can easily find them here: 

(For the record, I do not support public smoking bans in private businesses or open, outdoor areas. However, the ANTZ have successfully sold these bans to the public based on their "evidence." When it comes to e-cigarette use bans, on the other hand, they may as well cite fairy dust and magic potions as "evidence," because they have absolutely nothing else that even suggests harm to users or bystanders!)


  1. Great article. More truth in those few paragraphs than Ive read in 2 years from antz, fda, and any politician.

  2. Hope there will be more open-mindedness towards e-cigarettes. They don't have secondhand smoke that harms others - this is a major benefit.

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  4. Great article! Very true about it affecting business, so many pubs/bars have closed in England due to this, people decide to smoke at home and buy there own canned beer instead! Thanks for sharing. Jason.

  5. Good article and helpful thing you shared.