Wednesday, December 10, 2008

City Council Considers Smoking Ban in Bars and Other Public Places

The cartoon is one I did in 2001 about the first attempt by the city council to ban smoking in restaurants. They created a situation with smoking and non-smoking areas in the same buildings. That didn't work.

The Corpus Christi City Council has passed a second reading of a new city ordinance that will ban smoking in bars and some other public places. Bingo parlors are excluded.
Of course many bar owners, and others are in strong opposition claiming property owner's rights and individual rights are threatened. The bingo parlors were able to gain their exclusion citing the fear that they provide a considerable amount of charitable donations from their proceeds and, my goodness, they don't want to deprive these charities of their money! They cited studies that indicate such bingo games in places with smoking bans have shown a decrease in funds. The bar owners also claim they will lose money as well.
These claims are largely unsubstantiated. A look at such studies indicates that those that show a loss of revenue were financed by tobacco companies and smokers' rights groups, No objectivity here!
It also seems that studies that show no substantial loss in incomes have been produced by anti-smoking groups. Probably not much objectivity here either. It doesn't seem that there have been any scientific, objective studies done so far.
That shouldn't matter. There are no longer questions about the health threat posed by smoking and inhalation of second hand smoke. The evidence is conclusive and show real health hazards.
Tobacco smoke is a hazardous material. Courts in all jurisdictions have upheld the concept that it is illegal and prohibited to allow hazardous, carcinogenic materials to be released in the atmosphere. The rights of smokers and bar owners are trumped by the rights of the public to breath clean air. It's just that simple.

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