Thursday, March 05, 2009

Even the Irish ban smoking in bars

The House Health Committee has approved and sent to another committee a bill to ban smoking in workplaces in North Carolina, including restaurants. A similar but somewhat narrower bill failed in 2005 and 2007, but it appears to have a bit of momentum this year. A column about this bill, and outgoing State Health Director Leah Devlin's 22-year campaign against the adverse effects of second-handsmoke, brought the following response from one reader:

Your op-ed article in [Sunday's] Observer was right on and I congratulate the dogged courage of Dr. Leah Devlin up to the end of her career with the state.
The issue of second-hand smoke has been covered by a ‘smokescreen’ (pun intended!) of property rights. There is no other toxin in our society that can be trumped so easily. As a matter of fact, the level of toxins in the air of an average bar or restaurant that permits smoking would ordinarily evoke the ‘Haz-Met’ team to evacuate the building, surround it with yellow tape and Wolf Blitzer would be circling overhead in the CNN helicopter.
Not only in this economy, but even in times of abundance, the employees and customers of smoking establishments are subjected to toxic air that can eventually cause serious illness and even death. These are not choices that need to be made. Employees, especially, do not have easy options to find another job.
Thank goodness, it appears that the NC House is coming into the 21st century with an attitude of protection of the citizens and visitors of our state. Already large cities like NYC and Chicago, and even the whole country of Ireland ban smoking in restaurants and bars.
To those who still question the propriety of this type of legislation, be sure to realize that a inordinate proportion of your health care insurance dollars are used for smoking related illnesses. And, if you are not a smoker, you are paying for those who do or have.
Thanks again for your ed.
Richard B. Reiling, M.D., FACS
Medical Director
Presbyterian Cancer Center.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I agree with the general gist of your article, I find the headline a little demeaning to the Irish. Afterall, Ireland took the lead when it became the first country to ban smoking in public places 5 years ago. So why now is this headline news?
Maybe a headline like " Even the Observer gets the scoop" would be more apt.

Anonymous said...

This is so overdue! I am a non-smoking musician who plays in smoking establishments on a regular basis. I have bronchial problems that are aggravated by this. As a child, I spent many long road trips trapped in the back seat of a small vehicle with two chain-smoking parents! I know that this has done permanent damage to my lungs! Besides the urgent health issue...why do I have to endure smelling like an ash tray every time I get home from such a bar or restaurant? Smokers evidently do not recognize this, as their capacity for smell is diminished because of their self-destructive habit. It would be nice not to have to have a law banning anything! Sadly enough, anyone who chooses to treat their own body like this is not going to have any respect for someone who does not! On top of everything else...I love the good ol' spirit of Capitalism, but I cannot believe that the tobacco/cigarette industry has been allowed to enslave and destroy the lives of so many people for so long! For the love of money, that's how!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I don't know any of these crackers who piously bleat about private property rights in the face of death, disfigurement and soaring medical costs.They make me sick.

Tobacco should be outlawed. Such a product would never be approved today for sale.

Anonymous said...

While I am a smoker, I choose to stay outdoors when doing so. I believe the government needs to stay out of the discussion. Let the market decide. I don't take my family to smoking establishments and I choose not to support places that allow it. I will only go to a bar that allows smoking. I can't imagine drinking without being able to smoke. As far as the health concern, I agree that second hand smoke is dangerous, but individuals choose where they go and where they work if they are serving the public. When it comes to insurance, it is a complete rip off to blame these costs on smoking when obesity is the number 1 cause for health concerns. The 250 pound woman that smoke for 20 years and now has quit pays less for insurance through my company than I do. I am in great shape, not overweight, in my 20's and I occasionally smoke. If insurance is going to go up for smokers, what's next? Diabetics?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the 9:40 poster - Ireland is way ahead of us on this issue.

Adam Butler said...

All of you are nuts. I hate second hand smoke as much as all of you, that's why I frequent establishments that did not need the government's help to go smoke free. All of you are big girls and boys, find a place that is smoke free and go drink beer or play guitar over there. And if you work in a smoking establishment, WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!! Tons of restaurants do not allow smoking! To whine so much is ridiculous! I was a camera man for ten years and suffered some back problems because of my job. Should I have asked the government to outlaw heavy cameras so my back wouldn't hurt? No! I got a job where I don't have to carry a camera anymomore. My back feels terrific! And I did it all by myself, too!

Anonymous said...

How about England, who just enacted their ban in July 2007? Here is a quote from an article just yesterday in The Standard, London's newspaper -

Headline - "MPs demand pub rescue plan as 284 shut in capital"

"More than 280 pubs have closed in London since the smoking ban was introduced and many others are struggling to survive the recession, MPs warned today.

The figures were published by the Parliamentary Beer Group ahead of a meeting today with ministers who will be urged to intervene.

Group chairman John Grogan said: "The UK's brewing and pub industry is suffering its worst period in a century or more, with many communities losing their pubs and dozens of businesses collapsing."

And this:

"PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimate that by 2011 6,000 pubs would of closed, 10% of all the pubs in the UK."

Just what we need in this economy, put more businesses out of business...

Anonymous said...

And in Ireland? This is from an article in September 2006, a little over 2 years after the ban was enacted:

"In the last six months 24 Dublin Pubs have called last orders for the final time. Despite having only 10% of the bars in Ireland to cater for 35% of the population Dublin pubs are closing in unprecedented numbers and being turned into apartment and retail complexes.

How times quickly changed after the smoking ban. As pub sales dropped plans to deregulate the trade were shelved as publicans began putting their businesses on the market. Despite a shortage of licensed premises prior to the ban, a booming economy and population explosion, pubs in Dublin are closing at an unprecedented rate as elsewhere in Ireland.

Anti smoking groups and smoking ban supporters try to blame everything but the smoking ban for the dramatic increase in Irish bar closures. However, if one were to go back one hundred years and chart Irish bar closures the line will effectively flat line until March 2004, the time the smoking ban was imposed. At that point the line will shoot up steeply. Even a four year old child is likely to be able to point out the catalyst for the phenomenon of Irish pub closures is the smoking ban."

Yes, they seem satisfied with the results. In the 5 years since the ban I haven't heard any news about the remarkable drop in cancer cases in Ireland, have you? No, because the ban has had no effect whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Got to love the Irish. They ban smoking and open pubs in retirement homes. My idea of a perfect world!

Anonymous said...

England and Ireland??? You are talking about places that have more bars on every corner than even Cleveland! If a 10th of them closed you still wouldn't be able to throw a rock without hitting one.

Anonymous said...

The FDA would eat a company alive if they tried to release a new product on the market today that has the effect that tobacco does.

To smokers, property rights supporters - are you for real? Get your heads out of the sand. You are killing yourselves and everyone else around you. This is LONG overdue.

Anonymous said...

I don't smoke or go to bars, but this is like telling an Italian they can't have wine with pasta.

People who go to bars already know they are not doing healthy things. They'll probably drink too much, maybe get in a fight, whatever. Let them be, is what I think.

漢美女 said...
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Anonymous said...

Let the market place decide. Besides if we outlaw smoking who is going to pay for SCHIP. I think people should be thanking smokers instead of banning them.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

THANK GOD THANK GOD...Maybe we can get this awful inconvenience banned!! I see these post on here about government staying out and let the private sector decide. BS!! I have yet seen one post or had one person tell me to my face why the hell I should suffer the smoke of others. Forget the health reasons, I'm not even going to argue that. Why I take a shower, put on clean clothes, a little cologne, go to my local establishment and within 5 minutes of sitting down I take on the smell of an ashtray in my clothes and in my hair and reek until I can get myself and my clothes washed. YOU DO NOT AND NEVER HAD THAT RIGHT!! That is not a right. You can't drive down the road at 80 when we're driving in a 45. You can't talk aloud in a church when everyone is quite. You are actually infringing on the rights of us not to suffer your habits. You DO NOT HAVE THAT ARGUMENT. IT NEEDS TO BE BANNED!!!

Anonymous said...

Like telling an Italian he can't have wine with his pasta?!...ROFLMAO! Think about the post you just wrote. THINK ABOUT IT NOW!...LUDICROUS! That Italian is not pouring the wine on me. He is consuming it with no direct effect on the environment around me mush for brains. Your smoke is getting in my hair!, it's getting my clothes, IT'S GETTING IN MY LUNGS AND BODY! Your argument is bogus! Your affecting everyone in the room with you. THAT IS NOT A RIGHT, YOUR INFRINGING ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS.

Anonymous said...

What about smoker's rights. I am sick and tired of listening to the DO G00DER'S TELL ME HOW TO LIVE. Get a life!!!!

Anonymous said...

We should issue everybody bubble suits when they are born. That way they can live a life without toxins.

Anonymous said...

There are alternatives to smoking, check out this site: www.myinlife.com/psmegal This product offers people who do smoke a way to cure there nicotine craving without harming those around them. There is no smoke, it vaporizes liquid nicotine, no smell and no carcinogens!! You can use it in places that you cant normally smoke, work, office, home, bars, restaraunts, get creative. Its a great alternative, and if you smoke your going to want to check this out! I just bought one last week its great, I also cut down on cigarettes!

Anonymous said...

Having spent considerable time on the West Coast of Ireland in the last 4 years, I can say that it is a pleasure to go to the pubs. The pub food & music are great. Locals with families gather there (kids do have to leave at 9 or 10pm). The law went into effect to ban smoking in any workplace which affected all businesses, not just pubs. The statistics that I saw indicated that no more than usual went out of business. Now if we can only follow their next piece of legislation,banning cell phones while driving. In addition to a huge fine, it also counts points on the driver's license.

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