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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Appleton's Smoking Ban

Appleton voters in April 2005 approved a smoking ban that affects workplaces and many other places like restaurants, bars, and hallways in apartment complexes. Our local newspaper, the Post-Crescent, now has a collection of information on the smoking ban on their Website.

It has caused a great deal of controversy and may yet be changed or overthrown. Bar and restaurant owners content that it is driving business away to other cities and hurting jobs in Appleton.

Personally, I oppose smoking, but am not sure that it's right to tell private property owners that smoking is suddenly illegal in their establishments. Yes, I prefer smoke-free restaurants, but I don't think I or other citizens should have the right to tell Appleton bars that their patrons can't smoke, while it's still legal at their competitors in Menasha or Neenah. I guess I'm one of those folks that worries about the erosion of civil liberties, the loss of property rights, and the limitless growth of government. Call me crazy!

The good news, for those of us who can't stand tobacco smoke (I'm one!), is that it's easier to enjoy oneself in Appleton without the occasional whiff of smoke. I didn't think it was that much of a problem before the ban, but this week another news story reports that there were surprisingly high hazardous levels of secondhand smoke in Appleton's bars before the ban, so the public health issue may be more significant than some of us realized.
I was so relieved to hear that we won't be bothered by smoke anymore that I hadn't thought about the civil liberties aspect of the issue. I read another blog from a man who opposes seat belt laws for the same sorts of reasons, and I'm thinking that there is a certain sense in telling "Big Brother" to mind his own business. As unpleasant as I find smoke, maybe this law against smoking is too braod, and perhaps there shouldn't be a law about it in the first place!
I agree!
Smoking smells and that can't be denied. It bothers people independent of the health effects. It's a completely different issue from seatbelts.

So get your restaurants to market to Waukesha and Neenah residents that they are smoke free and worth the trek.

It's a competitive advantage.

Besides, over time, research shows there is little negative economic impact.
You really have made me think with this one. I posted my own thoughts on this today: Smoking Ban vs Civil Liberties.
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