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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Smoking Ban Exemptions?

Posted by on December 31 at 9:56 AM

From the King County Journal:

A new group of bar and tavern owners has found a potential sponsor for a bill that would exempt an establishment from the new public-smoking ban if it has taken at least a 10 percent hit on its revenue.

The exemption or waiver wouldn’t apply to places where minors frequent, such as bowling alleys and skating rinks, or to restaurants.

The group, Hospitality Partners, an offshoot of the foes of Initiative 901, which voters approved overwhelmingly in November, has found an Eastern Washington legislator who may sponsor the bill.

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See, I wish 901 was something more like this. While I voted for 901 and support the ban, I do resent the heavy-handed nature of the law.

Something like this, which gives a /compelling/ economical incentive for bars to go smoke-free would have been better, I think. My thought was that the cost of the liquor license could be adjusted up or down depending on whether or not the establishment was smoking or non.

I know it wouldn't solve the problems with employees being around smoke, but assuming this worked and we had at least a 50/50 split between smoking/non-smoking bars, the workers could choose their employer based on that factor.

We'll have to see how it pans out. My gut feeling is that now that it passed - and by such a wide margin - there's no going back. But who knows, maybe these guys will motivate the anti-901 crowd into doing something.

Here's an exception that will swallow the rule. If you want to get around the ban in a cash-heavy business, it's very easy to show your books off by ten percent.

In nine months, this would effectively repeal the initiative.

Yeah - this is a bullshit attempt to get around the law.

Now an initiative to reduce the 25' rule, or make exceptions for cigar rooms (or hookah bars), or to make exceptions for outdoor decks, etc, I would support, and I think a lot of resonable people would.

But this is just crap.

Yeah, the 10% revenue shortfall is easy enough to fudge. Just ask Arthur Anderson Accounting. And there is no way to directly blame the ban for a 10% drop, which could occur due to bad service, food, bartenders, what's trendy and what's not, or natural fluctuations. This is a BS excuse to subvert the law, and gives businesses an incentive to lie. And just because a business sees a 10% drop doesn't mean their patrons and employees no longer need to be protected from the health effects of second-hand smoke.

I also voted for the ban, even though I thought it was a bit too restrictive. At this point, I think we should just leave it alone. After a couple of years, the legislature can start fiddling with it if necessary. I wouldn't object to reducing the 25' rule, and it seems like they should have made an exemption for hookah bars and other similar businesses. (I would imagine that virtually ALL patrons and employees of a hookah bar smoke, so who's left to protect?)

I voted against the ban but now that the bars are smoke free, I'm never going back to a smoke-filled bar again.
Had my favorite fish and chips at the Pac-Inn two days ago then went to LIndas came home not smelling and feeling like shit.
10% concept will make all bars smoking bars.

That 10% thing is garbage.

Personally, I'm not crying about a lack of public places for people to smoke cigars. I am hard-pressed to think of anything that smells worse. If they allow "cigar bars" then every damn place will be a cigar bar.

The smoking ban is great. There were 400+ people in the Chop Suey last night and not one of them was smoking inside. Ahhh...

I'm with Ahura—what bar can't show a %10 drop? Just charge every tenth customer cash for a week, or give 'em drinks, and, presto, you've got a 10% drop.

I think the law to pass is one that allows for private smoking clubs—with drinks. But they should be under 1000 square feet, no live music, no pool tables. Make 'em look like those plexiglass smoking rooms at the Reno airport. If there was ever an anti-smoking piece of public art, those smoking rooms are it. The glass walls are brown and slimey, and the folks smoking inside look distant and desperate. You feel like you're looking through a huge diseased lung at collection of dying smokers.

This really sounds like something Frank Blethen would appreciate... I'm sure he could help folks determine how to ensure their books show a loss.

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