Tuesday January 3 | Smoking Ban?

February 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 21 Comments

There is a proposal to make public places in Mecklenburg County smoke-free. Charlotte is one of the nation’s largest cities without non-smoking legislation, partly because the tobacco industry has such strong roots in our region. We’ll look into the latest proposals and whether or not the have a chance to pass into law.
Patricia Bossert-
Grassroots Manager,Western NC Chapter, ACS
Lovemore Masakadza – Tobacco Control Coordinator, Mecklenburg Co. Health Dept
Neil CookseyMecklenburg County Commissioner, District 5

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  1. I’m sitting here the night before this show with bronchial asthma and laryngitis. If I were required to be around tobacco smoke for my work tomorrow I could not stand it. I remember as a child how I suffered after riding in the car with my daddy’s cigar, wheezing and drowning all night long. If you smoke with your babies in the car why torture them. They’re already addicted so give them a puff. I remember how much easier life became after Maryland passed a public place smoking ban. Before that nonsmokers in certain workplaces were having a cancer risk forced on them. A smoker can’t detect secondhand smoke like a quitter or a never-smoker. It stinks and hurts. The agricultural chemicals and additives it contains make it even more dangerous and addictive.I’d prefer sharing a restaurant with heroin injectors rather than people smoking. With their sleeves rolled down they can keep it to themselves. When nature calls there’s always the alley, just like the smokers outside in the cold at work. Every smoker should quit. Tobacco provides scant relief from pain and anxiety and is a nasty poison. In colonial days they called it sot weed.

  2. In North Carolina, we still license foster parents/foster homes where people smoke in the home. We take custody of very vulnerable children, and place them in homes where they are at further risk from smoking/smoke. Proponents of this policy say that we cannot tell foster parents what they can and can’t do in their own homes. But we can and do. We don’t license foster parents who drink heavily, who live in homes where other types of hazards such as fire, weather, violence, sex crimes, etc. are present. I feel we know too much about the dangers of smoking to allow children who are wards of the state to be cared for by people who are exposing them to those risks.

  3. I moved here from Washington state about 18 months ago. In December of 2005, Washington passed a public smoking ban. Bar and restaurant owners who had not already become smoke-free on their own predicted an economic disaster. This did not come to pass. Bars and music clubs especially reported an INCREASE in business. Personally, I started going to many places I had not gone before as the smoke no longer drove me out the door as soon as I entered. If Charlotte and/or North Carolina passed a public smoking ban, I would love the opportunity to go to a wider range of businesses here. As it is now, I absolutely refuse to go to places where smoking is allowed.

  4. I am all for a smoking ban in restaurants and even bars.

    Someone on the air made a comment that people are exposed to most 2nd hand smoke at home. How am I? I don’t smoke. Get a brain.

    And, I don’t want to breath smoke when I go into a restaurant. To the on air guest that said I should know what I am in for (ie smoke) if I go into a restaurant. Well, go ahead and say the same thing when I come over to your table and piss in your iced tea and crap on your plate.

    If you want to smoke, do it at your own home or outside somewhere. And don’t litter you nasty cigarette butts!!!
    You can smoke all you want, kill yourself – good riddance. But don’t make me breath it.

  5. I lived in California when their ban came into effect. There was an uproar that business’ would fail. Actually a year later, the vast majority of business’if offered the opportunity would not go back to smoking as their business actually increased. Those who smoked in bars would step outside and have a smoke as a group, then come back inside. This was a compromise by both sides of the smoking issue.

  6. Wow! Mike you were on fire today! Great questions excelent follow ups, well done!

  7. It is imperative that we keep in mind the harm caused by second-hand smoke (Surgeon General’s report, 2006) and account for the fact that most smokers (approx. 75%) want to quit. Thus a smoke-free law would support them in their efforts to do so.

    This should apply to all bars and restaurants to ensure a level playing field, and would be consistent with the nature of hospitality that welcomes anyone seeking to spend time there, in a smokefree area.

    As emphasised also, the current economic climate makes it harder for non-smoking employees to just ‘up and leave’ to other work (And what if they’re good at and enjoy what they do?)

    Also, remember that we are not seeking to penalise addicted smokers who do not manufacture this stuff, so an outright ban on smoking itself would penalise the wrong people.

    The burden of responsibility for smoking-related illness is currently too heavily weighted on choices people make early in the lifespan when they lack the necessary understanding (my belief is that if youth truly know the eventual harms, they would avoid it. Genuine fun and frienship should not have to rely on a substance that will kill you. Decisions to commence smoking tend to be based on perceptions of current levels of well-being).

    “Show us the research” was the call that came during the discussion. If County Commissioner Cooksey is genuine, and not trying to avoid the issue, then he will follow up on this. One example (among others) of research is:

    US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development (1992). Respiratory Health Effects of Research and Development. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. Report No. EPA/600/6-90/006F. Washington DC.

    Human beings have an internal form of regulation that provides evidence of smoking-related harm, as indicated by the Surgeon General’s report. This goes beyond the traditional heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema associations to state there is much greater harm to human functioning than previously thought, and that ‘there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke’.

    Therefore, over the course of a lifespan, the frequency and duration of different exposures would serve to undermine human health – how much ‘freedom’ is there in that?

    Smokers do not smoke to produce second-hand smoke, this is a by-product of attempting to use cigarettes to produce internal feelings of pleasure and security. The effect of smoking however that is unavoidable is fumes that build up over a period time, and impact the local area, with implications not just for breathing and well-being, but also gets in clothes, furniture, and affects the internal quality of buildings.

    Ventilation arguments are invalid to this discussion. It is said that they will need the force of hurricane to clear toxins away (see ASHRAE Insights
    Aug/2006 Vol 21/Issue 8 or http://www.ashrae.org/positiondocuments that supports this). The useful image here also is:

    “A smokefree area inside a bar (or any enclosed space) is like having a urine free area inside a swimming pool” (Let those arguing for half and half consider whether they would allow people to pee inside public pools…)


  8. North Carolina is long overdue for a ban on smoking in public places. The majority of people in North Carolina do not smoke and support a ban on smoking in public places.

    The rights of business owners comes no where near the right of everyone to breathe clean air, not to mention the costs involved in paying for illnesses caused by smoking and second hand smoke.

    I hope the legislature will show the leadership and courage to vote for this bill to ban smoking in public places.

  9. If 65% of the people in Mecklenburg County are non smokers: and
    86% of people surveyed in Mecklenburg County prefer smoke free workplaces.
    This would seem to indicate that statistically 21% of smokers want to have smoke free work places.
    I have a few questions about the up-coming legislation. If our elected officials represent us, would you reelect or vote for any representative/politician who did not vote for smoke free public places?
    Most of the smokers I talk to have indicated they would like to quit. Do our representatives provide funding from tobacco tax revenues or funds from the Tobacco Settlement Act to assist them?
    Would you vote for anyone who was opposed to helping smokers quit with funding from these sources?
    I am personally in favor of smoke free public sidewalks. Are you?
    Lastly, because the emissions from side stream smoke are scientifically known to be both extremely hazardous and addictive, do you think a smoker should be required to get a state license to smoke? If a smoker had to pay a license fee to smoke, would that revenue be allocated to help smokers who wanted to quit?

  10. I agree that the state of North Carolina should allow individual cities to put their own smoking bans into law. I believe that all places of business should be 100% smoke free for the health of their employees.

  11. Do more people die from car accidents than smoking tobacco ? If so why not ban cars on the roads ? Automobile accidents where alchol is involved is vary high . Why is alchol not baned ?

  12. Why are gas prices going up while oil prices are going down ?

  13. Niel Cooksey stated (roughly) that he makes his decisions (as a County Commissioner) based on his personal beliefs, and not based on surveys and polls. BUT don’t we elect officials to represent US? Mr. Cooksey can believe what he beleives, but as a representative of the people of Mecklenburg County, if 75% of the residents of Mecklenburg County want this proposal to pass (to ban smoking in public places), it seems short-sighted that he votes his personal beliefs. Something to consider next election cycle.

  14. It’s absurd to say that smoking should be banned in ALL bars – people go to bars to drink and smoke…that’s what a bar is. Some bars can ban smoking if they want to, go ahead, but to legally require that ALL bars ban smoking is outright fascist.

    Restaurants should also have the choice to allow or ban smoking. CHOICE and FREEDOM is key – fascist and/or nanny-state policies are for sheep-like unfree citizens. Bars, restaurants, and cafes that have banned smoking often suffer from a large drop in business…so would you rather these places exist as ‘squeaky clean’ smoke-free zones or just close completely because of nanny-state policies?

    Another side note: cigarette smoke (primary or secondhand) is obviously not a good thing, but people just don’t realize how much we are already drowning in all sorts of chemicals in America. Fluoride is a major neurotoxin (see: http://www.holisticmed.com/fluoride/) yet is added to our public water supply by the government and hardly anyone bats an eye…the meat you buy at the supermarket is pumped full of all kinds of hormones and antibiotics…the vegetables and fruit you buy is filled with pesticides and fertilizers…chemicals slowly leak from nearly all of the plastic products on the market…so shall we also ban (public) water, meat, produce, and plastics because they are also harmful?

  15. I am so glad I live in York County and we are now smoke free. Charlotte needs to get on board and have healthy work places and be smoke free for employees and the health of the city. Thanks for having this timely topic for the community as always excellent information from Charlotte talks.

  16. Great show! I hope this smoking ban will pass. I am a cancer survivor and doctors have instructed me to stay away from second-hand smoke. My family would dine out more often if there was a smoking ban. In New York, restaurant patrons stated 6 to 1 that they go out to eat more often than they did before the smoking ban. I recently wrote a blog on this for MomsCharlotte. http://mom.charlotte.com/?a=profile&u=3596&t=blog&blog_id=397

  17. In response to Mario’s comments above: Yes! Tobacco use and secondhand smoke DO kill more people than car accidents and alcohol. In fact, each year about “443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to cigarette smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined”. That is a fact.

    Do we want to be the last state in the nation to protect our residents? What a legacy that will be. We know the facts, we know secondhand smoke kills, there is no debate on that. Even Phillip Morris acknowledges on its website that secondhand smoke is dangerous. We also know that secondhand smoke causes immediate health effects, not just long term. Many studies have been done on this. One clearly shows that heart attack rates decreased 41% after a smoke free workplace law was put into place in Pueblo Colorado. Other immediate health effects include asthma attacks, cardiac episodes, throat irritation and more.

    Let’s stop discussing this and take action to protect North Carolians! The time is now….

  18. I am utterly shocked at how ignorant people are of this issue. First, businesses should have a right to ban smoke or allow it. If you don’t want to go into a smoky bar then go elsewhere! It’s as simple as that. And if a bar wants to allow someone to piss in meals (as a clever previous poster said) then that bar should have that right as well.

    SECOND HAND SMOKE DOES NOT HURT PEOPLE nearly as much as some think.

    Do you want to know how they come up with the second hand smoke stats? They ask people on their deathbeds if they have ever–EVEN FOR A MOMENT–breathed in second hand smoke. If that person says yes, then they classify that as a second hand smoke death. Never mine if the person died from AIDS, old age, obesity or a fall down some steps.

    The Surgeon General warns that no second hand smoke is safe. Well no duh!! But nor is smoke from a campfire, grill, fire place or an oven!! Second hand smoke is a problem for these people: if you live in a house where your partner smokes three packs a day inside and doesn’t open windows; old people with very bad health problems to begin with. That’s all! You can not get cancer from going into a restaurant three night a week and having a few whiffs of cigarette smoke. THINK PEOPLE!!

  19. I actually agreed with Neil Cooksey…

    …until he didn’t defend legalizing Gambling, Illegal Recreational Drugs and Prostitution.

    The way I see it, businesses should be free to allow patrons to consume tobacco in their restaraunt or bar. Similarly, patrons should free to refuse to patronize businesses that allow patrons to consume tobacco in their premises.

    How would a ban on smoking effect businesses who make their money on the vice, such as a cigar bar?

  20. Our City is only losing money on business because non-smokers are no going out or only frequent establishmens which are smoke free. These places are packed! People who travel here are shocked at how “trashy” we appear to be. It is a bad reflection in addition to being unhealthy

  21. Hi there, this weekend is fastidious for me, since this moment i am reading this great informative
    article here at my home.

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