Saturday, June 13, 2009

Smoking ban: living longer, good for business.

Hi everyone,

btw: I didn't write the headline. My suggestion was the second part of it. ;^)

Saturday's column.

If you can’t tether a goat, why smoke?

Living longer good for business

The smoking ban, now set to begin July 2010, is causing a bit of grief among pundits and politicos. That’s appropriate. Giving up cigarettes is like the death of an old friend. Death requires grief – even when your old friend is toxic. Grief, as Elizabeth Kübler-Ross explained, has five stages: denial, anger, negotiation, depression and, finally, acceptance. The smoking ban passed through each stage on its way to becoming law. Let’s see if we can pick them out.

Denial: “Second hand smoke is a minor problem … .it’s not that dangerous a thing. Besides, working in smoky bars isn’t nearly as bad as working in a coal mine in West Virginia in 1915,” a local state senator asserted.

Denial only lasts as long as you can ignore the facts, like the fact that the EPA, the US National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a branch of the World Health Organization) have classified secondhand smoke a “known human carcinogen.”

Back in January, the Journal Sentinel reported that an anti-smoking group in Milwaukee had taken air samples from 32 establishments between Nov. 7 and Dec. 6. They applied the DNR’s air quality standards and found that about 69 percent of the establishments scored “hazardous” for air quality – roughly the same levels you’d find downwind from a forest fire. That’s a pretty negative outcome. New York, one year after implementing its smoking ban, had a spectacularly positive outcome. The New York State Department of Health reported “an 8 percent reduction in hospital admissions for heart attacks resulting in a $56 million savings in health care costs.”

So, less smoking is good for you and saves money. Denial only gets you so far. Next step, get mad.

Anger: “You’ll kill the profits! Nobody will go out to the bars if they can’t smoke!”

First, the idea that dying from emphysema and lung cancer is OK so long as someone makes money is … bad. Second, the economic effects of eliminating smoking are minimal. Forbes magazine reports that “a March 2009 report by Indiana University’s Center for Health Policy found that 47 of 49 studies concluded smoke-free regulations hadn’t hurt the hospitality industry.” Two more happy factoids: after Minnesota implemented its smoking ban in 2007, liquor tax revenue actually increased from $221.8 million to $231.2 million in a year. Closer to home, the city of Madison has added 23 liquor licenses since its ban went into effect in 2005. Turns out you can drink without smoking.

Anger works for a little while but, when being angry plays out, negotiate to distract yourself.

Negotiation: “But then why can people still smoke in the casinos? Why do we have to ban smoking but they don’t?”

The casinos are excluded from the ban, of course, because tribal lands are not subject to Wisconsin statutes.

Still following along? You can’t deny the facts, money isn’t an excuse to stay mad, and you can’t negotiate your way around the grief so, what’s next? Get depressed.

Depression is anger turned inward. The last, sighing, gasp in the death rattle of the pro-smoking lobby went something like this: “But I pay the mortgage so it should be my rules.”

Here’s the problem: even though I pay my mortgage, there are all sorts of things I’m not allowed to do on my property. For instance, under the city of West Bend’s Municipal Code I can’t build a garage within 35 feet of the street (17.15, 3.c.1), I can’t keep goats or operate a lead smelter (17.37, 2.m) and I can’t even build a nuclear reactor (17.37, 2.n). None of these are allowed, even though I pay the mortgage.

Almost ready to stop grieving? Me too.

Acceptance: giving up smoking is not giving up something you actually want.

Some of the Ban-the-Ban pundits and politicos are still stuck in denial but Wisconsin’s Tavern League – the folks most affected by the ban – showed real backbone and got to acceptance ahead of everyone else. The Tavern League understood it was facing down a legislative tsunami and managed to insert some practical good sense into the bill: a year-long phase-in, pre-emption of local smoking ordinances – to make sure its members get consistent treatment across the state – and lower fines. Going cold turkey is tough. These ideas will make the transition easier on everyone.

And, of course, the local state senator in question was our own Glenn Grothman.



Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see West Bend Daily News fixed the technical problems. I was getting ready to send a letter to "Gripe". How come they never have a problem getting Ann Coulters thoughts? Larry T.

PaulyW said...

Because they like to torment you!!!!!

Smoking is bad, but your right to choose is also part of the 5 stages of death. Denial - they can't make me run my business this way. Anger - this is my business, so screw you. Negotiation - if you leave me alone, I will continue to pay taxes. Depression - My rights are gone, close it up. Acceptance - My rights to run my own business are gone. Time to all the help.

Anonymous said...

Now they need to straighten out the upcoming patio ban, BEFORE bar owners spend thousands of dollars to build them for their smoking patrons.

Marshall said...

Good for business, you obviously have been drinking the tobacco control kool-aid. All of the studies done by actual economist show that bans do hurt the bar business. Over 300 bars closed in Minnesota and over 300 bars closed in Ohio as a result of the ban. The only studies that claim no economic harm are done and funded by Tobacco control. The lies and scientific fraud perpetrated by tobacco control has caused honest and legitimate scientist like Dr Michael Siegel to leave the movement. And now the Former Winston man who was at one point their poster boy is speaking out against the movement.

Mpeterson said...

As the tobacco lobbyists always like to say, all you've shown is correlation, not causation. Lots of bars and restaurants go broke every year for all sorts of reasons. Most of the studies I've seen suggested the effects were not great... and I formed my opinion based on the data I was able to find, I didn't cherry pick data to support a pre-formed opinion. Personally, I love the idea of letting people smoke over a beer -- but the health data on second hand smoke is pretty compelling.

Moreover, arguing that it's okay for an industry to depend for its profits on a habit that kills people is ... well, probably not supportable ethically.

You are, of course, welcome to try.


Marshall said...

Actually there is nothing compelling about the so called evidence. For one thing there has never in history been the cause of any disease proven with the risk ratios claimed by tobacco control. I challenge you or any of your buddies at tobacco control to name one. Here is an award winning article in Science that shows that scientist do not agree on such low relative risks.

Not only do scientist not accept such flimsy evidence neither do the courts.
We should not be passing laws based on junk science that can't even stand up in a court of law. If you look every single group that you mention refers back to the 1992 EPA study which was thrown out in federal court because they got caught cheating.
A practice that goes on to this day.,4670,EPAScientists,00.html
You also try to claim that the studies done by tobacco control using outdoor EPA/DNR standards was the equivalent to being down wind from a forest fire. WRONG
Here is a reality check for you.

Also what you fail to mention not one of those studies were peer reviewed. Why? Because it would not stand up to scrutiny. The EPA/DNR standard was meant to be a long term time averaged standard and not to be used the way that they used it.

But then Tobacco control has never been known for their honesty.

Mpeterson said...

Uh, yeah.

Anonymous said...

If air quality was an issue, OSHA would have stepped in. They do NOT see smoke as an issue. In face, particulated in a very smoky bar are measured in nanograms. A busy street's particulates are measured in tons. Now if you don't think bans hurt business, tell that to the VFW in the Minneapolis area that has now closed. They were the last one and attribute their demise to the ban, NOT the economy. They would know, not some nanny!

Anonymous said...

The Tavern League is nothing but a bunch of dirty traitors who sold smokers out on purpose. They refused to question the anti-smokers' scientific fraud (just like the Anti-Smoker-Approved Fake Opposition). If they really wanted to fight, they could have and should have filed a RICO lawsuit for conspiracy, fraud and racketeering against the anti-smokers.

Anonymous said...

Every smoking ban, everywhere, has been rammed down the public's throat by falsely framing the issue as "freedom versus public health," and CONCEALING ANTI-SMOKER SCIENTIFIC FRAUD.

More than 50 studies have implicated human papillomaviruses as the cause at least 24.5%% of non-small cell lung cancers. This equals over 30,000 cases, which is over ten times more lung cancers than the anti-smokers pretend are caused by secondhand smoke. Passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus, so the anti-smokers' studies, because they are all based on nothing but lifestyle questionnaires, are cynically DESIGNED to falsely blame passive smoking for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV. A significant proportion of lung cancers blamed on active smoking are actually caused by HPV as well. Obviously, there is a corrupt, politically-motivated coverup of a far larger cause of lung cancer than radon or secondhand smoke!

The anti-smokers lie that smoking bans cause "immediate, dramatic" declines in the number of heart attacks. In the Pueblo study, the death rates from acute myocardial infarction actually increased in the year after the ban, the same time they were boasting that the number of admissions declined! That suggests that people were dying because they weren’t admitted to hospitals when they should have been! And in the Indiana study, they exploited an anomalous spike in acute MIs during the "before" section of the study, to make the "after" part look better! And in the Helena study, the actual death rates from acute myocardial infarction (as opposed to hospital admissions which were the endpoint of the study) were nearly identical in 2001 (before the ban) and 2002 (the year of the ban), and reached their lowest point in 2003, the year after the smoking ban was repealed.

If smoking or passive smoking were real causes of asthma, the rates of asthma would have gone DOWN. But the EPA's own report says, "Between 1980 and 1995, the percentage of children with asthma doubled, from 3.6 percent in 1980 to 7.5 percent in 1995." The graph on pdf page 65 boasts of declines in cotinine levels during this same period.$file/EE-0438A-01.pdf

And the CDC says, "Despite the plateau in asthma prevalence, ambulatory care use has continued to grow since 2000... Increased ambulatory care use for asthma has continued during an era when overall rate of ambulatory care use for children did not increase."

The government has no right to restrict peoples' liberty without a compelling justification. The anti-smokers have no such justification, so THEY COMMITTED SCIENTIFIC FRAUD TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC. This is a classic example of how the unscrupulous manipulators of public opinion have railroaded Americans into tyranny!