Hi. My name is Adam.

Smoke free?

Posted in Uncategorized by adambsullivan on July 13, 2008

I know this is untimely. I know, as a journalist, I should be castrated for writing about something that is twelve days old. However, as a columnist (okay, just an unread blogger) I feel like I’m in the right to take some time to let my opinions form.

On the first of this month, workplaces in Iowa (with a few exceptions) became smokefree by law. The reasoning, according to law-makers in support, is to protect Iowa’s workforce.

Controversial legislation isn’t usually all wrong. Usually, something is either ideologically sound or practically sound; i.e.: proposed laws are either the right thing to do, or they actually help people.

The new anti-smoking law doesn’t fall into either category.

Ideologically speaking –I speak, of course, of my own ideology. I’m always right so far as I’m concerned…just kidding…kind of — this is absurd. The state is telling private business owners what they can and cannot let their private citizen-customers do. Everyone, employees included, who walks inside a bar, restaurant, or office is doing so under his or her own will. The owners and operators of these establishments have the right to decide what is and is not done on their property, just as employees have the right to discontinue their employment at any time, for any reason. If enough of the state’s employees decide they want to work in smoke-free environments, bosses will be forced to go smokeless; it’s simple economics.

Practically, there isn’t much help either. While numbers show that, as a whole, business will not be lost, there’s no gaurantee there. Sure, bars will probably be fine; anyone who wants to drink will still want to drink. And restaraunts stand to gain as many some-hating customers as they lose smoking costumers.

But, often overlooked, think about bowling alleys. I don’t have numbers, but a huge number of regular bowlers are intense smokers. This creates a few problems. First, a lot of league bowlers have said they’re done; they’d rather stay home and smoke or go to a casino than have to bowl without easy smoking. Less severe, it now takes longer for a smoker to bowl. Once or twice a game, many people are stepping outside to smoke. If balls aren’t rolling, money isn’t being made. I don’t care how many times you tell me that other states were fine after their smokeless laws went into affect. Bowling alleys are going to lose business.

Even if you’re in support of this law’s intention, this isn’t even a well written law. In interviews over the past few months, even law makers who voted to pass the bill were fuzzy on its specific implications. Many of the specifications are extremely vauge, leaving local governments, business-owners, and law enforcement to fill in the blanks. Innevitably, the law is unable to be enforced uniformly.

Did you know?
-Patrons in outdoor patios and beer gardens are prohibited from smoking.
-Any employee driving while working is prohibited from smoking, regardless of anyone else being in the vehicle.
-The UI campus has been made completely smokefree. While traveling on the half-a-dozen or so streets maintained by the UI, drivers are prohibited from smoking, even in their own cars.

Smoking in any of the above mentioned situations would certainly not cause harm to any unwilling employee.

Your local legislatures are lying to you; this law clearly isn’t in place to protect employees.

These aren’t corrupted Washington-types. This isn’t George Bush or Dick Cheney. These are people elected in your county, who work in your city, and who have been elected to represent you. These are the people that are lying to you.



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