Yesterday, the Gret City of Alexandria became the first-ever city in the Gret Stet of Louisiana to ban smoking in bars.

I’ll be honest (sorry Mom): I’ve been seen smoking cigarettes inside of bars in Alexandria; it’s nothing I’m particularly proud of. In fairness to myself, I was young; it wasn’t something I did regularly; and I rarely go to bars. And kids, smoking is stupid; it’s bad for your health; it’s not cool; and seriously, it does choke up the available oxygen in a room. It’s never enjoyable to compete for clean air.

I have little sympathy for smokers who feel like their rights have suddenly been trampled upon. Seriously, if you need to smoke, then step outside; it’s not that difficult. Even if you dispute the science, you still have to admit that there’s a chance you’re forcing the people around you to share the air you may have made more toxic. So c’mon. Walk a few feet and light up outside. I think that’s more than reasonable.

I’m not making a value judgment: My maternal grandmother, who I loved dearly, was a smoker. She died of a lung disease at the age of sixty-four. She was also an incredible mother, grandmother, and a compassionate caretaker. And when she wanted a smoke, she went outside.

It’s not just about second-hand smoke; it’s about imposing a person’s toxic behavior on the rest of us. It’s a public health issue. In a bar, people can’t experience how drunk you get, but they can breathe your smoke. And it’s gross, and it may be toxic, which makes it pernicious.

On a final note, a commenter on The Town Talk incredulously wondered whether any of the supporters of a smoking ban had ever been to a bar, as if the definition of a bar was a place that allowed smoking. I have to respond:  Have YOU ever been to a bar outside of Louisiana? Seriously.

Welcome to the 21st century, folks. You can’t just expose others to carcinogens in an enclosed space. As drunk as you may be, you need to hobble off of your barstool before lighting up a cancer stick. Get used to it.

7 thoughts

  1. The Council and Mayor of Alexandria proudly proclaim the “BAR BUSTER” a harbinger of things to come. We are first in our glorious state (with the largest percentage of smokers in America) to hamper commerce with yet another unnecessary law, a rush to judgment to the exclusion of property rights, individual and smokers rights.

    The council has already wounded the restaurant industry and nearly bankrupted the home owned night club industry with over zealous DWI persecution and killed video poker (millions a year). They overcharged citizens $60,000,000 for utilities (and refused to return it) , can’t even get rid of a crooked lawyer who is trying to rob us (close ties to the council). The “BAR BUSTER” certainly should make us all swell with pride.

    Born from their zeal to intimidate, embarrass, ostracize and de-socialize smokers, they have violated all citizens right to choice, usurped their property rights and diminished personal freedom based on some pretty shabby science. Now you get a new “NANNY” law for your own good. NO SMOKING IN BARS
    This isn’t a case of children making a decision to go into a bar and inhale second hand smoke while they sip their favorite beverage.

    A vote to dethrone the Mayor and Council is a vote for personal freedom, property rights and a step in the right direction for Alexandria “home of the no smoking in a Bar Law” and a dysfunctional Mayor / council government.

    I for one am voting against any candidate that has or will vote against smoking. I rarely go to bars but would be interested in helping get an injunction to keep the council from enforcing the new “Bar Buster” law until further research has been done on it’s constitutionality and evidence that proves their claims.

    I can prove that obesity is a health hazard and there are plenty of “Fat Cats” in government and mothers with chubby children that should take heed of the next round of “NANNY LAWS” They wil be after you too.

    1. Blah blah blah. Sorry but you lost me with the comment about the City Council overcharging for utilities. If you want to make a point, then get your facts right before you accuse the wrong people of systematic fraud.

      Also, “dethrone the Mayor and Council,” I mean, really? How absurd. Seriously.

      There are legitimate counterpoints to the smoking ban, but you’ve somehow managed to make absolutely none of them. Feel free to write back whenever you’re able to discuss the facts and whenever you’re no longer trying to sell smoking substitutes online. It doesn’t just look silly; it looks shameless.

      Also, please cite the part of the Constitution that refers to “smokers rights.” You think “further research” could prove “constitutionality”? Seriously, dude, do you understand … ugh… just never mind. I’m embarking on a fool’s errand with someone who is merely trying to make a buck. Sorry, but I can’t take you seriously.

      1. Hi Lamar I have put your comment in Quotes
        “Blah blah blah. Sorry but you lost me with the comment about the City Council overcharging for utilities. If you want to make a point, then get your facts right before you accuse the wrong people of systematic fraud..”

        Naturally the blame was shifted to Cleco for the overcharge of utilities, they were the provider , but they are also the scapegoat, (and possibly crooks as well) but the city of Alexandria is always where I have paid my utilities, they have always sent the bill and they bear the guilt of blatantly poor oversight, or just gross negligence and inefficiency in behalf of our citizens who were ripped off. It now appears that that the city is in control of the purported 60,000,000 dollars of overcharges. Come on Lamar, Where is the beef. What is that you said about systematic fraud ?

        “Also, “dethrone the Mayor and Council,” I mean, really? How absurd. Seriously.”

        What could possibility be absurd to vote out a council of self serving politicians. You surprise me, being an advocate of progress , having worked with the mayor, that you can consider the circus like fiasco conducted in the name of meetings to be PROGRESSIVE. You no doubt are missing the ZOO-OLOGY on the local access channel while you are in Texas. You no doubt haven’t noticed the attitude of the council toward the Mayor since the day he took office, speak of farce you have it there.

        “There are legitimate counterpoints to the smoking ban, but you’ve somehow managed to make absolutely none of them.”
        ” Feel free to write back whenever you’re able to discuss the facts and whenever you’re no longer trying to sell smoking substitutes online. It doesn’t just look silly; it looks shameless.”

        I would be very interested in what you think are legitimate counterpoints. The only issue I have is personal freedoms , the same one that allows people to spend their money where they wish. I’m with you if you are offended by a smoker, just tell them to stand back 6 feet away from you, most of them are very courteous.

        Further more you speak as if I was touting ecigs, I made absolutely no comments about alternative smoking but since you have opened that line, it should be obvious to you that I have much more to financially gain by the “Bar Buster LAW” than the average person. It is Great for the ecig Biz.

        It may be of interest that I am not a smoker, I am 69 years young and smoked for 55 of those years. I have owned 2 restaurants , two bars and a internet coffee house in Alexandria. My employees have never complained about smoke in the work place.They did complain about losing their jobs when the council let video poker get away.

        My family is pretty evenly divided with smokers and non smokers. It is interesting to note that several have died of cancer, none of whom were the smokers or exposed to second hand smoke. There has been no incidence of cancer among the smokers, not science but a bit of reality. I was diagnosed with C.O.P.D and acute bronchitis. Along with millions of others the ecig has made a drastic improvement in my life, a literal life saver for me, and the resolution to a smoking problem for many. I will complement the council for looking into the science of electronic cigarettes.

        “Also, please cite the part of the Constitution that refers to “smokers rights.”
        I’m guessing that it is covered somewhere in the “We the PEOPLE Concept” you know the idea about a free nation? The right to own property, guns, animals, cars , Etc. The same one that covers the different races , religions, sexual preferences, you get the point I’m sure?

        “I’m embarking on a fool’s errand with someone who is merely trying to make a buck. Sorry, but I can’t take you seriously.”
        This remark was totally uncalled for, I know what ya mean though , I get the same feeling about numerous politicians. Present company excluded of course.

  2. Way to go City of Alexandria! Hopefully other cities and the State will follow suit. Alexandria should prove a good testing ground for the economic impact of smoking bans, as the #1 argument by the pro-tobacco industry lobby in Baton Rouge is that banning smoking in bars will cause bar revenue to drop. As a non-smoker who loves to drink at bars, I can honestly say that I have left Alexandria bars (especially Finnigan’s Wake) and gone home because it was too smoky. I can see the logic at a ‘cigar bar’ (of which there are a few in New Orleans) but regular bars will most likely see increased revenue as more non-smokers patronize them. I hope that someone at the City will do some pre/post ban metric analysis to demonstrate any change.

    “Smokers Rights” is a made-up term that is meaningless, from both an ethics or legal perspective.

    The science is clear – 2nd hand smoke increases the risk for a variety of cancers and heart disease. Denying the science doesn’t make it not true, it just makes for ignorant policy. And even if the science is faulty, which it is not, the Precautionary Principal instructs us to curb potential harms to the public health until they are proven harmless, not the other way around. That’s why there is no longer lead in gasoline, DDT in bugspray, Chloroflorocarbons in aerosol cans, etc etc etc.

    Thanks Lamar for writing this up, and much bigger thanks to the foresighted leadership of the City.

    -michael smith

  3. Take a quick survey and get good information on quitting smoking and not gaining weight! Google; quit smoking and lose weight. Lots of good information on how to avoid the pitfalls after you quit, like bloating, weight gain, constipation, etc.

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