New version of Toledo Talk

    July 30, 2007

WTOL website smoking ban poll - WTOL 6 pm news told of a 'tell us what you think of the smoking ban' poll on their website. Hard to find (lower left side), and only allows a simple 'yes' or 'no' - no comments allowed, no results shown (why am I surprised?)
posted by starling02 to commentary at 6:53 P.M. EST     (17 Comments)

Comments ...

Latest poll results:
Is Ohio's smoking ban working?
Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far.

Yes 25%
No 75%

Doesn't look like a majority wants the ban to me.

posted by starling02 at 10:58 P.M. EST on Mon Jul 30, 2007     #

The actual question posed isn't if you are for or against the ban, its if you think the ban is working.
Different idea altogether.

posted by OhioKat at 08:44 A.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

Agree it's kind of a leading question. I dont like the ban but agree "it's working" as in people aren't smoking in buildings or near doors.

A "Do you agree with the ban" would be a more interesting question.

posted by jshriver at 09:07 A.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

jshriver - I agree the question should have been rephrased. Copied from the SB site:
WTOL could have been more clear about how they phrased the question. Most people took the question to ask, "Do you think the smoking ban is working?" as in, "Is it living up to it's promises of making the masses happy & being better for businesses?". That's how I took it. But I guess some could also have taken the poll question to ask "Is the ban working to stop people from smoking in businesses?" I would assume, that because they've claimed the numbers of reported violations has dropped so drastically, the latter would not be the case. The Blade has been saying a lot lately that there are far fewer reported violations, that the inspectors rarely find violations - to the extent they are going to start checking these businesses during peak hours (like they're desperate to find violations). Most businesses are complying with the law; many of the reported violations were determined to have been invalid or falsely reported to spite somebody; many of the earlier reported violations (and many still) are reported by people angry about the ban - reporting silly things, like chimneys, exhaust, incense, candles, wood burning fireplaces, etc.. I know there were a couple that were the result of a medical center vs a dental center next door to each other - ongoing feud, but nobody was smoking.

My point is simply that the valid number of early reported violations is questionable. Also, many people who had voted for the ban, have simply rethought the issue, for many reasons. Many have actually come to the realization that it's easy enough to exercise some freedom of choise to enter a place or not, and don't need the govt. to protect then to the extent of a total smoking ban, or think the ban is too restrictive & think it should be altered to be more fair (I've talked to several who've said this.) Many have heard much about the financial pinch this ban is placing on businesses - are aware of the fact that Toledo & Ohio can't really afford to lose more businesses. My guess is that the WTOL poll is probably a pretty accurate measure of what people think about how it's working. I'm sure there are some who aren't happy with the poll results - especially since there is talk of getting this on the ballot again by Nov. 2008 at the latest.

One final thought - perhaps they aren't getting as many reported violations, simply because the smoke haters aren't now, or ever were going to many of the places this ban affected. If smoke haters aren't going to the "Dew Drop Inn", never went there, won't ever go there, then they aren't likely to see a violation to even report. Which raises the question - why did they feel they needed to pass a ban on places they don't go to anyway.

posted by starling02 at 11:50 A.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

All the smokers I know (and there are a lot of them) say they love the ban. They like going to a bar and coming home without the wreak of smoke in their hair and clothing. As a non-smoker, I enjoy it as well. The issue went to the ballot and the ban was easily approved even with big tobacco's money trying so hard to kill it.

Now to the eight or nine nosy people who consider this the most important issue that has ever faced us as a people, GET OVER IT. Get up walk outside, and light up. Hell, I'll come with you and take a drag with you if I've got a couple in me. If you can't bring yourself to stand up, how did you get to the bar in the first place? If you are drinking you will have get up to pee at some point. Can you believe they make us get up and pee in a special room away from the other customers. We pee-ers are people too. Why can't we pee in comfort at our table? I guess the anti-urine Nazis just won't stand for it. Wankers.

posted by thetoledowire_com at 03:29 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

posted by Darkseid at 04:01 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

For the record, I am a non-smoker, though I smoked for over twenty years. The questions posed by this thread is misleading as it does not address the true impact of this smoking ban.

This issue should never have been put on the ballot. It is simply an excuse for those that favor the smoking ban to "escape" the personal responsibility of making the decision to patronize a business that allowed smoking in the first place and turn that choice over to "big brother".

Smoking is not illegal in the state of Ohio. So why should the state have to decree what legal activity should occur in a private business? It should not! If the state, by "majority" vote has decreed that smoking in public places is illegal, which it has, then why doesn't the state impose a total smoking ban anywhere within the boundary's of Ohio? A total ban of the sale and use of tobacco! But think about this, how much revenue would the state of Ohio loose should they impose such a ban! And we all know that this lost revenue would have to be made up from some other source. Any suggestions?

Weather a business allows or bans smoking within the confines of that business, in as much as smoking is still legal in Ohio, should be a decision made by the business owner and no other! If you are a non-smoker and you are opposed to smoking, then you, and you alone have the guaranteed right to NOT patronize those establishments and businesses that allow smoking! Your decision, NOT the states!!! Show some personal responsibility and STOP SHIFTING your responsibility onto someone else!!! This is YOUR DECISION to make. Not mine. Not the voter's. Not the state's!

What will be the next freedom you are willing to surrender to the "majority"? When will this end? How much are you willing to loose?

posted by rick948 at 04:08 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

Try asking those 'smokers who LOVE the ban ' how much they love it next jan.-mar. with below-zero wind chills (which, of course, is why it wasn't enforced until may-to ensure 'adaptation' before then)
posted by Darkseid at 04:12 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

All I am saying is I should be allowed to pee wherever I want to.
posted by thetoledowire_com at 05:00 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

toledowire - I think public urination falls into the same illegal catagory as indecent exposure - they are against the law - tobacco & smoking are not. Grow up. You say your non-smoker friends LOVE the smoking ban because they don't have to reek of smoke? And yet, they are smokers? Hmmmm. That is one of the most non-sensical things I've heard yet. Again - I do not go to bars. I simply would like restaurants to have the right (free enterprise & all that) to provide a smoking section (it can be enclosed, separate with it's own ventilation system for all I care) withIN the restaurant. I've said this repeatedly - I will not 'step outside' to smoke when I go out to dinner with my husband or friends - it is BEYOND RUDE to leave somebody sitting alone at the table. I also will not 'step outside' to smoke regardless, as it treats me like a second class citizen (govt. & public buildings excluded of course - of which private bar, restaurant, bowling alleys, etc. are NOT included). We have yet to see the fall out from this ban because it's nice outside & people like patios in the summer anyway. Wait till the businesses cry then. And rick, how many of Toledo or Ohio's restaurants & bars do you go to each week to keep them in business, and to be able to justify demanding ALL businesses not allow smoking, because you 'may' want to go there, 'someday'? I hope everybody who voted for this smoking ban, feels like a piece of shit when the owners end up going under, filing bankrupsy, losing their homes. But, hey, good for you, you don't have to smell the smoke. What a load of self righteous, self serving crap voting for this ban was.
posted by starling02 at 05:53 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

Yes, unfortunately since the public urination ban it has been illegal to urinate while seated at my bar stool. Sure the oder is offensive to some and it creates a public health concern but why is that my problem? Am I really expected to go somewhere else just to be courteous to others?

As for my smoking friends who would prefer not to smell like smoke, I can't speak for them, but that is their opinion.

And for the record and this part is important,

----->>>>I AM A RESTAURANT OWNER.<<<<-----

From my perspective, smoking rooms could kill my business. If we allow these smoking rooms inevitably someone will build one so a bunch of smokers will go there so someone else will build one, so on and so forth until everyone has to get one to attract those customers. This means I have to drop thousands of dollars to build separations and put in filtration systems. I can't afford that. If smoking is banned from public place me and all other restaurant owners are better off.

posted by thetoledowire_com at 07:29 P.M. EST on Tue Jul 31, 2007     #

thetoledowire - You ALWAYS had the choise to have a non-smoking restaurant, pre ban. But because you don't WANT a smoking section, can't afford to pay for one, and don't want competion from restaurants who have them, you don't think any of them should be allowed to have smoking sections? Seems to me, if non smoking sections are supposed to be great for business, then your restaurant should have been booming pre ban - if you chose to not have a smoking section. But hey, YOU'RE worried that allowing smoking sections would ruin your business because you don't want one & can't afford one & don't want the competition - but you're OK with other businesses dying & going under by the enforcing of a smoking ban. What a self centered ass. I agree that it's not fair for some restaurants who can't afford to build separate enclosed rooms or don't have the space to do so - which is why they should have left well enough ALONE, and just let private business owners decide for themselves whether to have smoking sections or NOT - and let the public decide where to eat, to vote with their dollars. You don't want to eat in a restaurant that has a smoking section that is just in a different area of the restaurant & not enclosed? Or to go to a bar that allows smoking? THEN DON'T ENTER IT. See how easy that is? Freedom to CHOOSE. Amazing thing. What restaurant do you own? I'll plan to never eat there, simply because you're an ass.
posted by starling02 at 12:41 A.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

As a restaurant owner, I can tell you for sure you are mischaracterizing the feelings of our industry on this issue. As for the previous ban, the one that affected only Toledo, I was against that. Since it affected such a small area and smokers were free to eat in Maumee or Sylvania that had a huge affect on businesses so thankfully it was finally repealed. The statewide ban however does not do the same thing the local ban did. People don’t have the option of Maumee or Sylvania, they could go to Michigan but I heard of no mass migration and from the sound of it Michigan too will likely have a ban in place soon.

The concept of the smoking ban killing restaurants is a myth. Most articles I have read about people going out of business have acknowledged that business has been slumping for some time. It would have to have been . The ban has not been in effect long enough to have an effect yet. The restaurant business is show-business and trends rule it. One minute you are hot; the next, no one can remember your name. Some failed businesses might want to place blame elsewhere for their misfortune, but it is not truthful. This is just the nature of the beast.

The fact of the matter is smokers still eat food. 95% of them don’t mind going outside to smoke, not because they understand it is the law, but because they understand that smoking indoors is rude and inconsiderate. There could be someone behind them that is trying to quit. There could be someone who can’t try this establishment’s famous ribs because they have severe asthma. We accommodate the physically disabled by providing ramps. Why would we not consider those with repertory disorders? Smokers are not locked in there bedrooms waiting for the ban to be lifted. They are going out and enjoying their lives as they always have.

Now this ban does change the market place a bit for restaurants and the conventional wisdom says “we should always let the market decide”, right? Now sadly, I had the misfortune of spending 4 dismal years in the Economics Department in college so I can tell that assumption is wrong (not usually but in this case).

Now ever since Adam Smith started talking about invisible hands in the 1700’s, it has been common knowledge that markets solve all of our problems and that everything tastes that much better with a little competition thrown into the mix. Flash forward 200 hundred years and finally someone said “maybe not”. That man was John Nash (Russell Crows played him in “A Beautiful Mind”). The root of the idea which won him the Nobel Prize was very simple. Sometimes competition leads to behaviors that make all of the competitors worse off. Allowing non smoking separations is perfect illustration of this concept.

Now for the sake of simplicity let’s represent all restaurants with two, “Restaurant A” and “Restaurant B”. And let’s look at only smoking customers since they are our focus and presume there are 1000 of them. Now under the current situation “Restaurant A” and “B” both get 500 customers each. Each customer spends $10, so, “A” makes $5000 and “B” makes $5000. Now let’s allow them to build a smoking separation which costs $2500. If “A” builds and “B” does not “A” will get all 100 customers and make $10,000 minus the investment leaving A with $7500. “B” makes nothing. If both build they keep their 500 customers making $5000 minus the investment leaving both with $2500. Since not building means making $0, both will have to build even though both parties end up worse off as a result. By not allowing restaurants to build, we all save that enormous expense which could be better spent elsewhere. That is why these rooms are bad for us and that’s why you won’t see us lining up to build them.

Now obviously the world is more complex than our example. Some restaurants, particularly smaller independently owned ones will not be able to afford these alterations or will not have the space for it. Who will be able to do these? The corporate owned chains, the Applebee’s, the Fridays, and Outback Steakhouse’s of the world. They will be able to throw up a wall and a filter overnight without missing a beat and this will push out the little guy and the little local color that these massive chains haven’t already extinguished will disappear. Now personally I always root for the little guy, particularly when I am the little guy. Independent restaurants that actually make food from scratch (verses the chains buying frozen meals from GFS) are running out, and I (and your taste-buds) see no reason to encourage this trend.

I’m sorry, but the truth is the revolution is not coming.

posted by thetoledowire_com at 02:50 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

"smokers were free to eat in Maumee or Sylvania that had a huge affect on businesses so thankfully..." ???????????????????????????????????????????????????
My GOD, that sounds like fascim to me. We were FREE to eat where we wanted...............

posted by starling02 at 05:43 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

You respond to a detailed economic explanation of why smoking rooms are bad for business with the old "call him a Nazi" nugget. Surely you can do better than that, Starling. ;)
posted by thetoledowire_com at 09:17 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

""smokers were free to eat in Maumee or Sylvania that had a huge affect on businesses so thankfully..." ???????????????????????????????????????????????????
My GOD, that sounds like fascim to me. We were FREE to eat where we wanted............... "

You're STILL free to eat where you want. You just aren't free to poison the air in a restaurant with your ridiculously stupid habit.

posted by JeepMaker at 11:53 A.M. EST on Sat Aug 04, 2007     #

SMOKE NAZIS!!! Get 'em all. They're poisoning the country!
posted by Darkseid at 12:43 P.M. EST on Sat Aug 04, 2007     #

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