Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fort Wayne and its new and stupid smoking ordinance...

My current councilman, Don Schmidt had the City Clerk send me a copy of the proposed smoking ban. I got it today...

I would like to thank Don for directing the City Clerk to send me a copy. When I called the City Clerk they told me I would have to drive downtown and get it myself...

I guess that may be someone's idea of Downtown development? Make taxpayers drive downtown to read silly new laws they are forced to comply with?

Enough of that...

Now to the smoking ban. As you all know I oppose this. It is a property rights issue for me. I think that each business owner should determine their own policy...

This smoking ban excludes smoking in all public places and in ALL places that have employees except:
1. Private residences that are NOT licensed child care, adult day care, or a health care facility.
2. Motels and hotels may allow smoking in up to 20% of their rooms.
3. Private or semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long term care facilities that are occupied by one or more persons, all of whom are smokers and have requested in WRITING to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted, provided that smoke from these rooms does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under provisions of this chapter.

Some things to keep in mind:
1. The ordinance DOES apply to all vehicles owned by the City!
2. Please read #3 above CAREFULLY about nursing homes. This could EASILY be interpreted to mean that the smoking rooms need their own ventilation system.
3. Smoking is not allowed within 20 feet of an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. This distance is 200 feet from a governmental building and from the property line of a campus hospital that has prohibited smoking.

Especially absurd:
1. All areas where smoking is prohibited by this ordinance must have "no smoking" signs. This means that every City vehicle will now be required to have a "no smoking" sign! Every entrance must have a sign and signs must be in each area... The sign industry must be ECSTATIC.

Enforcement is really egregious:

1. Check this out. "Enforcement of this subchapter shall be implemented by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department, the City Fire Department, the City Police Department, and all other city and county governmental agencies responsible for building inspections, which boards and/or departments shall certify in writing that any establishment being inspected is complying with the terms of the subchapter."
2. Check this out. "ANY citizen who desires to register a complaint under this subchapter may initiate enforcement by calling the City Fire Department. If the Fire Department is not involved in other higher priority activities, someone will be dispatched to issue a citation to the offending party."

This is a disaster for the City Fire Department...

Will the Fire Department install a smoking violation hotline?

How many new employees will the Fire Department have to hire?

1. A business entity who does not post the necessary signs at each entrance, does not post the necessary signs throughout his or her establishment, or who leaves ash trays in his establishment will be fined up to $2500 per day.
2. A person who smokes (Except in restaurants, see 3 below) will be fined up to $25 the first time, up to $100 the second time, and up to $250 for each additional violation.
3. A person who smokes in a restaurant can be fined up to $2500.

Big government is in Fort Wayne to stay. Democrats and Republicans officials both stand for more Government regulations...

Good grief...

Mike Sylvester


Anonymous said...

I am for the smoking ban - what is stupid is that the city even went through this short term transitional stage where they forced businesses to invest money in a short term solution. There are major health and financial reasons for this ban and no, the free enterprise will not solve this problem as much as I hate to see government intervene. Its too bad we have such vision-lacking sand baggers such as Tom Didier on our city council. I hope a forward looking voter will bring good people to replace him as he clearly supports and represents the traditional losing mentality that has caused this city to slumber the past 40 years while the world has passed us by.

Here is some support - straight from Wikipedia.

The effects of bans

Effects on health
In the first 18 months after the town of Pueblo, Colorado enacted a smoking ban in 2003, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 27%. Admissions in neighboring towns without smoking bans showed no change. The American Heart Association said, "The decline in the number of heart attack hospitalizations within the first year and a half after the non-smoking ban that was observed in this study is most likely due to a decrease in the effect of secondhand smoke as a triggering factor for heart attacks."

Similar findings are beginning to emerge from other areas which have enacted bans. Researchers at Dundee university found significant improvements in the health of bar staff in the two months following the ban. They tested bar workers' lung function and inflammatory markers a month before the ban came in, and again two months after it had been introduced. The number showing symptoms related to passive smoking fell from more than 80% to less than half, with reduced levels of nicotine in the blood and improvements in lung function of as much as 10%.

Effects on tobacco use
A 1960 document from Phillip Morris Impact of Workplace Restrictions on Consumption and Incidence', summarized the results of its long-running research into the effects of a ban. "Total prohibition of smoking in the workplace strongly effects [tobacco] industry volume. Smokers facing these restrictions consume 11%-15% less than average and quit at a rate that is 84% higher than average."

Effects on businesses
Although one of the most common sources of resistance to bans comes from businesses concerned that they will suffer financial losses due to lost customers, research seems to offer them some reassurances.
In the Republic of Ireland, the main opposition was from publicans, along with a minority of pub-goers. The Irish workplace ban was introduced with the intent of protecting others, particularly workers, from passive smoking ("secondhand smoke"). By and large, since the ban's introduction it has become accepted, due in part to "outdoor" arrangements at many pubs (involving heated areas with shelters). It is viewed as a success by the government and much of the public, and many other European governments are considering similar legislation.
Ireland's Office of Tobacco Control website indicates that "An evaluation of the official hospitality sector data shows there has been no adverse economic effect from the introduction of this measure (the March 2004 national ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, etc). Bar the most significant quarterly increase in employment since the second quarter of 2002."[26] Thus, even in a country with a relatively high percentage of smokers, the smoking ban did not seem to have a negative effect on business in bars or restaurants.
In the USA, smokers and hospitality businesses initially argued that businesses would suffer from smoking bans. Some restaurateurs argued that smoking bans would increase the rate of dine and dashes where patrons declare they are stepping outside to smoke, while their intent is to leave. Others have countered that even if this occurred it could decrease the leisure (non-eating) time spent in the restaurants, resulting in increased turn-over of tables, which could actually benefit total sales. The experiences of Delaware, New York, California, and Florida have shown that businesses are generally not negatively affected, and that many hospitality businesses actually show increased revenues. According to the 2004 Zagat Survey, which polled nearly 30,000 New York City restaurant patrons, by a margin of almost 6 to 1, respondents said that they eat out more often now because of the city's smoke-free policy[27]. A 2006 US surgeon general review[28] of studies suggests that business may actually improve[29]. Thus, research generally indicates that business incomes are stable (or even improved) after smoking bans are enacted, and many customers appreciate the improved air quality.
In 2003 New York City amended its antismoking law to include all restaurants and bars, including those in private clubs, making it one of the toughest in the nation. The city's Department of Health found in a 2004 study that air pollution levels had decreased sixfold in bars and restaurants after the ban went into effect, and that New Yorkers had reported less secondhand smoke in the workplace. The study also found the city's restaurants and bars prospered despite the smoking ban, with increases in jobs, liquor licenses and business tax payments.[30] A 2006 study by the state of New York found similar results.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I own a Fort Wayne business...

I do NOT allow anyone to smoke in my business...

That is my choice.

Not the Government's choice!

Mike Sylvester

Jennifer Griggs, Chair Libertarian Party of Allen County said...

...And the drumroll....
#1 Reason why Tony Dungee will never see Ft. Wayne host the Superbowl... no one would come to a city where they can't have a beer, smoke, or ?whats next? and watch the game.

Great Public Relations play, City Council. Did you run this past the Economic Development Board?

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess we'll never have a Superbowl in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Washington DC, and on and on and on.

They ALL have smoking bans just like Fort Wayne.
This isn't about personal freedom - it is about squeezing health care costs by making the population healthier which they won't do on their own. Recent figures show that with current Medicare costs rising, our entire federal budget will be spent on Medicare by 2050. We cut that in several ways (in parallel).

1) We support privatization of government health care programs

2) We make the population healthier

Perhaps Todd Smith of Pieres can purchase every uninsured patron of his club a health insurance policy before they enter the door that way I don't have to pay for them 20 years from now. Of course, if he fails to obey the law - maybe Ft Wayne could shut down Pieres so 10 good bars could open downtown.

Jennifer Griggs, Chair Libertarian Party of Allen County said...

It is all about personal freedom. What will government choose to force people into next?

No more coffee, transfats, etc..? What about the other end of the spectrum, also--China, for example, limiting children?

No one should choose what is best for us besides us.

"It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself." – Justice Casey Percell

Anonymous said...

Great, the the government should totally get rid of Medicare.

It is one or the other:

People get healthier or the Government stops all subsidized health care [period]

Our society and especially our state is riddled with people that make bad decisions about their health and then expect the government to bail them out ---- which do you give up ?

Nisha said...

I' m a smoker and feel that this smoking ban violates my civil rights. I own my car how can you tell me I can't smoke in it? What really frustrates me is no one knew about the passing of this law until it was already approved. How can a government meant for the people pass laws without asking the people? I understand smoking is not the healthiest thing to do in the world, but you could say the same thing about prescription drugs or drinking. My question is where does it end? Will the government be able to tell me I can't smoke in my back yard or in my home? If one civil right is violated how many more will follow?

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