Smoking guns: Updated with flip-flop

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Mark Binker reports tonight that bill banning smoking hasn't gained enough support to satisfy its proponents.

House leaders say they will postpone consideration of a bill that would ban smoking from almost all workplaces that was tentatively scheduled for a vote Tuesday. "We've got 35-to-40 people undecided," said Rep. Hugh Holliman, a Davidson County Democrat and the House majority leader. There are 120 members of the House.


The bill would ban smoking in bars and restaurants as well as workplaces ranging from factory floors to office settings. Proponents say it will protect the health of workers. Opponents say it infringes on property owners rights.

If I were in the legislature, I would vote against this bill. I find it too intrusive and would rather let the marketplace do its thing. This position puts me in agreement with free-market maniac John Hood, which goes to show that even a broken Puppet clock can be right every now and then.


I spent a lot of time with this issues last night and I've changed my mind. I would support this bill and I hope the members of the legislature who are still on the fence are doing the same kind of soul searching. Plus, Greg Flynn delivered the final blow this morning:

Any personal freedoms associated with property ownership are endowed by society and do not trump the personal freedoms of others, with or with property.


I don't think it would get banned either

If I were supporting the ban, it would be because of concerns about workers who have to operate in smoke-filled environments. It seems to me there should be some creative ways to address their needs without a full-blown ban. For example, maybe private clubs should be allowed to continue to allow smoking.

I don't have a good answer, I just don't think a ban is the right solution.

The free-market part is the fact that the tobacco industry is slowly killing all of its customers. Eventually the "free market" will prevail and smoking will go the way of snake oil.


For example, maybe private clubs should be allowed to continue to allow smoking.

Smoking would be allowed in private clubs.

From NC House Bill 259.

(b) Smoking may be permitted in the following places:

(1) A private residence, except when being used commercially to provide child care or adult care services.

(2) A retail or wholesale tobacco shop.

(3) The premises of a manufacturer of tobacco products, including a manufacturer's offices.

(4) A designated smoking guest room in a lodging establishment. No greater than twenty percent (20%) of a lodging establishment's guest rooms may be designated smoking guest rooms.

(5) A private club.

(6) A place of employment used for medical, scientific, or product development research to the extent that smoking is an integral part of the research.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

More ladies' bathrooms

Here here! I'll support that one. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Smoking Ban

The bill was changed to include private clubs, unless they were non-profit, like the VFW or something.

The Grassroots Membership of Americans for Prosperity strongly believes that
private businesses have the right to make their own decisions on how to run their
operations. The days and times they are open, the prices they charge for goods and
services, dress standards and more. It is our conviction that free market competitive
forces ultimately shape these business decisions and determine the viability of
the enterprise. In this vein, Americans for Prosperity is opposed to the proposed
smoking ban in North Carolina for private properties that provide access to the
public as a part of their doing business.

Currently, any restaurant owner in North Carolina is free to operate a smoke-free
establishment and many have elected to do so, based on feedback from their patrons
and employees. A vast majority of restaurants provide accommodations for non-smokers.
This is how it should be. Alternately, a smaller percentage of dining establishments
have decided to allow smoking based on feedback from their customers and staff.
This, too, is how it should be. Individuals then have a choice.

It is at the very least debatable whether occasional, voluntary exposure to
second-hand smoke amounts to any significant health risk. Perhaps, even if second-hand
smoke does cause a risk, it is just one of many risks that people in a free society
choose to navigate on a daily basis. In our society people are free to choose to
engage in highly risky behavior such as sky diving, rock climbing, swimming in the
ocean or skiing down a mountain, all of which can expose one to significant, imminent
health risks. No one in North Carolina is forced to eat at a restaurant, drink at
a bar or work in an office that allows smoking. When significant numbers of people
decline to patronize an establishment because of smoking, the business owner is
likely to alter the policy to cater to the customer’s wishes. This is how it should

It is the view of Americans for Prosperity that as much as possible the rights
of private property owners should be sacrosanct. Anytime the government tells a
private property owner how they may or may not use their land, the value of that
property is diminished, whether it is a business or private home.

Individuals who believe that a smoking ban will increase the health of our society
should have faith in the free-market to accomplish the same goal in time and likely
with a longer lasting effect. When the government mandates a smoking ban, it only
serves to stigmatize adults who engage in a legal activity and does nothing to decrease
the percentage of the population who smoke. Whereas, when consumers in the free
market make the decision to patronize only non-smoking establishments, the greater
societal effect is a natural change in the public conscience that will lead, in
time, to a decrease in the number of individuals that smoke.

Those who want to force a ban on smoking in business establishments do not consider
it to be the end of the discussion. They see it as just the first step in a long
campaign. They have been successful in some states where adults are told they cannot
smoke in their cars or in their own homes. If they are successful no North Carolina
eateries, bars and private work places will be able to allow smoking. However, the
decision to bar smoking will have been made by a few legislators and not the customers
or owners of the business. A better solution is to have faith in the private market
and let it sort this issue out. It has always worked in the past and will do so
in the future, if it is allowed to do so by the government. .

The American freedoms associated with property ownership are under attack. Personal
freedoms are being stripped away from Americans on a daily basis. The grassroots
membership of Americans for Prosperity understands that in America people have a
right to make choices, including choices that others might not agree with.

Dallas Woodhouse

If you folks had half the righteous indignation

about all the other layers of government intrusion being foisted on society, you might have some credibility on this issue. From what I read, you pick and choose which "freedoms" you support, which almost always line up with the economic interests of the wealthy elite, in this case, tobacco companies.

So educate me about your positions:

Where do you stand on the freedom of babies to eat lead paint? Or the freedom of construction workers to breathe in asbestos? Or the freedom of factory workers to be locked into burning warehouses?

Where do you stand on the War on Drugs? Where do you stand on the legalization of marijuana? Where do you stand on laws against children drinking?

Where do you stand on physician-assisted suicide?

Where do you stand on the NSA wiretaps?

Where do you stand on the rights of companies to direct advertising to children? Or the rights of pedophiles to profit from child pornography? or the rights of parents to turn their children into prostitutes?

Where do you stand on the rights of wealthy individuals to pour corporate money into elections?

Where do you stand on the rights of workers to unionize?

Where do you stand on the rights of religious zealots to force public school children to say the pledge of allegiance?

Where do you stand on the rights of the US Navy to condemn 33,000 acres in Washington County for an outlying landing field?

I've read your stuff and visited your site often. I don't know where you stand on these issues, except that you mostly stand silent.

Blowing smoke

Among personal freedoms and rights breathing clean air is the most fundamental.

As a physical activity smoking’s impacts can not be confined to personal space in the public realm which includes public accommodations on private property.

Obviously “personal freedoms” are more fungible in the AFP world order than “property rights” where the “haves” are afforded more privileges than the “have nots”.

The concept of property is not an absolute. It varies considerably among countries and cultures. Any personal freedoms associated with property ownership are endowed by society and do not trump the personal freedoms of others, with or with property.

Smoking is a social and cultural activity. Society and culture are changing and the context for smoking is changing as is tolerance for the primary effects of smoke from burning tobacco in enclosed rooms.


"Among personal freedoms and rights breathing clean air is the most fundamental."

I agree with that statement - 100%.

However, I'm much more worried about the gutting of our EPA protections - the gains that have been made in the last 30 years - now being destroyed - than I am about people smoking cigarettes indoors.

Perspective, I think it's called.

Join the ranks.

Very well spoken, comrade.

Enlightened citizens of America...I call on you to cast off archaic notions of private property and cede your belongings to the omnipotent state. Follow me, comrades, into the enlightened century of benevolent central planning! Vive la revolution!

so who plans on

paying for the health care of the people who are forced to work in a smoking establishement? or maybe they arent forced to work there, and you can volunteer to pay for their welfare checks.

The classic libertarian formulation is that your rights end when they infringe upon the rights of others. Smoking infringes upon the health choices of others when it is done in confined spaces. End of story.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

This is the part that I don't have an answer for

I know some people don't have a real choice when it comes to employment. They don't have the luxury of telling the only employer in town (a restaurant or garage or machine shop, for example) that they won't work there if smoking is allowed.

Okay. I'm flip-flopping. It may not be the best bill (it's not) but I think I'd have to go along with it. That's the take Pricey Harrison has: support, but not enthusiastic support.

Faulty Assumption

No libertarian formulation would presume indentured servitide.

Quit. Compete. End of story.

of course not

because in a libertarian formulation all these people are working in happy, wonderful jobs earning 20 cents an hour.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Decisions, decisions

Personally - I smoke. I'd rather I didn't but that's a discussion for another day.

However, that being said, I also do not smoke in restaurants because I choose not to. It's called being polite. I haven't been in a bar in years - but I probably would in a situation like that.

Heavy second hand smoke probably is bad for people. But so is smelling fumes from fiberglass if you work in a place like that. Printing places - whew, I had a run in one of those. YICK. Or autobody paint. Asphalt works. I could probably think of more with a little more coffee in me.

I dunno. I'm torn. But I do know industrial 'smoke eaters' that I've seen in some restaurants/bars really work. It depends on the size of the unit, the size of the room, and the level of smoke in the air. Some of them have really amazed me in how well they work.

I'm glad I'm not voting on that bill. I'd be one of the iffy fence sitters because I really can see both sides.

What I'd really like to see some of that money that was spent on the 'buyout' used to help people to quit. Quadzillions for advertising - was there a penny for treatment? I don't think so.
Advertising - the best advertising to get kids not to start smoking is having parents that don't smoke. DUH.

/rant off/

Chapel Hill

Doesn't Chapel Hill have/had some weird regulation that if you want smoking you have to have an oversized and/or second air system? I don't know anything about "smoke eaters", maybe that is what I'm talking about, who knows.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

If they do, it doesn't work

at the K&W in Chapel Hill. The "non-smoking" section smells like the smoking section. It probably has to do with the 2 sections being separated by........ AIR.

Horrible Law

Pandering at it's worst. Might as well ban Scorpios from breeding. I'm sure 11/12ths of the population would agree with that too.

Just slap a Surgeon General's Warning on any establishment where the PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER has elected to allow grown ups to smoke, then grown ups can decide for themselves.

You want to see a real House cleaning?

Try to come between me and my trans fats, Tanqueray and tobacco.

Constitutional Amendment

"Rights" should be decided by the people, so put it before the people and if enough folks against it, so be it. If they vote for it, so be it. It's one more line on the ballot, shouldn't be a big deal.

Democracy and all that rot.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Dangerous Precedents

Two things:

First, to quote my favorite anarchist, "The principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves." Allowing a majority to determine our rights would be a dangerous step indeed.

Second, banning smoking in bars and restaurants is really no different than banning it in homes. The underlying logic is the same. It's like saying that invited guests (patrons) to a home (bar) are more important than the people who live (manage) there. Philosophically, I see no difference.

Vices are not crimes

Vices are not crimes

Anarchism is the absence of enlightenment

Your thoughts on the dangers of one or more factions enslaving others are reminiscent of the philosophical thought of a previous age - one in which society had not yet attained the level of enlightenment that it is now on the verge of seizing.

In the coming revolution, such examples of malicious societal discord will give way to a broad consensus wherein the greatest among us will make the best decisions for those who are less able to make those decisions. Of course, it is possible that there may exist certain individuals who are dispossessed of the natural desire to live in accordance with the peaceful principles of the benevolent planners. Enlightened citizens, however, have the means wherewith to aid such unfortunate souls in overcoming these subversive thought patterns and potentially malicious mental health conditions. I have previously expounded on the inherent virtues of alleviating afflicted citizens from these conditions here.
You should not allow yourself to be consumed by the concerns of a past and barbaric age. In the coming enlightenment, the consensus will be too broad for such confrontations to arise.

I, for one, consider the smoking ban to be a commendable use of central direction to protect and safeguard the health of all citizens, when not all citizens are able to make the appropriate choices.

Enlightened citizens of America...I call on you to cast off archaic notions of private property and cede your belongings to the omnipotent state. Follow me, comrades, into the enlightened century of benevolent central planning! Vive la revolution!

Second, banning smoking in

Second, banning smoking in bars and restaurants is really no different than banning it in homes. The underlying logic is the same. It's like saying that invited guests (patrons) to a home (bar) are more important than the people who live (manage) there. Philosophically, I see no difference.

Cool. What are your hours, and do you have a menu online that i could look at?

Good one, Barry.

Plus let's see your sanitation certificate . . . just in case.

Second Point

Barry, Anglico: I fail to understand your argument(s). Is it simply that I invite fewer people to my house? Or that because restaurants are already subject to some laws, they should be subject to more?

Guests can choose or not choose to come to my house. Patrons can choose or not choose to go to a bar. Despite some trifling differences, the logic is the same. We start with HB 529 - next, my (adult) guests aren't allowed to light up on the back patio.

Vices are not crimes

Vices are not crimes

It's not about guests

it's about workers.

People work in a restaurant. And sometimes they have no other options for places to work. They may not have transportation, or they may live in a place where all the restaurants allow smoking and there are no other jobs.

They need a paycheck, so they work. And they breathe in the smoke of "guests."

It is not about guests. It's about workers.

The social interaction that

The social interaction that pertains when you invite me to your house is fundamentally different from when i decide to go out to a bar or other public establishment.

They are simply not equivalent, and i don't think it's worth my time trying to explain why if you can't see that.

Eventually, the market will decide whether smoking is to be permitted in public establishments or not. In most municipalities where public smoking has been banned, bars and restaurants have not seen a fall-off in business, but rather an increase. I'm pretty sure the jury's still out as to whether there's a causal relationship there.

Simply put, you have no more right to breathe second-hand smoke into my air at a public place than you do to jump up and down making rude noises at the movie theater, preventing me from watching and listening to the film that i paid good money to see. To argue that passing a no smoking at public eating establishments law is the first step to banning smoking in your backyard is to ignore the fundamental difference between public and private space. The range of behaviors which are forbidden to you to engage in a public space (whether that space is privately owned or not), is wide. No one would argue (i don't think) that you and your adult guests should be prevented from having whatever kind of food fight you'd like on your back patio.

Would you suggest that such behavior be given its own special section at a bar?

NBC 17

Is reporting the proponents don't have the votes and will be compromising to get something through.

Last week a House committee approved House Bill 259 to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants and the work place. But some lawmakers and private property rights advocates say the measure goes too far.

A compromise may end up just banning smoking in bars and restaurants.

I support this bill

Banning smoking in workplaces is a great idea. Workers should not have to be exposed to second-hand smoke - a proven carcinogen per the Surgeon General - on the job. The less exposure to second-hand smoke that restaurant workers and patrons have to endure, the better.

Besides, separate smoking and non-smoking sections simply do not work. The odor cannot be contained by a 4-foot wall with a potted plant on top.

I also support it

I support this bill for a few reasons:

1) Separate smoking & nonsmoking sections DO NOT WORK...period. Smoke floats, it moves, it waifs. Unless the restaurant has completely separated rooms, with walls and doors, and separate HVAC systems. And really, do you truthfully know many that do?? I like that saying that's been spreading around lately: "A nonsmoking section in a restaurant is as effective as a non-urinating section in a swimming pool."

2) The number of restaurants in this state that are already completely smoke-free are no where near as plentiful as opponents of this bill will make it out to be. (Unless you count fast-food burger joints as restaurants, which I don't really.) Many places advertise themselves has having "smoke free dining" only to allow smoking at the bar, which again points to my reason 1 above. Even in a major modern metropolitan area like the Triangle, smoke-free restaurants and bars aren't as common as they ought to be.

3) Kids don't have the choice. If mommy and daddy take them into a smoking restaurant, they are exposed to it whether they want to be or not. (I have first-hand experience in this, growing up in Winston-Salem.)

Deal Breaker

I mean it.

You can post all the brilliant arguments in the world about why bringing your child to a smoke filled Hooters is your only option for sustenance, but I will vote against any Dem or otherwise that supports this nonsense just as I would Hitler...

The first liberal authoritarian that tried to regulate health.

History is lame?

Please google "hitler" and "smoking" for yourself.

He was the first to criminalize it. That's the kind of thing big brother authoritarians do... and why we are supposed to hate Neo-Cons. Remember?

It is far from selfish to try and save a Democratic majority from its own self defeating ideas. We're talking bloodbath here once this gets to the general population in NC. Don't hand the GOP an issue they can actually run on.

I won't be the last one to bring up Hitler should this pass. It'll be a GOP talking point.

Rauchen ist verboten!

Don't put words in my mouth

I said your attempt was lame.

Only cowards make their decisions based on what the GOP might run on in the next election. Encouraging Democrats to run scared because we might piss off the Republicans isn't saving a Democratic majority. It's encouraging cowardice.

Let the NCGOP bring up Hitler. I dare them. Actually, I encourage them. I immediately lost all respect for you when you did and voters in North Carolina will respond similarly to the NCGOP if they attempt the same tactic. Only those teetering waaaay out in the far reaches of the right wing enjoy comparing others to Hitler. I will enjoy watching the party implode if they do.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Don't they have better things to do?

I didn't realize NC was such a workers paradise there was nothing left for our esteemed delegation to do but criminalize smoking in the few bars and restaurants where you can still enjoy the fruits of our top export and one of our largest employers.

With all due respect I think you're putting words in my mouth now, like this is some great long overdue bill and my only reason to oppose it (or mention the historical and political origins of the anti-tobacco lobby) is fear of a GOP planet.

Hardly, I think this is bad legislation for NC to begin with, that just happens to have obvious repercussions to those too cowardly to stand up to the anti-tobacco crowd.

If this is so important, I like Robert P's idea. Put it to a general vote. Let the people decide rather than legislators with a waiting room full of insurance lobbyists and suits from the American (insert random organ here) Association.

Sidebar: As for the knee jerk reactions to the dreaded "H" word, I'd encourage careful study of the subtle nuances of Godwin's Law.

However, Godwin's Law can itself also be abused, as a distraction or diversion, to fallaciously miscast an opponent's argument as hyperbole.

My point was authoritarianism is bad, not Dems are like Hitler. Sorry for the shorthand. But Hitler's anti-tobacco campaign is so well known, that is the current level of heated rhetoric between the tobacco workers unions, employers and anti-tobacco lobby.

It is probably the most emotionally charged debate you can have in NC. I see no upside. Just pissed off bar owners, patrons, farmers and tobacco workers.

Smoking in bars

It is somehow both the most emotionally charged debate we can have, and yet is not worth talking about. Uhhuh.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

I think that is great

Relating keeping people from smoking in a business to a man that killed 11 million people. That sets a really high bar for this country.

The real reason I think this is a great idea? Because if that became the GOP talking point then Democrats would probably sweep almost every race in the state in 08. The backlash to such talk would be swift and sever.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Great minds and such


Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

That's pretty over the top

I was in context. You're citing the murder of 11 million for shock value.

Play nice please.

no. you werent

Hitler is NEVER in context.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

And yet...

You keep bringing him up.

Fine. We can discuss the pros and cons of Anti-smoking Authoritarianism without citing any actual Anti-smoking Authoritarians.

Um, you first. I said put it to a general vote. You obviously disagree.

So, North Carolina will be better off once the legislators decide the people can't smoke in bars anymore because...?

Because . . . .

Here's my answer:

Because people who have to work in bars (now that their mill jobs have been sent to Mexico by Robin Hayes) won't get lung cancer from second-hand smoke.

If you don't see this point it's either because you're not looking or you don't care to be confused with the facts.

Thank you

No, I see that to an extent. At least I understand the logic, but I don't know that it's that big a problem. It certainly can't compare to the White Lung you got working in a mill 40 years. I guess I see mill jobs, tobacco jobs, farming, etc. as careers. Not that one can't make a career of waiting tables, but it tends to be something you do a few years then move on. Plus all the 'lifers' I know behind bars smoke like chimneys anyway.

Conversely, I hope you see the problems with such a bill in NC.

The cost/benefit analysis is not black & white obvious, at least to me, and I'm guessing a sizable population that reacts negatively to anything with even a smack of 'big brother.'

Sorry for being snippy this morning.

I do see the problems with the bill. In fact, I originally wrote this entry as an opponent. But then I started talking to people who have to work in environments where smoking is allowed. My first instinct was . . . well work somewhere else! Easy for me to say, I work at home. Lots of people have to take whatever work they can get and sometimes the conditions are flat-out dangerous. Working in an environment where you can't get away from second-hand smoke would appear to qualify in my opinion.

I have a friend who works in a smoking environment. She doesn't really care about dying, she just hates smelling like an ashtray.