Maryland Goes Smokefree

As of February 2008, all the bars and restaurants in Maryland will be smokefree, joining the District and several other cities and states around the US. Bars and Restaurants can petition for an exemption if they can prove financial harm to their business, but I have a feeling that’s going to be a hard sell for any business that tries.

Now, to get Virginia to do the same… yeah, I know, pipe dream…

5 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    I love the smoke-free but this hardship exemption stuff is annoying me. The smart thing to do is pass a ban that sets air handling standards. Want to allow smoking? Install a system that removes & filters air at XYZ standards. Don’t want to pay? No smoking.

    Smokers can have to places to spark up (in theory), bars that want to allow smoking can do so if they’re willing to shoulder the cost. Instead we pass this namby-pamby crap that you have to ban it entirely unless it’s inconvenient? Where’s the exemption for, say, food handling if it’s too expensive to buy lysol? Are there factory exemptions if it’s cheaper to dump waste in the river rather than dispose of it properly?

  2. Xian (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

    THANK YOU, DON! I smoke from time to time when I go out, and when I’m in New York, I actually enjoy the smoke free environment in the bars. That said, if smoking is legal, and the owner of an establishment wants to allow smoking, they should be allowed to.

    Of course, it’s not that simple. Smoking is a health hazard, and I agree non-smokers shouldn’t have to sit in a haze of smoke just to hang out at a bar. Requiring air cleaners seems like a reasonable compromise.

    I know most of the people on this site are fervent pro-smoke-ban folks, and I’m honestly surprised nobody’s piped up.

  3. Stacey (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

    Xian: People have piped up, many, many, many a times. Me (rabid non-smoker) included. I’m almost totally against a ban, but this it is at least a little more reasonable to offer something like Don suggests. Although I’d still prefer zero regulation.

    Most people that get hyped about the smoking ban on this site are not really practical in their arguments (raises hand, including me) and are pro- or anti-smoking ban ideologues, so it’s really fruitless to argue it b/c everyone is already set in their ways. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a fools world to think any of us are going to convince each other by arguing…

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 8:19 am

    I do think a solution as Don would suggest would be very reasonable, but I’m not sure it’d be successful. I will not cry tears for this lost “liberty” though.

  5. Tiff (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

    The liberty I’m concerned about isn’t the smokers’- after all, their right to go out and smoke isn’t more important than my right to go out and NOT smoke second-hand. The liberty I’m concerned about is that of the business owners, who are definitely seeing some rights-infringments here. I reflexively dislike regulation that screws with people’s abilities to run their businesses in any honest way they see fit.

    That said, I also just as reflexively feel my throat closing up and start gagging whenever I enter a smoky bar, so I freely admit that on a practical level, I LOVE the smoking ban even though it’s in direct contradiction of my libertarian principles.

    So conflicted… and yet breathing so much more easily…

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