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Thread: Using anti-smoking incentives for economic development

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Using anti-smoking incentives for economic development

    Like many communities, smoking bans are currently being debated in Coles County. I typically fall under the ‘government shouldn’t tell a private business what they can’t allow’ crowd. But I also admit, I would frequent more restaurants if a ban were in place.

    While researching smoking bans I found that instead of smoking bans, some communities offer incentives to businesses for going smoke free. I wonder if this could be taken a step further and argue anti-smoking incentives could spark economic development.

    The non-smoking crowd is currently being underserved in this area. An extra tax-credit for being smoke free may be the push someone needs to start a new business. Or maybe if a new liquor license was created with the requirement that the establishment be smoke free. This seems like a win-win. It gives an entrepreneur a chance to open a business, the city will collect tax revenue, non-smokers will have a place to go, and existing business won’t be affected.

    Has anyone ever taken this approach? Or is it way off in left field?

  2. #2
    Sounds like an interesting idea.

    But really, banning smoking is no big deal. Even in cold Boston, people just stopped smoking indoors and many gave up smoking all together. Now, after a couple of years, it seems incredible anyone still allows it. And revenues go up because all that smoke keeps people away, even the smokers prefer their clothes not smelling.

    I was in the Charlotte airport last month and smelled smoke, the first time I had smelled smoke indoors in maybe 6 or 7 months. Kind of a strange sensation.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I have to wonder if the market is starting to handle the smoking issue, at least when it comes to restaurants. I just went back and checked, but the last 15 restaurants that have come into our city went smoke-free voluntarily, including two where alcohol sales make up about 40% of their bottom line.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    In rural America it is still unusual to see any place go smokeless. The exception would be restaurant chains, but go into a combo gas/fast food and you still smell it. I am doing some surveying of recent movers regarding quality of life issues in a rural community. It is surprising how often smoke-filled places are mentioned as contributing to negative perceptions of the place. On the other hand, another city I work in has a smoking ban in place, and tavern owners complein it has hurt their business because the neighborhing community still allows smoking.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Yeah, it definitely depends on the area. They tried that here in metro Detroit a couple years back. It did not fly But, as a current public health professional, I would love to see it happen. And to give you some perspective on the issue, I still remember this quote from one of my classes (can't remember the person who said it though):

    "Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a p*ssing section in a swimming pool."

    Think about THAT one!
    In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by WouldBePlanner View post
    Yeah, it definitely depends on the area. They tried that here in metro Detroit a couple years back. It did not fly But, as a current public health professional, I would love to see it happen. And to give you some perspective on the issue, I still remember this quote from one of my classes (can't remember the person who said it though):

    "Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a p*ssing section in a swimming pool."

    Think about THAT one!
    "pissing in the pool" Now thats an old anti smoking standard line. I wouldn't worry to much it is called dilution. Being from the Great Lakes area myself. I can safely state that we get our drinking water out of the largest fresh water pissing pools in the world. Yeah I know we have waste water treatment but that does not account for all the cows, pigs, horses and wildlife pissing in the water shed. Thats right we have filtration for that but the same principle works with air exchange and ventilation. As for some sort of incentive to go non smoking? Why? That free market can determine that all on its own. A few years back in my area a few places went non smoking and did quite well at first but when a few of the chains went non smoking these places went under due to the competition.

  7. #7
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    On the "ban"-wagon

    Indeed, Massachusetts is mostly (all?) smoke-free now, and it is definitely odd to visit places where smoking's still allowed. Even though I'm pretty libertarian on the subject of private businesses and smoking, I have to admit the ban is nice. I was a smoker when the ban went into effect, which made quitting a lot easier, but even before I quit, it wasn't a terrible burden.

    An unintended side-effect of throwing all those smokers out of bars and onto the streets, however, has been a tremendous increase in litter. It's all well and good to ban smoking or incentivize nonsmoking, but if you're not going to mandate ashtrays outside (and even if you did), you're going to have a mess that just doesn't get cleaned up and isn't biodegradable.

    Oh, and one other unintended side-effect: bars smell worse when you don't have cigarette smoke to cover up the stench of spilled booze.

  8. #8
    All public places and work places in Massachusetts are smoke free, except for cigar stores where more than 50% of their business is smoking related.

    We used to joke what would bars smell like after there was no smoking. I fear that the smell is more than stale, spilled booze, but I won't speculate what the source is. I've been to places in other cities that say they have ventilation systems that keep the smoke levels down. Haven't been to one that works - the difference withtruly smoke free is amazing. But the main downside is the trash outside. Real gross

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