The Canary In The Mine

H/T Lepercolonist for this from West Virginia:

NEW CUMBERLAND – Despite emotional, last-minute pleas from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort employees, the Hancock County health board on Tuesday unanimously approved an indoor, countywide smoking ban with no exemptions for gaming facilities.

The long-anticipated action makes Hancock County the 29th county in West Virginia to adopt a comprehensive Clean Air Regulation that bans smoking in all indoor public places and places of employment.

For months, the policy under consideration by the five-member board has divided the county – between people who say they don’t want to be exposed to secondhand smoke and people who say the regulation will drive out-of-state smokers away from Mountaineer and other gaming destinations.

The debate also has been intensely watched at the state level, bringing out anti-tobacco activists and supporters of the state’s gaming industry.

In the end, health board members said their chief aim, the promotion of public health, will be good for the Hancock County economy.

The regulation, which takes effect on July 1, 2015, bans smoking in all restaurants, gaming facilities, private clubs, sports arenas, places of employment and concert venues, as well as certain outdoor public places.

“Change is a hard thing,” health board member Phil Rujak said, “but everyone will adapt.”

Rujak, who made the motion to adopt the policy, said he has “great confidence” that Mountaineer and other smoking ban opponents will be able to adjust. “Those people are smart business people. They have the ability and the know-how to make things work,” he said.

Well, Mr Rujak, if I lived in West Virginia’s Hancock County, I wouldn’t “adapt”. I’d simply stop going to restaurants, casinos, clubs, sports arenas, and concerts. And maybe certain outdoor public places as well. I’d stay home, and meet up with my smoking friends in their homes. And if 20% of Hancock County’s residents are smokers, and they all do the same as I would, then that’s 20% of those places’ customers lost. Maybe more.

And what’s this about “Those people are smart business people. They have the ability and the know-how to make things work”? How do they “make things work” when a fifth or a quarter of their customers have gone, and they have no way to win them back?

In the UK, pubs have “adapted” by effectively ceasing to be bars, and becoming restaurants. But something like 15% of them have closed since the UK smoking ban was introduced in 2007.

Of the five casinos in West Virginia, only the Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes near Charleston prohibit smoking. The latter is the result of stricter smoking regulations adopted by Kanawha County in 2008, said Christina Mickey, project coordinator for the Smoke-Free Initiative of West Virginia.

Elsewhere in the state – at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack – stricter smoking regulations adopted by Jefferson County in 2004 and Ohio County in 2005 have exemptions for gaming facilities.

But Mickey said the trend in the state is toward the kind of action taken Tuesday by the Hancock County health board.

“In the past five or six years, we haven’t seen a board of health that has gone back to revisit regulations make any exemptions. This (Hancock County) regulation is very consistent with what other boards are passing,” she said.

“West Virginia boards of health are following the same national trend, which is going back and removing any exemptions where workers and the public are exposed (to secondhand smoke),” Mickey said. “With the addition of Hancock County’s regulation, that will be three of the five casinos that will be smoke-free.”

Mickey said the mentality of some smoking ban opponents that “the sky is falling” is unwarranted and unsupported by the evidence.

“It’s more how the business owner accepts and transitions to a status of a smoke-free environment, and makes the most of this change, that impacts their business,” she said.

Well, actually, Ms Mickey, for some people the sky really is falling. And if you don’t know it, it’s because you’re looking at the wrong evidence.

Apart from shattering communities, smoking bans also hobble businesses. And it’s not just the bars and restaurants that will suffer. There’ll be a downturn in all business. People will go out less, travel less, shop less. They’ll buy fewer clothes, shoes. They’ll buy less of everything in Hancock County. They’ll spend their money in other counties or states where they’re still welcome.

Antismoking zealots seem to think that life will carry on as normal, only “smoke-free”, as everyone gets used to the change. But it won’t, because they won’t.

I seem to remember that during the US Prohibition era, Canada and Mexico and Cuba did very well from American tourists flocking to their bars and night-clubs. And 100 years on, Americans are far more mobile than they were back then. For the more that smoking is prohibited in the USA, the greater the incentive for adjoining countries to provide a haven for smokers. There’ll be a lot of money in it. There probably already is.

The same will apply inside the USA, because of the piecemeal nature of smoking bans. There’ll be smoke-free states, and smoker-friendly states. And smoke-free counties, and smoker-friendly counties. And the more smoke-free some states become, the greater the incentive there’ll be for other states to remain smoker-friendly, because their economies will boom.

And the longer it goes on, the more likely smokers in smoke-free states and counties will be to up sticks and move to a smoker-friendly state or county. And the more likely antismokers will do the opposite. And the more smokers there are in smoker-friendly states and counties, the more they’ll make darn sure that their Boards of Health don’t get taken over by antismokers. The USA will become a checkerboad of smoker-friendly or smoke-free states and counties.

Eventually all the smokers will have moved to smoker-friendly states and counties. And all the antismokers will have moved to smoker-free states and counties. And in the easy-going smoker-friendly states, it’ll be much easier for new businesses to start and prosper. And in the smoker-free ones, it’ll be much harder, due to their restrictive regulations.

And as the smoker-friendly states and counties prospered, the smoker-free states and counties would decline. Businesses would move out. House prices would fall. Unemployment would rise. So would crime.

Smokers are the canary in the mine. If they don’t prosper, nothing prospers.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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14 Responses to The Canary In The Mine

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    I agree, smokers are the canary in the mine. Smokers will exercise choice and take their business to smoke friendly locations while they exist. That has been the case throughout the US. In California when smoking in restaurants bars was restricted, smokers started going to bars and restaurants with smoking patios. When some cities banned smoking at outdoor dining locations, the smokers went to eat in adjacent jurisdictions.

    The problem is this moving very fast. As I write, there is pending legislation in New Orleans (NOLA) to ban smoking in bars, casinos and essentially all outdoor areas too. The bans outdoors cover virtually all of the tourist destinations. (See: “New Orleans mulls a smoke ban in public places,” http://www.iberianet.com/news/new-orleans-considering-a-smoking-ban-in-public-places/article_b1c2f39a-771d-11e4-ae74-5f7046b1f3d7.html .) A very good op-ed challenging the NOLA ban is found at “Owen Courreges: Should New Orleans become the model city for anti-smoking extremism?” http://uptownmessenger.com/2014/11/owen-courreges-should-new-orleans-become-the-model-city-for-anti-smoking-extremism/ .

    Almost all of the Tobacco Control justifications for bans claim there is no impact on business and the bars and restaurants will adjust. The untold truth, some adjust, many more don’t. Bars in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii and just about everywhere–just like pubs in the UK–have closed or are running at losses, unable to gain that magic non-smoking trade. I myself plan business meetings in cities where I can smoke. Hopefully that means indoors, but certainly at least outdoors. (Although outdoor bans are all the rage in the US and Canada, not only at bars, restaurants, and coffee shops like Starbucks, but also at beaches, parks, universities, and entire downtown districts.)

    When the ability to move to another location is gone, businesses in all jurisdictions will suffer. Smokers are being exiled from the commons. Dissent isn’t welcome, public comments are eschewed lest the ‘rabble’ get in the way of the technocrat seeking to eliminate ‘lifestyle’ diseases.

    Organized crime will fill the void. They already are. The prohibitionists decried early assertions from the smoking community that organized crime would get into the tobacco business (which has been the case for smuggling for decades) because that didn’t jive with their goal of eradicating smoking. Of course the illicit market for cigarettes grew. It will do so for places to smoke too.

    This is a really bad trend…

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    Another fine article, Frank. In my social circle there are 4 couples that frequent Moutaineer in Hancock county. All have at least one smoker. We often stay overnight for the weekend at the Mountaineer Hotel. We bet horses, play blackjack, craps, roulette and slots. We buy tickets for the entertainment acts. All our meals are in Mountaineer restaurants. We are not going back to Hancock County if they fail to amend this draconian smoke ban. We will be heading to Pennsylvania for the Rivers Casino and Resort where smoking is allowed.
    I used to bring my children and grandchildren to Mountaineer to watch the horse races. We would sit on the picnic tables on the paved track apron. I would smoke cigarettes and have a few beers. We had a great time. Under this smoke ban, there will be no smoking outside on the track apron. When they ask why they can’t go see the horses, my response will be that our family is no longer welcome at Mountaineer.

  3. “Change is a hard thing,” health board member Phil Rujak said, “but everyone will adapt.”

    I picked out this bit yesterday. It’s like something an SS officer would have come out with. You can imagine the German accent and click of the heels.

    I have also been commenting recently that these control freaks are psychopaths as they have no empathy, lack remorse, are compulsive liars, have a grandiose sense of self-worth, are manipulative and… have a parasitic lifestyle.

    Look at the clues here…

    The “emotional, last-minute pleas,” were totally dismissed. Because psychos don’t care if businesses go under and people lose their jobs. I have read that the worst psychopaths consider people to be mere objects who can be destroyed without concern.

    These decisions (correct me if I’m wrong) often come from unelected ‘boards’ which clearly attract the same kind of ‘personality’… “The long-anticipated action makes Hancock County the 29th county in West Virginia to adopt a comprehensive Clean Air Regulation that bans smoking in all indoor public places and places of employment.”

    “In the end, health board members said their chief aim, the promotion of public health, will be good for the Hancock County economy,” is either delusional or perhaps more likely an example of compulsive lying. Their manipulative “parasitical lifestyle” from which they derive their self-worth relies on smoking bans being introduced and the more hurtful the better from their perspective.

    “Rujak, who made the motion to adopt the policy, said he has “great confidence” that Mountaineer and other smoking ban opponents will be able to adjust.”

    More of that compulsive, manipulative lying.

    “In the past five or six years, we haven’t seen a board of health that has gone back to revisit regulations make any exemptions.”

    He doesn’t understand the mindset of the people he’s dealing with and that’s the problem. We assume that others see the world largely as we do, but not so with psychopaths. They don’t revisit because they simply don’t care. They get their kicks from being manipulative and getting their own way to fulfil their self-esteem.

    “Mickey said the mentality of some smoking ban opponents that “the sky is falling” is unwarranted and unsupported by the evidence.”

    “Mickey” is Christina Mickey, not a friendly first name diminutive form of ‘Michael’! Again, we either see more lying or lack of empathy. Clearly, if they actually looked at evidence from the UK, for example, they would see the social and economic damage of smoking bans. But why not just tell another lie if you can get away with it and have no guilt?

    ““It’s more how the business owner accepts and transitions to a status of a smoke-free environment, and makes the most of this change, that impacts their business,” she said.”

    This demonstrates another symptom of psychopathy: deflecting blame away from themselves. If the business fails given these ‘new smoke-free opportunities’ (or however they phrase the lie) it’s the fault of the owner(s).

    If the citizens of these counties and states move away because of this and the inevitable tax increases, unemployment and rising crime, just maybe the elected representatives will be held to account and reverse or at least relax the bans. Just maybe.

  4. carol2000 says:

    This is about the worst economic analysis I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t you realize that the wealthy anti-smokers are the only ones whose well-being matters (to politicians) nowadays? Not the working/middle classes in general, and certainly not smokers in particular. Their vision for society is that of the Third World, where rich people live in gated communities surrounded by impoverished masses. And as Jay Gould said, they can just hire one half of the masses to kill the other half, if they get uppity.

  5. jltrader says:

    Even as early as 1957 those who were advocating the smoking-lung cancer causal relationship were described as having an ‘almost evangelical attitude’ ,ignoring everything that didn’t support their theory. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ceq59b00/pdf. That’s good to know, as I previously thought that the ‘evangelists’ joined the bandwagon in the late ’70s.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Ive been to mountaineer Race track and most of the dives up that way when I worked at the quaker state oil factory in Weirton WV.

    Its a nice place and most of the taverns and pubs in the area up the bottleneck. At least it was back in 1995-2004 when I was floating that way around Pittsburgh and outlying areas………Inlaws was thare!

    I fought the Nazis on the local news groups that ran it and as always they just ran away and didn’t even bother to say much after we showed up………The same at WVU when we nailed them on the school comments board over that ban……….It cant last they know it we know it and really nobody is even worried about it. In Nashville at Vanderbilt university hospital they try and enforce it but to not much avail……………Doctors and nurses openly smoking right in front of the building and even the loading docks……….Finally somebody gets it and says fuck it all. Repeal it all!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    China smoking cessation aids market to see boost as Beijing introduces harsh ban on indoor …

    Companiesandmarkets.com

    On Friday, Beijing announced a new ban on smoking in indoor spaces to come into effect in June 2015 which is sure to drive demand for cessation …

    lmao who has been dumping money in china for pharma besides pharma themselves like that half a billion dollar fine phizer just paid for bribing Chinese officials and others………….lol

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Plain packaging on cigarettes: Where does it all end?

    Telegraph.co.uk

    On Monday night, while Britain was sleeping, Australia rolled over into the second anniversary of its ban on cigarette branding. Daily smoking rates …

  9. Rose says:

    Entirely OT

    I posted this article on Junican’s blog the other day while he was asking about the health benefits of smoking.

    The Miracle Medicinal Herb 2012

    “A medical student claims to have cured himself of a debilitating disease by taking up smoking.
    Formerly a non-smoker, Stephen Pendry, 23, struggled with crippling pain, tiredness, shortness of breath and dehydration since he was diagnosed with bowel disease ulcerative colitis four years ago.
    He had to rush to the toilet up to 15 times a day but is now completely symptom-free, thanks to a new four-a-day cigarette habit.

    All coupled with the chappie’s thrilled face as he is about to light up.

    He said: ‘Smoking was my last option. I didn’t really want to wear a colostomy bag at the age of 23.”

    “Dr Sean Kelly, Consultant Gastroenterologist at York Hospital, who has written on the subject in the British Medical Journal, said: ‘It is a well-established medical fact that smoking protects against ulcerative colitis.”

    “Around 20 years ago there was a lot of interest in using nicotine patches to treat ulcerative colitis, but the research was not terribly effective.’
    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-miracle-medicinal-herb.html

    Which unsurprisingly, it wasn’t

    Nicotine: does it have a role in the treatment of ulcerative colitis? – 1997

    “Overall, investigation of nicotine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis has yielded disappointing results.
    CONCLUSION: Nicotine cannot be recommended as adjunctive or single therapy for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and will not alter current treatment options.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10423604

    Though in Dick’s article one of the proponents of patches still insisted it was.

    “Martin Dockrell, Director of Research and Policy at charity Action on Smoking and Health said: ‘The evidence doesn’t come from smoking, it comes from nicotine.
    ‘There are ways of getting safe pharmacological nicotine in patches. We advise talking to a doctor about the benefits of going on nicotine replacement therapy.”

    Ulcerative Colitis is a disease of non-smokers and ex-smokers, and it occurred to me that since that article in 2012, the number of vapers who had stopped smoking entirely and inhaling nicotine only must have increased dramatically and as mass human experiment is the only real way to verify theories, I wondered this morning if anything was showing up so far.

    Anyone else get Ulcerative Colitis after switching to vaping?
    http: //www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/canada-forum/429280-anyone-else-get-ulcerative-colitis-after-switching-vaping.html

    Ulcerative Colitis and Vaping
    “A couple of years prior to my diagnosis I was a smoker, I had smoked for the best part of 20 years.”
    http: //ucvaping.blogspot.co.uk/

    E-cigs NOT helping my daughter with ulcerative colitis, don’t understand
    “I had the same thing happen to me after 7 months of vaping. Nothing the Dr tried seemed to help in the long term. I started smoking again 3 or 4 a day and haven’t had much issues for over a year. It sucks. The Dr’s clueless but there’s something else in cigarettes it seems other than nicotine that helps.”
    http: //www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/health-safety-vaping/382138-e-cigs-not-helping-my-daughter-ulcerative-colitis-dont-understand.html

    “About 6 months after I had initially quit, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

    The wheels came off at the beginning of the year. I can make any excuse under the sun way I started again, but the simple truth was I just wanted too. I don’t understand it and after about a month I was already regretting it. I tried to quit a couple of times again, cold turkey same as last time. I knew patches didn’t work as I had tried them in the past.

    Roughly 3 months into my stupidity, I noticed that all my symptoms had gone. Nothing at all. I did some research and found that nicotine was thought to have a positive effect on ulcerative colitis. So I tested this by staying of the smokes for a period of time. 2 days was as far as I got and the symptoms returned with a vengeance. I had a couple of smokes that night and the symptoms were gone by the morning.”
    http: //kiwivapers.freeforums.org/converted-yes-worried-yes-t721.html

    Carbon Monoxide Soothes Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    “Doctors have long known that smokers rarely suffer from a common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) called ulcerative colitis, but they didn’t know why. A new study in the Dec. 19 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine might help explain this apparent resistance. Scott Plevy, M.D., and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh found that carbon monoxide (CO), a component of cigarette smoke, helps shut down the intestinal inflammation that causes ulcerative colitis.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103084934.htm

    Carbon monoxide plays role in orchestrating digestive tract function

    Tuesday, June 17, 2003

    “WASHINGTON — The deadly gas carbon monoxide, which kills hundreds of people annually, has a secret life inside the body as a chemical messenger that is essential for good health, a study reported yesterday.

    Only one other gas, nitric oxide, which also is toxic in the outside world, is known to pass along the innermost biochemical whispers that signal structures in the body to work properly.”

    “Farrugia and an associate, Dr. Joseph Szurszewski, headed the study, which focused on carbon monoxide’s role in orchestrating movements of muscles in the digestive system. The results were published in the prestigious journal of the National Academy of Sciences, which is based in Washington and advises the federal government on science and technology.

    They showed that cells in the digestive system manufacture tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, which then regulates muscle contractions. The contractions occur with great precision to properly move food ahead through the stomach and intestines.”
    http: //old.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20030617carbon0617p3.asp

    Research to spotlight carbon monoxide benefits – 2007

    “Dr Jason Lynam and Dr Ian Fairlamb, of the University’s Department of Chemistry, have been awarded the funding by the Leverhulme Trust for a three-year study into the use of metal compounds for the controlled release of carbon monoxide into the bloodstream.

    Carbon monoxide is an anti-inflammatory, and they want to explore its potential in treating high blood pressure, heart disease and possibly cancer.”
    http: //www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2007/carbonmonoxide/

    Perhaps they better hurry up with those carbon monoxide releasing pills.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    Rujak, who made the motion to adopt the policy, said he has “great confidence” that Mountaineer and other smoking ban opponents will be able to adjust.
    Yep. They will stop spending and stay at home instead. The gaming places will lose out and employees will lose their jobs.

    “Those people are smart business people. They have the ability and the know-how to make things work,” he said.
    Just like everyone else.

    Apart from shattering communities, smoking bans also hobble businesses. And it’s not just the bars and restaurants that will suffer. There’ll be a downturn in all business. People will go out less, travel less, shop less. They’ll buy fewer clothes, shoes. They’ll buy less of everything in Hancock County. They’ll spend their money in other counties or states where they’re still welcome.
    Indeed. I am one of the many who no longer go out to local pubs/restaurants/cinemas. Even Christmas shopping has been moved to out of this country. Being exiled to the outdoors has this side effect.

    Eventually all the smokers will have moved to smoker-friendly states and counties. And all the antismokers will have moved to smoker-free states and counties.
    Counties and countries – the citizens of the smoker-friendly counties/countries will be happier people. Happy, content people are a lot healthier than unhappy, worried people.

    And as the smoker-friendly states and counties prospered, the smoker-free states and counties would decline. Businesses would move out. House prices would fall. Unemployment would rise. So would crime.
    By now we know that anti-smokers do not go out often. I do remember this: “all the ‘poor non-smokers’ who never went out because of ‘all the smoke everywhere’ “. By now they had PLENTY of opportunity to go out – and I am still waiting to see the swarm. The truth: there are only a few anti-smokers. They are very busy spreading lies to those in power. The latter then are surprised to find out that smokers vote for someone else.

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