Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here's a little essay titled, "Wes Thinks KC Should be SMOKE FREE"

Just flew back into town from Chicago a few hours ago. Drank my way through the city in their nearly smoke free bars and restaurants. (LOVED the Goose Island brewery in Wrigleyville, by the way!) I say nearly smoke free because their city-wide smoking ban does not go into effect until January 1. Why is Kansas City so reluctant to put this issue to a vote here? I for one can't stand being forced to breathe in toxic air while in public buildings! There is something so 1970's about it; why are we so behind the times? Bitch at me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure most of the readers of this blog will concur with my comments on this topic--as per the poll results on the left.

Do you hate having your clothes reek of secondary smoke after an evening or night out on the town? Just means more laundry. If we had a smoking ban in place, we could not only save money on health care costs city-wide, but we could save WATER by not having to wash our clothes the second we get home. I know…you think I'm gross, not wanting to wash my clothes. But come on, I'm sure you wear your jeans a couple or three (or eight -- you know who you are) times before throwing them in the washer. My point is, and I love being up on this little soap box right now, that smokers should be forced to take it outside and not make the healthy majority of us share their bad habit along with them. It's disgusting, and it makes your teeth yellow…

Here's a beautiful illustration: Once a friend from Florida visited and was shocked when he learned that you can choose "smoking" or "non-smoking" in KC restaurants. He wasn't sure what was being asked of him, because in the Tampa area, they do not allow smoking in public spaces (as of 2003). He thought it quite queer. He chose "non-smoking" because the other option most simply horrified him.

Here are my top ten reasons why I hate smoke in restaurants and bars:

  1. It makes for more friggin' laundry. I love to go out, but I HATE all the extra and unnecessary laundry that comes along with it. I mean, my GOD! Have you ever BEEN to the KC casinos? ONE-POINT-FOUR seconds in any one of them, and you've already smoked a pack and a half yourself! And your clothes are practically tarnished in soot.
  2. Spontaneous combustion. Secondary smoke forces healthy lungs to go black and wither and DIE almost instantaneously. Smokey the Bear would be ALARMED!
  3. It's rude! I hate it when you have to get up and move to another table or spot at the bar when someone's smoke trail is blowing directly into your face. Your eyes turn red and you gag and cough. The coughs turn into dry heaves. It's ugly.
  4. It hypothetically increases health care costs (when you look at all of the secondary smoke "users" nation-wide). I guesstimate we can save more than $14 trillion per year by eliminating smoking in public spaces. And that's a lot. We could turn around and buy all the smokers annual supplies of Nicorette with a windfall like that, and in essence, ELIMINATE the need for health care altogether!
  5. It's the main cause of global warming. For evidence of this just LOOK at the glaciers. New York, New Orleans, Florida, and Venice in Italy will all be lost to the seas shortly because of the smokers. Yes, I blame them -- mostly.
  6. It's giving us all CANCER -- or at least bad smelling hair and clothes (which is JUST as bad)!
  7. The only things smokin' that should be allowed into bars/restaurants are "smokin' hot people!" Like Paris and Nicole. (Unless they smoke, then they should not be allowed in.)
  8. If you re-arrange the word smoking, you can spell "Mo Kings." Not sure where I'm going with this one, but went there anyway.
  9. Smoked meat (of any kind) is fantablous. That should be allowed to stay in bars along with the smokin' hot people.
  10. If smokers are allowed to continue polluting indoor air, why don't they force bars/restaurants to build "airport smoke chambers" so everyone can smoke inside a big glass box and we can watch them from the safety of the fresh air outside? If you haven't seen these creepy death boxes, fly out to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. Yep, brings a whole new meaning to airport "terminal…"

So, I know it's a hot issue (no pun intended) but it is really a pet peeve of mine to have to literally swim into a restaurant, bar or other entertainment venue, using my machete to slice my way through the thick clouds of smoke. It should not be this unenjoyable to go out and spend an evening with friends.

Ok, just some of my personal opinions. NOW, you can hammer me with your comments. I'm tough. I can take them. I do, after all, have thick, nasty, leathery skin from all this secondary smokin' I've done. Dish it out. I can take it!


Wes Port

If you're curious where our country stands on the topic of banning smoking in public spaces, visit this link:


  1. From a consumer standpoint, I would love for more bars to be smoke free.

    From a personal freedom standpoint, I think bar owners should have the right to determine whether or not they allow people to smoke in their own restaurant.

    For the life of me, I can't figure out how it is that the majority of people strongly favor non-smoking bars and restaurants, and yet there aren't more non-smoking options voluntarily available.

    I have a hard time seeing how KC is going to pass this. I think the very rich and powerful casino lobby will make it very difficult to pass in all public places...but it will be complete and utter BS (even more so than the law is in general) to single out casinos as exempt but everyone else has to go non-smoking.

    Bottom line, if everyone who favored non-smoking bars and restaurants would dedicate 2-3 months of their lives to just going to non-smoking places, more places would see the lines out the doors of the non-smoking bars and follow suit....which would solve the problem with consumer demand instead of placing further mandates on what people do in privately owned businesses.

  2. I agree and I used to smoke. I don't mind a slight scent of smoke,it doesn't cause any cravings,but last time I was at the boat was probably my last time ever because it smelled like an ashtray. Last week I met a friend in Chicago who I haven't seen for 15 years and I had to step back and take a breath because she is a chain-smoker. There are plenty of places to go to that are non-smoking and that's where my business is going. But it's a free country and cigarettes are legal so it's not my business to tell other people what to do...

  3. Great post!! Thank you!

    I agree with Brent that there is a serious market failure which causes the intelligent and well-mannered among us to get stuck with inconsiderate a-holes smoking next to us in bars. Isn't it wonderful that we live in a democracy, so we can have the wishes and health of the majority be peacefully elevated over the self-centered and repulsive habits of the obnoxious few?

  4. Minnesota recently enacted a state wide smoking ban (Tribal casinos are exempt)and it's fantastic. Most bars have patios now - with requisite heaters strategically placed during the colder months - and the smokers go out there to get their fix. If it can work here where it's cold 6 months out of the year, it can work anywhere.

  5. What really bugs me is the callous, mean-spirited dialogue around this issue (this illustrious post excluded). 90% of smokers want to stop. Most of them feel guilty for what they are doing to their bodies. Most of them are extremely careful about bothering nonsmokers before lighting up. Raising cig taxes, banning smoking everywhere, and publicly berating them is not the answer. Anti-smokers mistakenly cast this as a public health issue. Pro-smokers mistakenly cast it as 'it's a free country,' but it's really about whether we can tolerate weakness and vice among others in our community. Why can't we have some places that allow smoking and plenty of others that don't? If I can put up with your leashless pit bull and misbehaving child why can't I smoke a cigarrette in a totally separate room from you in a bar/restaurant?

  6. I had a guest recently that took a smoke break outside. Put her butt out and tossed it in the trash. The next morning the kitchen reeked of that one butt.

    This is a tough one, smokers should be free to smoke, but I should be free to not smell like a pack of camels after a visit to a bar.

    Part of me wants to say it's a free country, let business owners decide. That part of me also knows that ALL businesses will allow smoking.

    Another part of me is just tired of the stink and the coughing.

    I don't think it's very "American" to ban smoking, but on this issue I guess I don't really care, call me a hypocrite...

    Or maybe you "could" call the whole health issue into it, especially considering smoking seems to bre prevalant in bars (booze is healthy?) and restaurants, that, even if they are upper crust, are probably not serving the healthiest of fare.

    Eh, I don't care, it stinks. If we ban it everywhere smokers will have no choice but to frequent the same bars they are used to going to. And I don't have to be forced to stink.