Non-Smoking Nonsense

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Posted September 27, 2006 by Last Call in Clubs

Fort Worth is getting closer to instituting a ban on smoking in bars, the last places on Earth where future lung cancer casualties can partake of their addiction and not feel like criminals. Even the Dallas ban doesn’t affect bars. Sheesh.

Agreed, smoking bans do help smokers cut back if not stop completely. And, yes, bar patios (as of now) won’t be affected by the ban. Still, we’ve all heard the old saying, “You can’t legislate common sense.” Well, why do the Morality Police continue trying to dictate what we can and can’t do with our bodies? Smokers know the habit is addictive and, over time, can kill. What they choose to do to their bodies, as long as it’s not injurious to other folks, is nobody else’s business, least of the all the government’s.

The Morality Police think they have a good rebuttal. They say they’re also worried about the deleterious impact of second-hand smoke on bar employees and non-smoking patrons. In rebuttal to their rebuttal, I say there’s strong evidence to the contrary. Chances that anyone is going to get lung cancer from hanging out or working in environments where people smoke are virtually zero, according to the independent studies cited in For Your Own Good: The Myths of the Anti-Smoking Movement and the Tyranny of Public Health by Jacob Sullum. Based on one estimate, the author claims, “A non-smoking woman who lives with a smoker faces an additional lung cancer risk of 6.5 in 10,000, which would raise her lifetime risk from about 0.34 percent to about 0.41 percent.” (The New York Times called his book “meticulously logical. … fair and balanced.”)

Jeff McKenney, general manager of City Vending, a local company that leases real estate, billiard tables, jukeboxes, and more to local clubs, recently put together an ad hoc steering committee made up solely of local club owners and conducted an informal survey. Of 1,138 total participants, 1.5 percent was in favor of a more restrictive non-smoking policy in bars. Against: 98.5 percent.

Earlier this year, the city’s Public Health Department conducted a similar, more probing survey. Nearly 55 percent of all respondents are against a more restrictive change in non-smoking policy in bars. In restaurants, more restrictions. In bars, no.

That the ban is moving forward in opposition to public opinion may have something to do with the city’s steering committee. There are 19 members: Eight city council members, three chambers of commerce representatives, four representatives of nonprofit anti-smoking groups, and four members of Fort Worth’s nightlife community. Three own bar/restaurants. Only one owns a bar bar.

To put it simply: The city has bigger fish to fry (homelessness, recidivism, illiteracy, sprawl, drop-out rates, crime), and the less government intrudes on our happy hours, the more happy we’ll all be, politicians included.

Smoking Nonsense

Last Call would like to extend warm-hearted congratulations to a young lady from Firewater in Dallas who recently won the Pulitzer Prize of looking good as a night club employee, SmokingHotWaitresses.com’s Waitress of the Month. The mononymic Crystal is featured in a pictorial on the web site, and by the looks of her, you gotta wonder why she didn’t win the vaunted prize sooner. Think of all those hours in the gym, all that money spent on skimpy clothing, and all those inane conversations with stupid, drunk men. Not to mention all of the countless male authority figures (teachers, coaches, bosses) who, during her formative years, let her cruise. Nobody ever thanks the dumb males who by nurturing attractive young women’s sense of entitlement rather than their intellects keep enabling generations of, well, smoking-hot waitresses. (The attractive female’s analog is the male athlete – he doesn’t even have to show up to class, and he gets straight A’s!)

Frankly, SmokingHotWaitresses.com’s gross oversight of Crystal is possibly rivaled only by the Nobel Prize committee’s never citing Eudora Welty for literature. Crystal, you’re our Ms. September – 365 days a year. Visit www.smokinghotwaitresses.com.

Contact Last Call at lastcall@fwweekly.com.


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