Yesterday—Friday—at about 5:30 we walked down to Broad Ripple. A few months ago, and especially before June 1, that was a time of day on a specific day of the week when the bars would be bustling. The week was over, the workday had ended, and people would be out to blow off steam. The sidewalks would be a bit crowded as people went from place-to-place.
Yesterday’s weather was beautiful. The high reached 76 or 78 degrees. One would expect people to be out in droves.
Several of the bars we passed were nearly empty. Kilroy’s had several people sitting outside and not a bad crowd inside. The other bars on the Avenue appeared vacant.
Meanwhile this week, the Town Council in Beech Grove voted down a smoking ban in bars. Several of the town’s bar owners influenced their elected representatives to vote down the proposal that would have eliminated smoking in the confines of drinking establishments whose owners choose to allow customers to smoke.
Several bar owners argued they were making so much money from smoking patrons who had left Indianapolis to go to bars that allow smoking, that those Beech Grove bar owners could not afford the change of law.
Supporters of the smoking ban are hypocrites. Any one of them who drives a car is responsible for the same amount of air effluent as 22 million cigarettes. If those supporters are so concerned about Indy’s clean air, they should walk.
The focus of the ban is on the effects so-called second-hand smoke on adult employees of those bars. Children (people under 21 years of age) are not allowed in the bars. Any adult who entered these establishments did so of her or his volition. The signs advised that an establishment allowed smoking. Patrons and owners were there voluntarily. That means the employees had "no choice."
Well, the employees had a choice. The courts have ruled, in the context of compulsory urine screens, an employee has no proprietary interest in a job. If that is so, then those employees who do not smoke—and many employees of the bars that allowed smoking smoke—can seek employment elsewhere.
The ordinance is based on "junk science." Studies that have determined second-hand smoke causes harm fail standards for epidemiological studies. There are corporations that make a lot of money from the fight against tobacco. Some of their shareholders probably held shares in RJR. Johnson & Johnson has put money into lobbying for these smoking ban ordinances
I have been to a bar, to consume alcoholic beverages, once since the ban took effect on June 1. I would go to Beech Grove, but the cab fare is rather high.
The ordinance should be repealed.
btw: We will shoot The Show tomorrow and discuss the proposed ordinance that would bestow benefits on domestic partners of City employees.