Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, has a smoking ban like many of the states in the union have to one degree or another. In 2007, the District banned smoking in bars, restaurants, and other public places. But it seems that if you are a member of the City Council, you can get a one-day waiver for your organization. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick holds an annual boxing event to raise money for charity, and one of the traditions for the event is cigar smoking. So Jack Evans, a city councilman representing Ward 2 and a member of the Friendly Sons, asked his colleagues for a one-day waiver for their event.
Now, there are a couple of ways to look at it. First, there is the optimistic outlook. Any kind of reprieve in the smoking ban is a small victory, and should be counted as such. People want to smoke, they get the opportunity.
The second way is that it just shows what a farce smoking bans are to begin with. They are put in place, supposedly, to protect non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke, and to potentially keep smokers from consuming quite so many cigars, cigarettes, and pipes. All they do is keep adults from exercising their choice to use a legal product, and in the process financially harm the owners of small bars and restaurants. Just look at all the exemptions across the nation for large businesses, primarily casinos. You can sit at a slot machine or a blackjack table, and smoke all you want, because you’re filling state tax coffers and the pockets of businesses that donate heavily to politicians. But if you want to have a cigar while you sip on a drink at your local watering hole, you’re out of luck.
Smoking bans are but a simple fraud perpetrated upon the public. They are enacted to ease the minds of non-smokers, and are filled with enough loopholes to make a fishing net seem solid by comparison. The ability to allow or disallow smoking should be the decision of the business or organization. Plenty of them would keep the bans in place, but an almost equal number would lift them I feel. Consumers would have a choice of where to go, as would potential employees who don’t want to be exposed to second hand smoke. My wife and her friends, for example, would rather go to a non-smoking bar because they don’t like coming home and having their hair and clothes smelling like smoke. Plenty of bars and restaurants would happily keep bans in place for people like this. And plenty of others would lift it to get smokers in their doors.
But if all else fails, just join an organization with a Supreme Court Justice, governors, or congressmen and get them to make a phone call. You’ll be lighting up in no time.
(If you don’t have that kind of cache, joining Cigar Rights of America is a good alternative.)