Greedy Blog

Friday, June 06, 2003



 
Hooray!!! The Austin smoking ban passed.

I'm as anti-regulation as it gets, but I really like this. Mostly, my opinion is based on empirical evidence (Tempe, LA, San Diego).

Continuing my string of crappy analogies: Imagine if there was a device that made you fart immediately, but that feels good (relieving tension or whatever). The problem is, it smells like shit. Sure, people have a right to fart, and these devices aren't illegal or anything. However, people should not be subjected to shit-smell in public. Perhaps in the restroom, where it is to be expected, but not next to the dinner table. Now imagine that fart smell lingering on clothing until washed (I haven't found Fabreeze to work very well). Now imagine that the methane, CS2, or whatever gas it contains may cause cancer. Outlawing the Auto-Farter in enclosed places doesn't seem too far-fetched, so neither should banning indoor smoking.

Something I find odd is that people put up with bans on smoking in airplanes, libraries, shopping malls, places of business, etc. I don't think it annoys anyone any less just because it is in a bar.

Economics
The anti-banners point to Tempe as a case-study for the dangers of such a ban. However, they ignore the simple fact that this is Austin.
First and foremost, there is no Scottsdale to compete with. Are people really going to flood to smoker-friendly Round Rock bars? Doubtful.
Next, Mill Avenue is pathetic compared to downtown Austin. Imagine 4th Street divided by 2. Now take away any personality whatsoever. That's Tempe bars, and that's why it is so easy to flock to other suburbs, especially when connected by largely uncongested freeways (as opposed to a few congested surface streets).
Third, Austin has unparalleled music venues. A large component of nightlife is seeing live bands. This is somewhat of a repeat of the first argument, but Round Rock (et al.) can't suddenly build 100 venues. Even if they were able to, would anyone go?
Lastly, this ignores the fact that many people may not have gone to bars because of the smoking. If asked whether someone would be more or less likely to go to a place if it smells bad and looks hazy, I'm guessing that most people would say "more". This must be asked to mask the smoking issue. Perhaps using an Auto-Farter analogy.

Posted by Gel 1:25 PM Post a Comment

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