Austin Smoking Ban Passes
The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation--from New York City to San Antonio--has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed threat of "second-hand" smoke. Indeed, the bans themselves are symptoms of a far more grievous threat, a cancer that has been spreading for decades and has now metastasized throughout the body politic, spreading even to the tiniest organs of local government.
This cancer is the only real hazard involved--the cancer of unlimited government power.
The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom menace, as a study published recently in the British Medical Journal indicates. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper reaction? Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating people about the potential danger and allowing them to make their own decisions--or should they seize the power of government and force people to make the "right" decision?
We know what choice the Tobacco-Free Austin Coalition made. I am disgusted.
This law completely disrespects private property rights and sticks a thumb in the eye of the idea that each person is responsible for their own actions. At a time of economic distress, it seems unreal the City Council would attempt to stifle the nightclub market with regulation like this. This is a bad idea and I hope Wynn et al overturns it down the road.
It seems there is a distinct "this is a bad law" tilt in the comments.
How the city plans to enforce this:
The ban will be enforced on a complaint basis, handled by Health and Human Services.
Any person caught violating the ban can be fined up to $2,000 and an establishment could have its operating license revoked.
Good news: the Austin Smoking Task Force Report is in and it's definitely worth your read.
The ban, initially scheduled to take affect on May 1st, has been posponed:
The city of Austin's new smoking ordinance will likely be postponed a month until June 1. The main reason is to give restaurants more time to show they've improved their air quality.
Dan McClusky's owner Steve Batlin lucked out. His restaurant has always had a separate room for non-smokers and smokers.
"I really don't think it's necessary. I'm a non-smoker myself. I think it's coming," Batlin said.
The new smoking ordinance is coming, but now it may be one month later. Before they get a smoking permit, restaurants must show they have dual ventilation systems. Lots of business owners installed them to meet the previous ordinance, but the city didn't keep a list.
Copyright ©2004TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin
Austin Smoking Ban in Effect Today
UPDATED 5/9/2005 9:12am
The Additional Tyranny - The New Austin Smoking Ban Passes
UPDATED 8/30/2005 1:52pm
Deadline for the Austin Smoking Ordinance