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Stogie News: Defense of Property, Defiance of Smoking Bans

27 Mar 2008

It should come as no surprise to regular StogieGuys.com readers that government-mandated smoking bans and the anti-tobacco zealots who advocate them get no sympathy here. We’ve made no secret of the fact that such invasive bans limit choice, violate private property, and are justified only by shoddy “science.”

Cigar and DrinksSo when I come across interesting stories about bar owners who either outright defy or creatively sidestep smoking bans, I have to applaud them. These entrepreneurs are rightfully taking steps to regain control of the establishments they risked so much for and worked so hard to open – much to the chagrin of bureaucrats and tobacco-hating buffoons. Below are three of my favorite smoking ban defiance stories from recent headlines; they range from courageous to downright ingenious:

1. Colorado Springs, CO: “Several bar owners around Colorado Springs refuse to go smoke free despite the state-wide smoking ban that’s been in effect for nearly two years. The owner of Murray Street Darts, Bruce Hicks, says he’s not stopping his customers from lighting up. He does however ask that they donate $1 if they do decide to smoke inside his bar. Hicks says he’s using the money to pay smoking tickets and lawyers. Hicks has been going to court to battle his smoking tickets and he believes he’s winning. ‘I’ve gotten 23 tickets and 19 of them have been dismissed so far,’ said Hicks.”

2. Blackpool, United Kingdom: “Hamish Howitt, 55, of Park Road, Blackpool, denied five counts of failing to prevent smoking in his Del Boy Sports Bar. Howitt, a non-smoker, was fined £1,950 and told to pay £2,000 costs. On Wednesday, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told that officers from Blackpool Council found Del Boy’s ‘thick with smoke’ on five occasions in November 2007. A board outside the premises read: ‘Our political conscience will not allow to put smokers and non-smokers on the street. It’s our choice.’ Howitt, who represented himself, said the Health Act 2006 was ruining his business and had left him ‘on the verge of bankruptcy.’”

3. Maplewood, MN: “A new state ban on smoking in restaurants and other nightspots contains an exception for performers in theatrical productions, as long as patrons are notified in advance. So some bars are getting around the ban by printing up playbills, encouraging customers to come in costume, and pronouncing them ‘actors.’ The customers are playing right along, merrily puffing away – and sometimes speaking in funny accents and doing a little improvisation, too. The state Health Department is threatening to bring the curtain down on these sham productions. But for now, it’s on with the show.”

Patrick A

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

9 Responses to “Stogie News: Defense of Property, Defiance of Smoking Bans”

  1. Randy B Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:47 am #

    Great article as always! These guys are true patriots (even the chap from the UK).

    The Minnesota "actor" loophole is hilarious, but Bruce Hicks' idea in Colorado may be best. Asking smokers to pay to offset fines and legal fees could be a model for more bars and restaurants around the country.

  2. Jon N. Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    LOL, some of those workarounds are amazingly creative. Remind me to bring a Shakespearean ensemble to the bar next time I want to light up.

  3. chris Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    Always glad to read of resistance. Keep up the good work.

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