Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Smokebox

When you pass a joke of a smoking law, you must expect the jokers to take advantage of it. In this case, it's the casino-owners who are claiming that their smoke-free area slots are making less money than their smoking area slots. And lest you think it's for their sake that they want to increase the number of smoking area slots, it's actually to benefit the people of Pennsylvania. They don't want to cost Pennsylvanians money.

According to a spokesman for the Meadow's casino,
"State taxpayers are losing a lot of revenue" by limiting slots for smokers to just 25 percent of floor space.
How thoughtful of them.

Casinos are allowed to expand their smoking area if they could "prove" after 90 days that the smoking area slots made more money. Of course, they didn't have to "prove" that the slots had an equal opportunity for usage. They also didn't have to "prove" that those slots had equal opportunities for winning. Maybe these guys should take side jobs as NFL referees offering "conclusive evidence" for overturning challenges.

My whacked-out theory: Eliminating smoking in public places will actually begin to deter smoking in general. Philip Morris seems to agree:
"Smokers facing these restrictions [no workplace smoking] consume 11%–15% less than average and quit at a rate that is 84% higher than average."

The more you make exceptions to the rule, the more you're encouraging smoking, spreading lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses, and exposing more people to second-hand smoke.
Again, Philip Morris seems to agree:
"Milder workplace restrictions ... have much less impact on quitting rates and very little effect on consumption ."

But maybe I'm just harping on this because of my Aunt that passed away due to a smoking-related illness. It sucks. Moving to Pittsburgh from New England was like stepping back in time to the 70s when smoking was cool. The only friend I had in college that smoked was from Pittsburgh. The high rate of smoking in this city is a major problem that should be addressed.

The city of Pittsburgh should pass a serious smoking ban. Harrisburg should allow Allegheny County (and any other county that wishes) to legally pass a serious smoking ban. And the folks in Harrisburg should be ashamed of their half-assed joke of a law.

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