Thursday, April 30, 2009

Smoke Free Wisconsin’s little white lies

“I opened 8 years ago with ashtrays, and I attribute my chronic cough to secondhand smoke. I’m not in a position to take away the ashtrays – as much as I’d like to – unless there’s a law.”
Mark Keishian, Muskie’s Tavern and Grill, Wisconsin

The above quote comes from the anti-smoker website of an organization called Taverns Clearing the Air. According to the Smoke Free Wisconsin website, this group of tavern owners is willing to stand up for the right of the people of Wisconsin to breathe clean indoor air by passing a statewide law banning smoking in bars, restaurants, etc. Sounds very noble, doesn’t it?

The group has nearly 100 members comprised of tavern owners, along with some owners of restaurants, golf courses, lodges, and bowling alleys. But, judging from the comments of one of the members, the group may be more interested in protecting their bottom line than protecting their patrons from polluted indoor air.

Bob Schmidt, owner of Schmidty's, is quoted by WKBT as saying he wants to make his establishment smoke free but he fears such a policy would put him at a disadvantage. Says Schmidt: "I feel caught between a rock and hard spot because on one hand I've got friends and guests that want me to be smoke free, and on the other I have good loyal cliental that have been coming in here for 50 years that do smoke, and they're against it."

So, Schmidt wants the state legislature to pass a bill banning smoking in bars and restaurants to “level the playing field”. That way, he doesn’t have to worry about unfair competition from bars which would prefer to cater to a smoking clientele.

But, the La Crosse Tavern League (La Crosse, Wisconsin) claims there are almost 5,000 bars and taverns across the state, which don’t support a ban. This means, of course, that the “nearly 100 members” of Taverns Clearing the Air represent a very small minority in the struggle for statewide smoking bans.

Mike Brown, Vice President of the La Crosse Tavern League, owns the Logan Tavern in La Crosse. Brown believes in choice: "We don't force anybody into smoking, or not smoking. We want everyone to make their own decisions. I will be honest with you, I don't like cigarette smoke, but I'm also realistic, and I know its part of my business."

So, Smoke Free Wisconsin is promoting the “Taverns Clearing the Air” group as champions in the great anti-smoker crusade.

The truth is, if Schmidt and others in his group had the courage of their convictions, they would simply make their establishments smoke free and let the chips fall where they may. If the market for smoke free bars is there, they have nothing to fear. Instead, they choose to demand that the state intervene and ban smoking in all bars and taverns so that they suffer no economic consequences from such a decision.

Mark Keishian of Muskie’s Tavern and Grill, says: “I’m not in a position to take away the ashtrays – as much as I’d like to – unless there’s a law.”

But, he’s not exactly telling the truth. The truth is, all he has to do is remove the ashtrays from the tables in his bar and hang up a “No Smoking” sign. He doesn’t need a law to do that; it’s his right as the owner of the business.

He needs a law to prevent his smoking customers from taking their business elsewhere. He needs a law to prevent other bars and restaurants from exercising their legitimate right to cater to a smoking clientele if they deem it in their best economic interest.

Smoke Free Wisconsin, of course, as a card carrying member of the anti-smoker cult, supports the extremely small minority of bars who favour a statewide smoking ban. Their self-proclaimed mandate is to reduce or eliminate the number of venues where a smoker can light up and thereby force them to quit.

But, are you ready for the kicker?

Taverns Clearing the Air is a front group for Smoke Free Wisconsin. That’s right. Both groups share not only the same anti-smoker philosophy, but the same address and phone number; two groups of anti-smoker bigots for the price of one.

But, that’s OK. This kind of subterfuge is rampant in the Holy Church of the Anti-Smoker. After all, both groups are acting in the interest of public health. (If you buy that, we’re still selling oceanfront property in the Alberta badlands.)


Anonymous said...

ASH is reveling in their victories.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Rambler, not only is it a front group (sharing the same address as SFW? Comeon.... Sheeesh!) but my bet is that MOST of the members are bar owners sitting in towns in Wisconsin where smoking is ALREADY banned.

I'd like to see TCA make its list of "100 taverns" public and see how many of them are actually taverns that currently allow smoking and would prefer not to. Want to hear my bet? I'd bet fewer than 10.

Smoking bans are based on lies. They lie about the economic effects of bans and they lie about the "deadly threat" of wisps of secondary smoke in decently ventilated places. They deserve no support, no cooperation, and no respect. They promote fear and division and do nothing to protect nonsmokers' health in any real sense of the words.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

mrs pelican said...

Well, isn't Mr. Schmidt a cowardly little weasel - pretending he needs a law to go smoke-free. You're right, all he needs to do is grow a pair and hang up a sign, but he'd hate to lose all that business, wouldn't he? It's his own property, that gives him the right to choose either way. That right has been taken away in too many places already, and I would personally boycott any establishment that sought to ensure my patronage by advocating legislating away my right to take my business elsewhere (to a smoke-friendly place). If he gets his wish, he will feel the cold slap of reality as he loses a large portion of his clientele, even with a "level playing field". But unfortunately, we don't have an "economic suicide" prevention program.

History Buff said...

It's time to track the TRUE source of the funds that buy bans thru grants. You'll find that the industry that makes the no-smoke products has been working behind the scenes for many years with grants for research to fit their agenda, starting up orgs with millions to do their dirty work (such as Tobacoo Free Kids), then bans, all to FIT THEIR AGENDA and their own profits. It's a giant marketing SCAM while using people who do not like 'the smell'.

Anonymous said...

If business gets better after banning smoking, why is he needing a law to allow him to make more money?

Live and let live, this country doesn't need anymore laws. A business owner lacking the guts to change their business model to suit their own wants/needs should not be in business.

Anonymous said...

“I opened 8 years ago with ashtrays, and I attribute my chronic cough to secondhand smoke. I’m not in a position to take away the ashtrays – as much as I’d like to – unless there’s a law.”
Mark Keishian, Muskie’s Tavern and Grill, Wisconsin

WOW MArk, do you know how to put one foot in front of the other without passing a foot law?

Your stupidity is amazing

Anonymous said...

Does this surprise anyone? I've heard so many lies from Smoke Free Groups since 1998, i would have a chokiig fit if I thought I'd heard the truth. No lie is too big for them. I heard my first Anti- smoking lie in 1960 when in the Air Force Read this.

The Pig Lung Scam, Again and Again
The anti-smokers lie to children by obtaining pig lungs from meatpacking plants, soaking them in chemicals, and then claiming that this is what tobacco smoke does to them.
"Obviously, it was a lung, but it was as black as coal, bore tumorous growths and couldn't hold its air very long. 'This is what happens when you smoke,' Capt. Rob Pankiw, drug demand reduction administrator with the Delaware National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force, told a gaggle of wide-eyed adolescents in Dover. Pankiw described the centerpiece of his anti-smoking display as the diseased lung of a 150-pound man who smoked for 15 years. Actually, it was a pig's lung shot full of various carcinogens on purpose, but, as Pankiw said later, his lesson was made stronger by not passing along that tidbit of truth." (Burning passion brings 700 kids to anti-smoking rally. James Merriweather, Dover News Journal 2001 Apr 6.) But after this brief episode of truth, the article degenerates into the usual anti-smoking screed.
Merriweather / Dover

This old lie, which is making the rounds again, was presented to all new Airmen shortly after arriving at their permanent base. I first saw this film in 1960 as a mandatory showing. I later found that the lung was not human but a pig lung that was treated with chemicals to make it look diseased to those who were ignorant of actual facts. They were spreading this lie to reduce smoking in the Air Force. What is old is new again. Anything will be said to further the cause. When we are ignorant of the facts, the facts do not matter and fraud has no meaning. When I pointed this out about the lung that the ACS used at the New Albany smoking ban meeting, Mayor English dropped any more meetings about smoking bans.

One Crusader, a feeder at the public trough of Delaware National Guard’s Counter drug Task Force, likes to scare impressionable children by holding up a blackened, bloody, and diseased looking lung in classrooms while explaining that the cancerous thing came from a man who had smoked for just 15 years.
In reality, it is simply a pig’s lung shot full of carcinogens and prepared carefully to look disgusting, gruesome, and scary… not a human lung at all. The National Guard Captain explained to the reporter covering the story that his lesson was made stronger “by not passing along that tidbit of truth” (James Merriweather. Delaware News Journal. 04/05/01).

No Tobacco said...

We are born in a smoke free world and it is just right that we strive to offer our children the same kind of environment. Be involved and help empower everyone by taking part in the yearly WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY which will be on May 31st!