L.A. County Smoke Free

At least nearly so.

According to Cigar Aficionado, smoking is banned in all L.A. County parks with a couple of exceptions:

The exceptions to the smoking ban in L.A. County parks are designated areas of recreational facilities, such as golf courses and tennis courts, which are administered by outside contractors. Additionally, exceptions to the smoking ban will also be considered for actors in different productions that have permits and for models in photo shoots the county permits.

If you are not carrying a nine iron, a racket or a SAG union card then you are out of luck.

Instead of a rant about the ever-tightening noose around smokers’ necks I will just give a link to the Coase Theorem, which, while limited in its scope to a world without transaction costs, delves into a different course of action for dealing with negative externalities. The most appealing aspect of the Coase Theorem is that it could potentially provide a framework for dealing with the (infinitesimally small) negative externality associated with outdoor second hand (and third hand) smoke that allows us to continue smoking outside in L.A.

My belief is that all those taxes that we pay for the privilege of smoking tobacco should more than make up for any possible negative externalities we may be causing.

Los Angeles City Council Set to Ban Smoking

If you want to smoke a cigar in LA you better do it quickly because the LA City Council is working on a way to basically ban smoking in their “great” city. From the LA Times:

Councilman Tom LaBonge, chairman of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, said it was getting easier to enforce the smoking bans because of cooperation by restaurant owners.

“The patrons are really demanding it,” LaBonge said after his committee directed city lawyers to draft the ordinance Wednesday. “One day we’ll be an absolutely smoke-free world as we move forward, but people still enjoy it, so we’re still allowing it.”

If the patrons are “really demanding it” then why don’t they patronize some other establishment? There are many great restaurants in LA where smoking is not allowed so why not go to those restaurants? The reason why they don’t just take their business somewhere else is because Councilman LaBonge is lying here.

It’s not an outright lie like you or I can tell. He is telling a politician’s lie. I’m positive that some people are complaining about the smoke just as I’m positive that many are complaining about not being allowed to smoke. But this councilman has a vendetta. Just like so many crusading nanny staters out there he has an easy cause: destroy smokers.

Smoking Ban Threatened in Virginia

Gary Pesh, the incoming president of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, recently made some comments defending the right of bar and restaurant to be smoke-friendly establishments in the state of Virginia (living in Southern California, I’m kind of surprised that there are any such places left in the “Free World”). Here are some of his comments:

“No less an independent economic authority than the Federal Reserve Bank has concluded that smoking bans, wherever they occur, hurt businesses, especially bars and restaurants. Their findings include studies based on data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding areas impacted by legislated smoking bans that found ‘statistically significant employment declines at bars, with loss estimates in employment ranging from four percent to 16 percent’.”

Boston Could Outlaw Cigar Bars by Thursday

Boston has a long history of civic disobedience; the Boston Tea Party and Abolitionism being two examples. Boston also has a history for crushing its inhabitants’ rights: the second-class status of the Irish around 1900 and a major crackdown on entertainment deemed uncouth during the mid-twentieth century.

Right now Boston is experiencing a revival of both the rebel and the authoritarian. On the rebel side you have cigar bar owners protesting and writing letters to their mayor, Thomas Menino, pleading with him not to outlaw their businesses. Boston already has outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants and now the have their sights set on outlawing smoking in cigar bars.

On the authoritarian side is the city’s Boston Public Health Commission. They have already preliminarily voted to ban smoking in cigar bars and all they have to do is officially pass the law tomorrow.

No Cigar Smokers Allowed!

I have been told that there once was a time when cigar smokers were able to, shockingly, smoke cigars around… PEOPLE! Well, as we all know, those days are long gone.

We can no longer smoke cigars at restaurants, bars, in a building, around a building, or even in our own cars. This is all the government’s doing. They decided that we shouldn’t be allowed to smoke because it might be harmful to others.

So why are cars still allowed or, for that matter, anything that emits carbon? That stuff is supposedly going to kill off all life on our planet in the next generation or two. And yet I still see hundreds of cars everyday and pollution is increasing, not decreasing.

Unfortunately, I think we lost this war a long time ago. We lost this war once we lost one absolutely crucial battle. Since we cannot smoke here we are no longer able to muster an argument that would allow us to smoke anywhere.

I still hold out hope for the reemergence of the cigar smoker in public but, from where I sit, that hope seems rather far fetched. Doesn’t it?