Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My first-ever letter to a newspaper journalist

Hello Kathleen,

I'm Jay. And although I'm not an Arizona resident, I still feel I'd like to share my opinions with you on your June 19th article entitled " Despite the naysaying, Arizona's smoking ban has worked."


In this article, you said "In fact, some places are getting new customers who had been put off by the smoky environment. Surprise, surprise. The experience has been similar in every place that's snuffed out smoking in public places."

When I first heard of smoking bans in cities other than CA, those were Canadian cities with smoking bans that were enacted in 2000. And during that same year, I read about mom-and-pop Canadian taverns being forced to close down for good within a few months. And the owners blamed their province's smoking ban, for the reasoning behind the closure. They blamed the ban because fewer people were entering those taverns, ever since the ban went into effect. Fewer customers means less revenues for the owners. And less work for the tavern employees as well.

If you want a better idea on how many businesses have closed down in US cities with smoking bans, feel free to view this chart. Please take note on how many businesses in MN alone have closed down because of smoking bans.

Businesses have TEMPORARY success when a smoking ban first goes into effect. That's because the local media usually interviews customers on the first day of a new smoking ban. And nonsmokers want to tell the media "See? The smoking ban isn't hurting this business." But don't expect nonsmokers to visit hospitality businesses on a regular basis. Smokers are the ones who visited taverns and restaurants frequently. But once these places become smoke-free, the smokers will stay home and/or buy their drinks from stores instead.

Did you know smoke-free bowling alleys have this issue of bowlers who smoke going outside in their bowling shoes? One bowling alley owner in my home state of Illinois said "Bowling shoes are not meant to be worn outside. And a smoking ban will force me to spend more time cleaning these shoes the smokers wear outside." He also pointed out there's also the risk of bowling shoes no longer being wearable if the smoker steps outside in say mud and dirt while smoking.

You gotta wait for several weeks to pass, before you can determine if a smoking ban does not hurt businesses, as you claim. Sure, it's not gonna hurt owners in the short-term. But the ban WILL hurt the owners' revenues in the long-term due to a loss of regular customers. And I hope this chart serves as a wake-up call for you. Since you're under the impression all businesses are having success in other states and cities with smoking bans.

Have a good day.


1 comment:

Garnet said...

Jay, it's great that you are writing to newspapers. Maybe you're setting an example, so that more smokers will do the same!

Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
Illinois Smokers Rights -