Not So Fast with the Smoke Screen

What’s the hurry with the Louisville Metro Council holding special sessions to pass a new smoking ban ordinance? This would have been the perfect opportunity for Council members to examine the impact of a ban on local businesses.

Business is way down at most bars and taverns, an alarming number of them in danger of closing their doors. The reprieve by the court in striking down the old ordinance was probably the only thing that saved some of them.

Yet Councilman Kelly Downard says the ban has not driven anybody out of business. That may be true, Kelly, but it’s only a matter of time. You don’t hear about it from The Courier-Journal because reporting business failures would contradict the editorial page. The TV stations are either lazy or short staffed. Council members wouldn’t want to admit a mistake.

Downard displayed the worst qualities of a politician during the three-year debate on indoor smoking. Playing palsy with the bar owners on one hand and selling the businesses out on the other.

Why not use this time to measure the actual effects of the ban on businesses? The city’s profits are falling far short of expectations. Granted, the tax revenue from bars and taverns is not the only factor but the smoking ban is THE reason tax proceeds have slowed at local nightspots. Which is more logical? Allowing smoking and risking a minimal health effect or banning smoking and putting customers and employees out on the street?

One thing for sure is that all the smoking ban advocates who promised to go to bars if they went smoke free have not made good on their promises. No surprise there since they were fabricating so many “facts” in their rush to a ban.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.