Full Smoking Ban Takes Effect | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Full Smoking Ban Takes Effect

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Damon Hogben manages the crowds and enjoys the music at his usual spot inside Fenian's.

An expanded version of the city's ban on smoking in restaurants and bars took effect July 1, but compliance with the ban is still spotty.

The city ordinance passed in 2008 originally prohibited smoking in all restaurants and bars, with the exception of "stand alone bars," which city and state law describe as bars that serve only beer and light wine. Some bars and restaurants in the city misinterpreted the ordinance, however, as exempting all bars or restaurants that made less than 25 percent of their gross receipts on food sales.

The Ole Tavern on George Street and Martin's Restaurant and Lounge still had patrons smoking this weekend, Jackson resident Ed Payne said. Payne, who said he does not have an opinion on the ban, watched The Iron Feathers and Liver Mousse at Ole Tavern on Friday night and caught the Jacktown Ramblers at Martin's Saturday.

Martin's and Ole Tavern owners were not immediately available for comment.

"I think what they're really doing is seeing if anybody is going to bust them," Payne said. "My guess is they don't want to tick off their customers, so they're not willing to really do it until it starts costing them money."

Claire Howell, a barista at Cups Espresso Cafe in Fondren, said that she worried about enforcement.

"I've lived in other cities where it was more clearly implemented," Howell said, mentioning Athens, Ga., which she said focused its enforcement on individuals rather than businesses.

Cups began prohibiting smoking on its outdoor patio last week, and Howell said that she has noticed fewer patrons using the space. "Our patio is usually full every morning and afternoon," she said.

The coffee shop has not received any new information on the ban from the city, Howell said.

Damon Hogben, general manager of Fenian's Irish Pub, said that the Fortification Street bar has not received any new information, either. Fenian's saw more patrons this weekend than he would have expected for a holiday weekend, which could be a sign that more bars are complying with the ban, Hogben said. The pub began prohibiting smoking indoors in 2008 and suffered a slight downturn in business afterward.

"I'm hoping to see some of our old faces come back that were going to other bars' happy hours because we went non-smoking," Hogben said. "Now there's no difference between us and the other bars."

Hogben added that he would need several weeks' worth of receipts before he could be sure that the expanded ban had helped business, though.

The City Council approved the amended smoking ordinance June 1 by a 6-1 vote. Councilman Kenneth Stokes cast the lone vote against the updated ban, arguing "grown people should be allowed to smoke."

Enforcement of the ordinance falls on two different city agencies. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told council members June 1 that the city's code enforcement division and the Jackson Fire Department are responsible for checking compliance with the ban during their normal visits to businesses. Citizens who want to report violations of the ban must go through the Jackson Police Department, though, Johnson said.

Previous Comments

ID
158515
Comment

It should be the owner's decision whether or not it is worth it to his/her business to allow smoking or not. The only thing any law should do is require that the smoking status of the establishment be clearly posted at every entrace so patrons can make a decision was to hether they want to do business there.

Author
The Eskimo
Date
2010-07-05T13:48:51-06:00
ID
158517
Comment

People enjoy doing what they do. But, if I did own a bar, I might consider the facts of what is really on the books for the code. Can you image a town called Smokeland, MS. Non-Smokers not allowed. Ex-Smoker

Author
Tiger4Life
Date
2010-07-05T14:23:01-06:00
ID
158524
Comment

The problem with the Libertarian approach is that ALL establishments serving alcohol have a strong financial motive to allow smoking. While many drinkers do not smoke, most smokers drink. And the typical ventilation system means the non-smoker gets the smoker's smoke. A second problem is that a smell nearly as rancid as second-hand smoke is hypocrisy. The OLD smoking ban could have been effective if it had been enforced. But it was not. The early evidence is the NEW smoking ban will be equally ineffective if left in it's current voluntary status. Were someone on the city council to demand a monthly report of establishment visited (name, date, time) and citations issued, it would light a fire under the currently indolent enforcement folks. In the meantime, if I go to the non-voluntarily minded establishments I have to smell second-hand smoke and be reminded of second-hand political platitudes.

Author
Ed_P
Date
2010-07-06T17:26:01-06:00
ID
158587
Comment

I am a smoker and live and work in Rankin County and I am proud of it. I will not be spending my money in Hinds County. I have a great back yard where I can go and smoke and dare anyone to say anything about it. It's still a free country! I have a friend that closed his bar because of the ban so Hinds will not get his taxes anymore.

Author
joylynn
Date
2010-07-12T20:26:49-06:00
ID
158590
Comment

Good luck with that, joylynn.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-13T09:31:35-06:00
ID
158592
Comment

Joylynn won't be alone. Now that Flowood serves liquor-by-the-glass and sells beer on Sunday, this is just another reason to take my money outside of Jackson; not to mention the crime, it's dirty, and the roads suck. Used to be, I'd go to Martin's or Finnians to have a couple cocktails, listen to music, and smoke cigarettes (just like the majority of the people there were doing BTW) before the PC Liberal goons got all indignant that people were smoking in a bar (Smoking in a bar! OMG what a freaking concept! Jeeze, go back to Starbucks. If you don't want to get wet, stay out of the rain). Now, if Rankin County would just approve a couple of liquor stores and build a bypass down to Hwy 49, there'd be no reason to ever cross the Pearl River again. It's the principle of these smoking bans that is so screwed up, that business owners can't decide what's best for their establishment regarding allowing or disallowing the use of a product that is entirely legal. Now, if the plan was to outlaw smoking all together, and to make cigarettes illeagal like pot, well, I wouldn't like it, but at least it would make sense.

Author
The Eskimo
Date
2010-07-13T10:03:54-06:00
ID
158594
Comment

On the other hand, Eskimo, I expect there will be non-smokers living in Rankin County who welcome places where they can eat and drink without the noxious fumes, and non-smokers outnumber smokers considerably, even in Mississippi: 76 percent of adults in the state don't smoke and that number gets larger all the time. It sure doesn't take being a "PC liberal goon" (whatever that is) to not want to be forced to breathe cigarette smoke in restaurants and bars. At the risk of telling you what you already know, smoking is a public health issue. Smoking related illness (including those related to second-hand smoke) costs taxpayers—even those who don't smoke—billions in smoking-related health and other costs (emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, higher insurance premiums etc.) in addition to lost productivity. But I'm sure you've heard all that and remain unconvinced. Whatever. All I can say is that y'all are fighting a losing battle. Someday, even Rankin County will ban cigarettes from restaurants and bars; it's inevitable.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2010-07-13T19:24:26-06:00
ID
158595
Comment

One of the central rationales for passing smoking bans is to protect people who work in the business from constant exposure to smoke. That is, a smoky bar is an unsafe working environment. As someone who has tended bar, I can tell you that working in a constant haze of smoke is both unpleasant and unhealthy. Of course, we live in a country where people in the service industry generally do not get sick days, health care, retirement, or any other benefits. So screw 'em, right? To all of you who have climbed up on your libertarian horses on this issue, I hope someone comes into your office and sprays a steady stream of carcinogens at you. It's really not that bad to step outside for a smoke. But if you want to spend the rest of your life in Rankin County, you're welcome to it.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-07-14T10:50:15-06:00
ID
158846
Comment

To all smokers in Hinds County, you can go to Reed Pierce's in Byram and eat, drink and smoke all you want.

Author
joylynn
Date
2010-07-27T11:25:56-06:00
ID
158849
Comment

Thanks, joylynn. That's a good heads-up for non-smokers as well.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-27T12:50:10-06:00
ID
158853
Comment

yep, grand public service joylynn. now i know where NEVER to go ; )

Author
2599
Date
2010-07-27T14:10:54-06:00
ID
158855
Comment

decided to delete my post. it was simply repeating something I've stated in a previous post....so carry on....

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-07-27T14:40:59-06:00
ID
158856
Comment

let's just make alcohol illegal, too, right? because if one likes to drink and then drive, it shouldn't be the government's business. why protect those of us who choose not to drink or choose to drink responsibly? *this was directed at queen601, who has since decided to delete her post. though what i'm saying has been stated before elsewhere, it bears repeating.

Author
2599
Date
2010-07-27T14:54:14-06:00
ID
158857
Comment

Your logic is shaky, 2599. No one has made smoking cigarettes "illegal." It is already illegal to drink and drive, and where you can drink alcohol is certainly regulated. That is the government's business as well. And you don't get drunk, or rot your liver, merely by breathing the same air as a drinker, although admittedly it can have other consequences! But from a public-health perspective, the regulation makes sense and is consistent. The problem with smoking is that, by its very nature, it violates the space (and, thus, rights) of anyone else in the vicinity of a smoker. Some may not care, but these days, many do. The world is changing on this front and with any luck, that will mean that fewer people will day the kind of nasty death my stepfather did. Everyone dies, but the fewer who have to wither away from lung cancer, searching for every breath, the better.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-27T15:16:50-06:00
ID
158858
Comment

Also, I saw a deleted post in e-mail and will thus add: It's important to point out that I do believe people have the right to smoke, and I don't believe cigarettes should be banned by the government. The problem with any right is when it bumps into, or stomps over, the right of another. It's not judgment to say that smoker's rights cannot supercede the rights of those who have to breathe smoke that is not their own. Their rights cannot be ignored in order to protect the rights of someone to smoke anywhere they want. And smokers cannot make the argument that they are being told they cannot smoke; they are only unable to smoke in "public" spaces (which includes places of commerce and working places). In other words, their rights can no longer be over-reaching as they were back in the "Mad Men" days. ;-) For the record, it was a similar "commerce" argument during the Civil Rights Movement. Businesses argued that they should have the right to pick and choose who they did business with in their establishments, but the government ultimately said that they could not discriminate just because they preferred a certain type (or race) of people. In the case of smoking, many businesses in the past have chosen to side with smokers although non-smokers are immediately affected by that choice in a physical way. The same is not true for businesses that do not allow smoking. So the rights pendulum logically swings toward those who have to breathe someone else's smoke rather than those who choose to smoke in a public space. None of that argues for banning cigarettes, which isn't a logical progression from this situation.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-27T15:37:29-06:00
ID
158860
Comment

Rankin Co. isn't totally a smoker's paradise anymore--Brandon quietly put a similar non-smoking law in place this past year which I believe went into effect July 1. So Brandon restaruants are at least a no-smoking zone now.

Author
JDLW
Date
2010-07-27T17:56:33-06:00
ID
158863
Comment

let it be said - in case i was unclear: i was responding to a post by queen601 (which was quickly deleted) that used VERY shaky logic FOR smoking in bars and restaurants. i am a staunch supporter of mine and your birth right to CLEAN AIR. i am ANTI-SMOKIING to the 'nth degree. my comment was made in total and complete sarcasm. just in case i wasn't clear.

Author
2599
Date
2010-07-27T21:23:10-06:00
ID
158868
Comment

Uh....2599....you have every right to believe what you wish and here's a thought that just may take you fast....SO DO I!!!! If you read my "quickly deleted" post (another thing I have every right to do) then you saw that I was NOT making an arguement to smoke in bars or restuarants. I actually started off my post saying that I think people have the right to NOT be around smoke if that's what they choose. Just like those who choose to smoke have the right to do just that. I also said that I believe that owners should be able to make their own decision for their business whether they welcome smokers or not. Basically if a person who smokes does not smoke around those who don't want to be smoked around the problem should be fixed. Right? I'm not sure that would fix the problem. The reason why I deleted my post, as if I owe you or anyone else any type of explanation, is because I have gone back and forth on this issue on this site and I know how the majority of the folks feel over here. They know how I feel. I decided not to even bother with that yesterday. But today is a new day. Point is, folks need to stop being so judgemental and trying to force their lifestyle on others. You can't pick one right to fight for and then on the other hand pick another right and say....that person is damned and doesn't have that right. That is all.

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-07-28T08:02:36-06:00
ID
158869
Comment

Sorry if I misread you, 2599. The funny thing is that some people make that argument seriously. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-28T08:24:58-06:00
ID
158899
Comment

queen, condescension is so unbecoming in a healthy discussion (no pun intended). you owe me no explanations, nor do you have to defend your rights to post your opinions. what you do have to have if you want to post in an open forum, is the ability to believe the opposing viewpoint has every right to be shared. and you're right: "the majority of the folks...over here" do see smoking as a health hazard not simply to the smoker (who HAS control over their health) but to the non-smoker who has NO control over the after effects of the smoker's negative behavior. you're correct in thinking the government should take a less active role in regulating an individual's personal freedom (in my opinion). i'll grant you that much. but where do my rights end so that a smoker's rights aren't trampled upon (or so they see it it that way)? playing devil's advocate, you could rightly say "if you don't want to breathe smoke, don't patronize this business or that club." and that may be. but i ask again: what about the employees who work there? what about the diners who choose "non-smoking" but are inundated with second hand carcinogens due to inadequate ventilation? what about irresponsible business owners who choose not to follow one ordinance and so another, tougher ordinance must be imposed? i, for one, enjoy listening to live music, but wouldn't in many places (even with the first ordinance in place) because i refuse to smell like an ashtray and fight a sinus headache at the end of the night. you talk about business lost? then imagine the MANY of us who feel the same way, not spending our dollars to support these bars, clubs, or other establishments for the very same reasons i have given. you can't have it both ways. at the end of the day, even if i weren't highly allergic to cigarette smoke, i see it as a win-win for the general, majority public (who, mind you, are NON-SMOKERS) for this ordinance to be in place.

Author
2599
Date
2010-07-28T22:49:00-06:00
ID
158903
Comment

I would like to ask all of you non-smokers to notice when you go to work in the morning just how many people you see smoking in their cars. There are more smokers than you think. They are just so called "closet" smokers. But when they are driving to and from work they smoke and when they have a drink they bum cigarettes. If someone does not want to be around smoking they can always go somewhere else. If you choose bartending as a career you should expect to be around smoke so choose another profession. As I said before it is still a free country so go your way and I'll go mine.

Author
joylynn
Date
2010-07-29T00:26:34-06:00
ID
158908
Comment

I think there ought to be smoker's clubs in place, like they do in Amsterdam where people smoke the "special stuff." Like cigar clubs or hookah tobacco bars. A place where people can do what they like. That said, I still support the ordinances on basic restaurants and bars - I don't think most people smoke anymore. People who don't smoke end up being forced to smoke second hand if others light up and that ain't right. I personally sometimes like the smell of cigarette smoke and don't mind, for example, when my aunt smokes in my car with the window down. The real issue is being in a club if 20 people including 2 band members are all puffing, it becomes hazardous and gross. All on your clothes the next day - ew.

Author
Izzy
Date
2010-07-29T08:20:01-06:00
ID
158909
Comment

People have every right to feel however they do about whatever the fight is. I don't really have an issue with you or anyone else here having he opinion that non-smokers shouldn't have to be around or smell cigarette smoke. That is there right. Second hand smoke kills. That is a fact. I'm not arguing that point. My point is that even in disagreeing, one still should be respected and so should their freedom of choice. Bottom line. 2599, I actually agree with every point you made. I just don't see any reason to insult those who smoke or who have a difference of opinion. And by the way, you HAVE to do the very same thing your telling me I HAVE to do. Donna, somehow I missed your post. Very good point about one right overpowering another.

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-07-29T09:23:43-06:00
ID
158911
Comment

Since I don't want to go into a long drawn out post, I will speak in a general sense. I don't smoke, but my mother and father were smokers, my mothers father was a smoker, my dad's father smoked and my dad's mother dipped snuff. I did smoke the stuff Billy Clinton experimented with. With all that said, when I was a bartender and waited tables, I made good money working the smoking section. Tobacco has been around since the creation of man and people should have the right to smoke and establishments, i.e. restuarants, bars, book clubs, coffee shops - should have the right to choose whether they are going to be a smoking or a non smoking establishment to better serve patrons. I think its only fair to say what kind of patrons you want to serve, in regards to non-smokers and smokers - whom so happen to come in all forms of people, sexual orientation, financial background, ethnic background, educational background.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-07-29T09:58:01-06:00

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