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Smoking Ban Debate Heating Up

No Smoking

No SmokingThere has been a lot of push recently to make all establishments in Bismarck smoke-free. Currently, smoking is still allowed in most bars, hotels, and truck stops; however, local health advocacy groups are trying to extend the ban.

I have never been a smoker, and honestly don’t understand why people do it, but I still think it will be a mistake to implement a full smoking ban in Bismarck.

When I lived in Minneapolis, they implemented a smoke-free ban. The resulting effect was dwindling revenue for most bars, some of which ultimately closed up shop.

Bismarck bars will especially become negatively impacted if neighboring cities like Mandan or Lincoln do not follow suit with implementing a ban.

I do firmly believe that bars connected to restaurants (Applebees, Paradiso, etc.) should be smoke free, but actual stand-alone bars (like Bucks, Lonesome Dove, etc.) should be up to the establishment whether to allow smoking. This way, if you want to visit and/or work somewhere that’s smoke free, you have choices.

I also believe that smoking should be banned at all other work places, within reason. A designated smoking area, away from any main entrances, should be required. Smoking in hotels, again, should be open to management discretion. Many hotels in Bismarck already are 100% smoke-free, by choice.

I do it find interesting that there is all this push to ban smoking at hotels, but not apartments, where people really don’t have a lot of choices. Having worked in the apartment industry, I can tell you that this was a common complaint made by our residents. Not withstanding, I think it should again be up to management discretion.

It wasn’t all that long ago that people were allowed to smoke inside Kirkwood Mall. I can still remember ashtrays lining the walls of the shopping center. We’ve already come a long way since then by banning smoking in such open, public places as shopping centers, but let’s keep the freedom of choice open to all for privately-owned bars and hotels; at business types where people do already have a choice.