Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Up in Smoke!

Champaign has proven to be unfortunately run by stupid people who have decided to waste time and money, confuse the public, and contribute to sickness and death of its citizens. After years of working on a Clean Air Ordinance (aka city-wide smoking ban), it finally passed last year...and after months of silliness was enacted this past January 31st. That is great! I enjoyed going out to bars and clubs, hearing some great local music, eating without coughing, bringing my kids anywhere....well, that is all changing as of midnight today.

After a highly debated April election, the city council now has enough pro-smoking members to repeal the smoking ban for bars, clubs, and pubs...and last night the mayor put it on the agenda...and without discussion, it was repealed. And the change is effective immediately (not months later, like the ban).

How could this happen so fast? No study sessions? No lengthy reviews of health information or business reports? Why? We did that before....and it showed in favor of the smoking ban. Clearly, in the three months it was enacted is enough time to see if it is working or not (ignore that February was the coldest in many, many years). I am sure they asked every business in Champaign how they felt about it....I am sure they talked to the ER's and doctors to see if smoke-related illnesses have been reduced...I am sure they took a poll of citizens to listen to what they thought. Ya, right.

What is the silliest thing....Jan 1, 2008, the entire state will be going smoke-free!

Now, some bars did actually allow smoking at midnight, I'm sure. But other bars are staying smoke-free (way to go! actually, the most popular bars in downtown are staying smoke-free*). So, as a patron, you will have to do some research to find out which ones are and which ones aren't....that is for the next couple months. And Urbana is not changing...they are staying smoke-free.

I don't know why this issue makes me so mad. Besides I think the evidence is clear that smoking is bad (yes, 2nd-hand smoke kills)...I find that this whole issue has underminded the political process in town. They put so much into preparing for the smoking-ban, to repeal it in one night without anything seems strange. That people ran for city council solely on the idea of the smoking-ban (and know who you are) is crazy. Aren't there other things the city has to deal with? And to spend the time on the issue, when the state already decided it....I feel like it makes Champaign look stupid....and frankly, I feel our mayor let the whole city down to better his own interests....he is a smoker and wants to smoke in public...who cares about the rest of us.

Well, for all you smokers, enjoy your last couple months of smoking out won't see me around to stop you.

Champaign Bars staying smoke-free:
Cowboy Monkey
Chester Street
Seven Saints
Station 211
Billy Barooz Pub & Grill
the Highdive

Plus more, I'm sure, but call to check before patronizing


Gwenna said...

Smoking...BOO...HISS!!!! I'm with you...let's only give our business to the places that are actually serving our community by staying smoke free!

lbotp said...

Great post. I totally agree about the people who ran for city council with that platform. Now what do they add to the council? I'm surprised our city government hasn't landed as the butt of a joke on letterman or something like that ... Thanks for that list.

C. said...

Murphy's too. The bartender there said something about a statewide ban on smoking next January, and switching back and forth would just confuse patrons, so they're sticking to smoke-free.

DJ Randall said...

So you enjoyed taking your kids anywhere. And yet the smoking ban was only appealed for BARS. Why are you escorting minors into adult drinking establishments in the first place?

You say that Champaign City Council's May 14 decision contributes to sickness and death. Well isn't it curious that when the smoking ban first went into effect, Champaign and Urbana children still returned to the same smoke filled homes and vehicles because the smoking ban didn't even bother to protect them?

How is it fair and justified that little Jimmy and Ella have to endure dangerous toxic fumes for 18 YEARS of their life with absolutely no remorse because it is supposedly legal for parents to willfully subject their children to second-hand smoke?

So if second-hand smoke is so life threatening why are people like you more concerned about whether patrons can smoke in bars than protecting the REAL victims of these dangerous airborne carcinogens? Minors have absolutely no choice but about their exposure to second-hand smoke in their homes and vehicles. How can the welfare of children be of so little importance that we only see the ways in which environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) affects our health as adults?

The truth of the matter is that any smoking ban is flawed unless it protects all citizens equitably -- and that includes people under the age of 18.

Champaign was extremely bold for being the first city in the nation to see through the smokescreen propaganda of the C-U Smokefree Alliance by partially revoking a ban that was obviously flawed in the first place. I commend the Mayor and other Council members who refused to join the legions of other dimwitted communities that all too conveniently "abandoned" their very own children.