Interview: Hospitality Association Frustrated With Implementation Of New Smoking Ban

no-smoking

I spoke with Rudie Martinson of the North Dakota Hospitality Association this week about North Dakota’s expanded smoking ban which voters approved on the November ballot. Martinson pointed out that his association – which represents bars, restaurants, hotels and similar businesses in the state – is frustrated with a lot of unknowns in the law.

“I don’t know that I can say definitively and consistently just how the law is going to be enforced statewide,” Martinson told me. “That’s very frustrating from an industry standpoint.”

One aspect of the law Martinson pointed to as concerning is one pertaining to outdoor shelters used by many businesses to cater to smokers taking their habit outside into the elements. Martinson notes that the law bans smoking in any structure that is more than 33% enclosed by any material. He believes that could mean anything from plywood to a fenced-in area.

He also notes that businesses could be held accountable for smokers gathering outside a business. The law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of any door or window. While there is a provision allowing individual smokers to be ticketed, it also allows for businesses to potentially loose their various licenses and permits (business licenses, occupational licenses, professional licenses and liquor licenses) should they be held accountable. Martinson says his membership is worried about smokers standing on public side walks outside of businesses, or smoking in the cars in drive-through lanes.

Even more confusing is that, according to Martinson, this law may not be enforced uniformly across the state. “That’s hard for us when the goal posts are always moving,” he said.

Here’s a FAQ Martinson’s organization created for their membership about the new smoking ban:

ND Hospitality Association's Smoking Ban FAQ

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Chris Brownell

    This is much ado about nothing. Common sense will prevail. Yes there will be the odd argument in court about what is covered and not covered when it comes to a patio. But overall people will complain for a while, then they will simply stop smoking in public places. There will also be the news stories about the bar in some city like Glen Ullin where the bartender will look around and then pass out ashtrays like it is some kind of speak easy. That will fade out too.

    An overwhelming majority of people do not like to enter a place full of smoke. Most do not like to walk into a store/bar and make a purchase of adult beverages to take home or where ever and leave smelling like a stubbed out cigarette. A person’s right to smoke does not mean they have the right to share that with everyone else in the room.

    Enjoy your cigs, or cigars, but take responsibility for them and keep your smoke to yourself.

    • Eury

      I agree. Most other states have already enacted laws like this and somehow adapted. As someone who runs around with musicians, I can tell you that most look forward to working in smoke-free bars. And personally, I look forward to going to hear bands and dancing in places that were until now just too smokey for my health.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        You wrote as though there weren’t already plenty of non- smoking places for you to go. That hasn’t been the case for some time.

        • SusanBeehler

          Not true in Mandan.

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Common sense is oh so rare in the debate over smoking. I suspect the tobacco prohibitionists will pocket this victory and move forward with their, in my view, campaign against freedom. How better than to set up a special enforcement bureau or perhaps a state fund to provide grants to local police shops to enforce the new law? Or something else will pop up: Perhaps a civil suit against a bar owner who fails to enforce the law.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        The tobacco prohibitionists aren’t done. Their goal isn’t common sense. Their goal isn’t accommodation. Their goal is eradicating tobacco use.

        • Lianne

          Rob, I disagree. They do not want to eradicate smoking. If that were the goal, they would have written the measure as such. No, they want control, and they want the tax money from smoking and tobacco companies. They are running the stupid irritating ad about how much smoking costs each tax payer.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            No, I think their goal is getting rid of smoking, but they know that a measure which is an outright ban wouldn’t pass.

            So they do it a chunk at a time.

          • Lianne

            Irradicate and use what to replace the tax they will lose and the power they continue to exert. I originally thought they wanted to get rid of smoking, but I am not so sure now. Either way, they are using smoking as a tool to control private business. Wonder what kind of ‘stink’ they would raise if they went after alcohol?

          • DWHoover

            Should alcohol and tobacco be treated the same? It is legal for me to smoke in my car, but I can’t drink a beer in the same car. If I were pulled over with a cigarette in my mouth, the cop cannot do anything about it. From that, I would assume that tobacco is safer from alcohol. If I were hit by a drunk driver, I would be the victim of second hand drinking. With all the controlling of habits, I wouldn’t be surprised for someone trying to ban drinking alcohol in public places.

        • dakotacyr

          Indeed, it is.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Thank you for admitting that you’re anti-freedom.

          • dakotacyr

            Ha, Ha, Ha! Hardly, I’m just anti-smoking in public places. There’s still plenty of freedom to go around.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            You said “indeed it is” to my saying “their goal is getting rid of smoking.”

            And private property is not “public.”

          • dakotacyr

            Right, but if the owner invites the public in, the state has a right to protect the public. As I have said numerous times, the state and local governments regulate businesses all the time for safety and health hazards in order to protect the public.

          • Flyby_Knight

            Finally, someone admits it. Good luck storming the castle.

      • SusanBeehler

        I am for freedom and against smoking in public, just like I am against drunk driving,against beating your spouse, against beating your children and other laws such as “peeing” in public. It is common sense not to expose yourself to something which is known to take your breathe away.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Smoking is not the same as drunk driving or domestic violence. To compare them is absurd.

          And you’re not pro- freedom if you’re against property owners deciding their own smoking policy.

          • SusanBeehler

            I disagree. Beating your spouse or your child was thought of with the same attitude as you are projecting with smoking as a property right issue: the attitude you could beat your spouse or your child in your home or on your property and a social attitude of a wife/child being a husband’s possession/property. It would be like saying you are not pro-freedom if you’re against a spouse deciding his own way to show his authority in household. It is absurd you can make the stretch to property rights when smoking has been shown to be so damaging to the health and affect the health of others. I am for freedom which does not cause bodily harm to another. Smoking causes bodily harm to the smoker and those exposed to it especially if it is on a daily working environment basis.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The problem is that smokers have nowhere to go now. Even establishments where smoking was the point, like cigar bars and the like, cannot allow smoking.

      I hate being around smoking, buy why can’t we recognize that smokers should have a place where they can go too.

      Is that so much to ask?

      • Lianne

        I thougtht for just a second that you were going to say “smokers should have the right”. :-) If every other minority ‘has rights’ as defined by the liberal crowd, smokers should have the ‘right’ to smoke. And, smoke shops were set up for just that purpose. No one was forced into a bar for that matter. But now, people are forced to stop smoking, or at the very least, change their habit, freeze in the bitter cold, hide like common criminals all for the likes of Heidi and her gang.

        • spud

          They have the right to smoke if they so choose. It is the law of the state of North Dakota that no smoking in bars now. What was final vote for ban I think it was over 2-1 to give non-smoker’s right to breathe at a bar. Smoker’s are a minority so they have rights but to think they have as much rights as the majority of people especially when they lose that bad at the ballot box is plain stupid. So if they need a ciggy that bad too bad so sad. It’s much ado about nothing in most town’s that have already implemented it as well as states. Common criminals statement is something only those who lose elections bring up.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            There are certain rights – like property rights – that many of us with more principles than you, sir, feel can’t be removed by a simple majority vote.

            Might doesn’t make right.

            And this abhorrent precedent is already being used to justify other government forays into regulating our lifestyles for our own good. Want a Big Gulp? “Too bad so sad.”

            It’s not like this is a free country.

          • spud

            This has nothing to do about principles Rob. When are you going to quit beating a deadhorse this issue has been decided. Property rights if your going to be honest have been stepped on for years the Patriot Act for example. I know that if I want to stop at a bar I can go in after December 6th and know that some dummy can’t be blowing smoke all around me. Besides that think how many gallons of water will be saved not having to wash the stink off themselves provided by the smoker’s who care only about themselves. The hospitality group only cares about themselves and the almighty dollar. They want to eat there cake and stick it to all the taxpayers all while getting every tax break there is.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            So it’s ok to walk all over property rights because, in other instances property rights have already been undermined?

            That’s some strange logic.

          • spud

            Rob North Dakota has an initiative process and a referral process. That is how it works. The smoker’s got there butts handed to them as they and you knew would happen. In seven years from now they can refer this again to the voter’s. But please quit bitching about something both sides on the issue knew was going to happen. Why not try to help people quit the habbit instead of complaining about the process.
            By the way it is over. By the way should we be paying for higher premiums in health insurance for those who smoke. I suppose that is anti-property rights too. Your on the losing side of this issue get over it. I love living in North Dakota you on the other hand better learn how to tolerate what the people in this state wish.

          • dakotacyr

            we restrict property rights all the time. We regulate food in restaurants, water, and all sorts of regulations that businesses have to follow to protect the general public. Wah, Wah!

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            But smoking isn’t the same as, say, food poisoning. We all know what the health risks are. We can all choose to smoke, or not to smoke.

            It’s a decision that can be left to the public.

            I’m glad you’re finally admitting that you don’t like the idea of people making their own decisions.

          • dakotacyr

            Of course it is. And no I didn’t admit anything. I made the point that businesses are subject to laws and regulations to protect the public. This is no different.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            It’s a lot different. Everyone knows the health risks of smoking (just as they know the health risks of cheeseburgers and soda). If they make that choice despite those risks, they should be allowed to, be they individual smokers or property owners allowing smoking.

            What this is about is people like you forcing others to get in line with your choices.

            That’s anti-freedom.

          • dakotacyr

            Of course you would say that but I don’t believe that to be the case. We regulate health hazards all the time, from food and water poisoning in restaurants to smoking. No difference even if you don’t see it.

          • Lianne

            ” Smoker’s are a minority so they have rights but to think they have as much rights as the majority of people especially when they lose that bad at the ballot box is plain stupid” Spud, good thing you added the phrase about the ballot box, because you nearly stepped into a big pile of do-do over minority vs majority, gays being one example! :-)

          • dakotacyr

            and you did notice that the “gays” are gaining ground every day, right?

          • SusanBeehler

            It was not a law for no smoking in all our state until this law passed. Fargo had the law, not all the state

          • Flamejob5

            There’s no such thing as “majority”or “collective” rights – only individual rights – which therefore brings this issue down to an individual property rights matter.

            Bottom line is that in a truly free society an individual has the liberty to exercise whatever activity he/she so chooses on their own property, while likewise, each individual in their own private capacity(property) within society has the liberty whether or not to participate in said activity on private property, or, exercise their own liberty in performing/offering what they choose on their own property.

            There is no “violation of rights/liberty” if other free choices exist as no individual could possibly be forcing another to enter their private property but instead rather acting upon a concious free & voluntary basis upon entering the property.

        • dakotacyr

          Who’s all in Heidi’s gang, I want to join! Do they wear colors have gang signs, let me know.

      • Chris Brownell

        No it is not too much. They should be able to visit a cigar bar. I agree with that. However I enjoy going out and not sharing a smoke with the person near by. It is the smokers responsibility to keep their smoke to themselves. If it is not worth the trouble, well then, make the decision not to smoke.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          You had the opportunity to go out to smoke-free bars and restaurants before this measure passed.

          • dakotacyr

            Wrong, not every community in ND has smokefree bars and restaurants. You need to get out more.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Oh come on. Everyone in ND lives within short driving distance of smoke-free bars and restaurants. You need to actually visit ND more often.

            This measure was unnecessary.

          • dakotacyr

            I am in North Dakota more than you think. Was in Dickinson and Bismarck all last week. Will be home again for two weeks at Christmas. Get back to ND about 5-6 times a years.

            this measure was necessary.

    • Thresherman

      I have a strong suspicion that you do not have the foggiest idea of what you are talking about. In Fargo after the law was passed over a year went by and still the authorities could not state with certainty what was legal and what was not. What you so casually try to dismiss is of vital importance to a great many people, but what the heck, it is only their livelihoods and the investment of a life’s work at stake here and you couldn’t care less.
      I vividly recall in the lead up to the Fargo referendum how holier than thous like yourself positively swore that the smoking ban would lead an economic boom for bar owners as nonsmokers would then flock to them. Never happened, not even a little bit. It was all a big fat lie by smug SOB’s who wanted to impose their will on others without any.regard for the consequences. Business suffered, charities suffered and the people who relied on those charities suffered, but the holier than thous were content. They had extracted their pound of flesh and were for the moment sated.
      I don’t smoke and never have and now no smoking is the law and that is how it is going to be, but spare me the airy disdain of the pain that implementing it is going to involve because we all know that if it was your ox being gored, your response would be quite the opposite.

      • SusanBeehler

        So where are your stats to back your claim business suffered, charities suffered. Sounds like you are blowing smoke. We have lots of laws on our books not enforced, like the Corruption Act, like the ADA laws, so your fear of enforcement is mute.

        • Chris Brownell

          I was going to ask the same thing. With ND’s economy doing well I find it doubtful that business has suffered and I know for sure that is not the case in WA state. I think it is just a straw man that is convenient as a rhetorical argument. I will, if I get the time today, look to see what stats I can find on restaurant business revenue in ND. But I have to work too so we will see.

    • Lianne

      “Enjoy your cigs, or cigars, but take responsibility for them and keep your smoke to yourself”

      You mean one is free to smoke, just don’t exhale?

  • RCND

    So the way I read this, if you are self employed in a home-based business, you now can’t smoke in your house and have to put up signs.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Rudie actually answers that question in the interview. If you work in a home office alone you can smoke.

      If you have an employee you work with, however, your home becomes a work area and you can’t smoke.

      • RCND

        Missed that. Thanks

      • tony_o2

        What if you work at home with another employee… Can you smoke in your garage, garden shed, or a porch that is more than 33% enclosed?

        What if you work from home, and your coworker is someone who lives with you? Are you both breaking the law for taking a smoke break inside?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I’m not sure the law is clear on those points.

  • OldConserv2011

    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you eradicate tobacco use? One initiated measure at a time.

  • JW -American

    This is why we elect representatives to debate, think though and draft laws that stand up to the Legal Councilmen there at the capitol, then pass laws based supposedly on the representation of the people.

    Passing laws by public sway after years of marketing- Seems an slippery slope.

    As much as this one was passed with all its faults and lack of definition M2 was a even greater boondogle, was much as I agreed with the concept of eliminating property taxes, I wished it to fail because of exactly this type of reason.

    I would think the legislature will now have to draft amendments to this law to clean up the messes, yet due to the 2-1 vote keep the essence in place.

    • tony_o2

      I don’t know if the legislature can touch this law with amendments. It is my understanding that they have to wait 7 years before they can overturn any part of this voter initiative. Anybody know for sure?

      • SusanBeehler

        As I understand it; any measure creating new law; the legislature can rewrite and take to the vote of the people, but they cannot just overturn it without a 2/3 majority legislatively

  • tony_o2

    Nobody, except the property owner, has the “right” to be in a bar. It is private property, and the owner is granting you permission to be there. Although the general public is invited to enter the establishment, it is still private property and not a public space.

    While I agree that non-smokers have a right to breathe clean air, I don’t believe it should apply to private property where people voluntarily gather. If you go to an open-invitation neighborhood bbq, you cannot walk onto their private property and demand that everyone stop smoking. So why should it be any different if someone walks into an open-invitation bar?

    If this was just about the non-smoker’s right to breathe clean air, then why does the law also include smoking shelters? If the owner wants to provide a separate area (not within the general building) for people to smoke, how does this encroach on the non-smoker’s right? Why does it matter if it is 33% enclosed or 99% enclosed?

  • MrsBee

    When are we going to quit giving up our rights?

    The business owner should have the choice to allow smokers or not. Especially when they, have made arrangements to, separate the smokers from the non smokers.

    I’m so tired of having the government and others tell us what to do, what we can’t do, what to eat, what to drink, Are they going to start telling us when we can use the bathroom, or when to sleep? Are we going to need permission to breathe?

    We aren’t five year olds that need constant monitoring.

    • SusanBeehler

      Your right ends when it harms someone’s health. This measure is to protect the workers at their workplace. After years of working at a place which allowed smoking (I am a non-smoker) I did not become aware of how much the smoking had affected my health until I no longer worked there.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Workers have a choice as to sheer they work. If you don’t like the smoking, don’t work in a place that allows it.

        Please don’t ask the government to regulate us for our own good.

        • DWHoover

          This isn’t a law about fresh air as much as it is a law to make people stop smoking. Good or bad, it is chipping away at one’s freedoms.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I agree. I think we should be free to make bad decisions as long as your not hurting others.

          • SusanBeehler

            Second hand smoke does harm others.

          • dakotacyr

            that would be ok, if we all didn’t pay for it in increased health care costs that we all pay for.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Which is an argument against collectivizing health care costs, not regulating the choices of the individual in the name of the collective.

            Because that argument can be used for everything, right? If that’s a valid proposition, then why doesn’t the government put us on a mandatory exercise routine and government-approved diets?

          • dakotacyr

            health care costs will always be “collectivized”. It’s how insurance companies make money.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            But that’s within the free market, where I get a choice as to whether or not I want to use a specific insurance company, or any insurance company at all.

            Thanks to you liberals, we’re losing that choice.

          • dakotacyr

            Obamacare is within the free market, you buy insurance in the market. Why don’t you love the free market?

        • SusanBeehler

          Now that there is more education about the dangers of second hand but what happens when you have a pension and find out or come to the truth “smoking is killing” people, it is not as easy to leave a job, this measure has allowed workers to keep their job without still being exposed to the danger of second hand smoke. As a child I complained about the smoking of the smokers who came to our home to visit, now they are dead or carry oxygen, amazing what can happen in 20 or 30 years. A right ends when you are harming others and second hand smoke is harmful, no different than pulling a trigger on a gun and waiting for the life to be snuffed out of you, it just is a slower, more painful death. Put a plastic bag over your head and see if you would leave it there for 20 years; smoking takes your breath away just not as fast as a plastic bag. You would be charged with assault if you placed a bag over someone’s head; it is not your right to do so because it causes harm. The “right” argument is the argument for those who enable and are in denial.

          • RCND

            Your parents should have said something to the smokers at your house, as it was their right to do since they owned the place. This new law, had it been in force back then, could not have done anything to prevent your exposure anyways.

            The owner of the restaurant or bar has rights as well… I realize this is hard to see in the new “government-protect-me” age. A customer is a guest of that property owner and subject to their rules. An employee has an at will relationship with the employer. If neither like the fact that smoking is allowed they are free to go elsewhere.

          • SusanBeehler

            My example of the parents is the denial attitude which perpetuates smoking as a right when it is clearly damaging to your family, your customers and your business. Parents, smokers did not know any danger was lurking: it was the 60’s and I would say a majority smoked, but I can tell you from the common sense of any child, a child knows smoking is not good for you. As a business owner I would rather keep customers rather than kill them off with smoke or kill or make my employees sick. A smart business owner knows smoking is bad for business.

          • Hoth

            This isn’t a matter of a “right to smoke”. It’s a matter of a private property owner getting to decide whether or not to allow someone to use a legal product (tobacco is a legal product) on their property. If smoking is bad for business as you seem to believe, the business owners would ban it on their own. The fact that they didn’t do that tells me that they determined that it wasn’t bad for business.

          • SusanBeehler

            If a business owner has never been a non-smoking establishment they may have been fearful to try it, the voters, many of them their customers told them their preference just as if they filled out a comment card and said on the card we prefer no smoking when working or entering your establishment. It is not a property issue because we have laws which ban others things from taking place on business property such as laws which say you cannot serve food which is not at a certain temperature, laws saying you have to pee in a restroom not on the sidewalk. The fact that they didn’t do this is just that, they never did it. It does not mean they knew for a fact it wasn’t good for business.

          • Hoth

            The fact that every bar in Fargo that went smoke-free before the ban ended up going out of business tells me that you’re very wrong. The fact that you think that because there are other ways in which private property rights are violated means that it’s perfectly ok to add a few more violations tells me that you are not an individual I would not willingly associate with.

          • SusanBeehler

            Every smoke-free bar in Fargo is out of business? sounds like you don’t know your facts or you do you know for a fact the bar closed because they were smoke-free. The fact the bar business in Fargo is still thriving after the city ban tells me, businesses will adapt when the market changes or they will go out of business or quit, a law to protect people does not cause businesses to go out of business, it is the business owner who chooses to close the doors if they no longer want to do business as the law allows. If a bar happened to be smoke-free before the ban and went out of business does not necessarily mean it was because they were smoke-free. We had a smoke free bar in Mandan go out of business prior to this vote and it was because the building was sold and torn down. Human life in my opinion is more valuable than property and more important than trying to “save” a business who chooses not to protect their employees. I suppose you think we should go back to the days where we lock employees in a building so they can’t escape if a fire breaks out: after all it is the right of a property owner to lock their doors isn’t it?

          • Hoth

            Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit is it Susan. I stated that bars that went smoke free BEFORE THE BAN went out of business. I’m aware of two but can only recall the name of one of them, “The 21st Amendment”. Both of them were smoke-free and both died from lack of business.

            My property rights are more important to me than your health, knowing that, you are free to avoid my property. You cannot however dictate to me what I allow or disallow on my property.

            “I suppose you think we should go back to the days where we lock
            employees in a building so they can’t escape if a fire breaks out: after
            all it is the right of a property owner to lock their doors isn’t it?”

            Nice strawman. What you’re describing is what is known legally as “false imprisonment” and is a crime. As people cannot be property, it has nothing to do with property rights.

          • RCND

            Well it isn’t up to us or lawmakers to decide what is and is not smart business. That is up to the business owner to decide and face consequences (good or bad) for accordingly.

          • SusanBeehler

            This was not chosen by the lawmakers: the people, many of them business owners choose to have the smoking ban with their vote, and many of them are costumers who have said with a majority vote they do not want smoking at work places.

        • dakotacyr

          Right, let’s not have the government regulate food, or water or clean air. Nah, let the eater, drinker and breather take their chances.

  • VocalYokel

    “Smoking outdoors is still legal, as long as long as the activity is taking place more than twenty feet from entrances, exits, operable windows, air intakes and ventilation systems.”

    I see no provision made for folks smoking who are just going from Point A to Point B and think they can use the sidewalk.

    Isn’t that going to put smokers passing by somewhere out in traffic?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It seems it would be impossible to smoke on the sidewalk in a downtown area where you’re already likely to be near a door or window.

      • SusanBeehler

        Good, this is the downtown I would like to patronize.

        • Flyby_Knight

          I’d like to patronize a downtown where I don’t have to look at any fat people walking around. They’re ugly. Let’s outlaw cheeseburgers.

          • SusanBeehler

            Sounds like you have tunnel vision. Looking at fat people won’t hurt your vision and not all fat people eat cheeseburgers. Smoking has been proven to be harmful to your health and seeing fat people does not put your health at risk.

          • Flyby_Knight

            It puts me at risk for depression.

      • VocalYokel

        This is going to be a law enforcement nightmare.
        What happens if I am smoking in my car and park in front of a store within the dreaded (and seemingly chosen at random) 20 feet of the aforementioned “entrances, exits, operable windows, air intakes and ventilation systems”?
        I don’t smoke, and think it is a disgusting habit, so I suppose I shouldn’t give a crap about this, but the cops have real criminals to catch and it seems to me piling on another ill-advised law which can be at best be only randomly and subjectively enforced leads not only to a general contempt for laws and police, but takes resources away from fighting real crime.

        • dakotacyr

          This is not going to be a nightmare at all. Other states have instituted statewide bans, and there have been no problems. Get over it.

  • DWHoover

    This law is ridiculous. In my mind, a public area is anywhere where a surveilance camera could legally be filming. So if I own a hotel, and I allow smoking, could I legally hang a camera in a guest room? Of course not! So is a hotel room a public place? Once again, it is no. I don’t quite understand the ecigaratte, so I don’t know if there is any “residue” or evidence of being “smoked” in a hotel room.

    I just don’t predict a great enforcement of this law. If we can’t get Minot’s finest to respond to pot smoking, how are we going to get them to respond to smoking a cigarette? I understand it is the employee’s responsibility to monitor that people are in compliance of the law. But I am busy doing my job, I don’t have time to go outside with my tape measure to make sure that someone is not within the 20 foot limit of my place of business.

    I know you touched on this earlier Rob that a place could theoretically lose their licence to do business if someone is smoking in, say, a drive through. But doesn’t this open up a door of a new kind of public disobedience? Say I do not like the practices of a certain restaurant in town, could I not have a flash mob of smokers show up by the door? It is asinine to think that a business would be closed down because of me being stupid. I highly doubt it.

    • SusanBeehler

      A hotel room is a public place because once you leave the room it than goes to another member of the public, the problem with smokers they have become desensitized to their own stink. As a hotel owner you wouldn’t leave a room infested with bed bugs because you have the right to keep renting it out when it is infested; of course not it is a health issue. Health issues can and should be regulated. Smokers could have prevented this if they would have been courteous of their habit intruding on others space, but since most are in denial of their addiction and the health consequences for those around them then we the people can say enough! Just like if you are going to commit suicide it does not give you the right to take others with you.

  • Flamejob5

    I find irony in the person who voted for this ban walking down the now-smokeless Broadway in Fargo amid hundreds of closely confined autos & trucks idling passing by within feet of them churning out more noxious fumes than any smoke filled bar could pose a threat to their health. Then again, why do i have a feeling the same fascists who voted to ban smoking within privately-owned establishments were prob also in favor of the bicycle lanes?

    Little bites at a time i guess… Utopia is just over the horizon.

  • Flamejob5

    “Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that “the public interest” supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.

    ~ Ayn Rand

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