First of all I'm a smoker and my drinking destination of choice is NOT dictated by the establishment's smoking facilities, in fact it makes no difference. I don't smoke in my house so I'm used to going outside anyway. But all of this is beside the real point, and that is the smoking ban IS NOT the main cause of sales declines in these bars. The math just doesn't add up because the percentage of smokers is not large enough to account for the decline in sales. And countless studies have shown that smoking bans have little effect on the local economy. For example, more than two years after it went into effect, Michigan’s indoor smoking ban at businesses has had no significant negative impact on bars and restaurants. This is just one example of MANY.
The real culprit is the economy. People don't go out to bars to drink as much anymore because it's just too damn expensive. This is why nationally, bar and restaurant sales are down, but liquor store sales are up. People pack into bars because either because of entertainment, or because the liquor is cheap. Go downtown and you'll find bars like the Cactus still packed to the doors every weekend. Its because their drinks are 50% cheaper than all the other bars downtown (Not to mention stiff mixing). This is the same reason bars in Garden City are still busy. In these bars you don't have to deal with downtown parking, over-priced drinks, and douche-bag cops harassing you.
Still it's a sad reality that some bars will close, but the smoking ban is not to blame. Their are too many bars in Boise, the free market will ultimately decide who stays and who goes. But this whole "law of unintended consequences" nonsense needs to be corrected.
First there is no "law of unintended consequences" it was made up by those who want a way to rationalize the impediment of human progress. Unintended consequences are a reality to any decision made for or by a society. When making a decision, one must consider the unintended consequences and decide if they are worth the cost for the greater good. In the case of a smoking ban; the health and well-being of the majority of those who do not smoke is worth risking a few businesses for. After all, it's much easier to get a new job than it is to get a new set of lungs.
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