Unintended consequences

Del Snavely, Crosby

The smoking ban for bars has had unintentional consequences, or were they?

As a bar owner I am trying to recover from the smoking ban on bars. Not because people can’t smoke in my bar anymore, but because of all the “extras” in the law that make it impossible for me to make anyone who smokes in any way “comfortable.” Customers must be 20 feet from any doors, windows or air intake to smoke, fine. However, any structure to help keep smokers out of the elements can only be 33 percent enclosed. Considering every wall constitutes 25 percent, there is no way to come to 33 percent. I can’t even put a fence around my back lot for a beer garden, because both sides of the fence constitute 50 percent and even without a roof, it does not comply with state smoking laws. I could cover the entire lot if I wanted with no problem from the health department. I just can’t put a fence around it. I guess we don’t have wind in North Dakota.

We as bar owners, restaurant owners, and any businesses who want their rights back, need to challenge this law. I, for one, did not put my hard-earned money and sweat into this business to see “moral crusaders” try to push more laws that only regulate me and mine. I have an idea. Let’s make some laws that say that outside interests with lots of money can’t run TV commercials that lie to people, to help get laws passed for their moral crusade, while removing property rights from business owners. If you own a business in North Dakota, you better check with the health department before you put up anything outside your business that could even resemble a wall. Remember, that equals 25 percent and you can’t divide the remaining 8 percent, so that’s all you get. The thing I tell my customers is, “Go out to your car, start it and sit in comfort to smoke, burn some gas and have a smoke, too. It’s not illegal, yet.”