Minnesota Goes Smoke Free Next Week

Just a reminder.

The bill which was passed by the legislature on May 12 and signed into law on May 16 by Governor Pawlenty will go into effect on October 1, 2007. The law prohibits smoking in a public place or, at a public meeting, in a place of employment, or in public transportation.

There are a few exceptions to the law. Some of the exceptions include the family farm, farm vehicles and construction equipment, a disabled veteran’s rest camp in Washington county and private homes, residences, and automobiles. Smoking is also still allowed outside of restaurants, bars, and bingo halls.

Penalties for not complying with the new law vary. For business owners who knowingly fail to comply with the new law will be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Likewise, anyone who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited is also guilty of a petty misdemeanor. There is also a protection against retaliation written into the law for anyone, either a worker or a member of the public, who reports anyone who is smoking in a smoke free area.

Maybe I’ll venture out of Hennepin County more often now that I can breath in?

Is the Smoking Ban Hurting Charities?

Interesting discussion on the St. Paul Issues List at E-Democracy regarding the smoking ban and its effect on pull tab sales:

E-Democracy.Org: default

The smoking ban has improved the health of those who patronize and work in bars but I still hear a terrible gasping coming from these establishments.

It’s the sound of charitable gambling organizations on life support. The city has offered to help bars add patios to offset the smoking ban; what are they offering nonprofits that rent space in these bars?

To me, this raises the larger question: Should charities be pull-tab dependent?
Assuming the smoking ban IS the cause of the drop off in pull-tab sales, shouldn’t charities simply find a different way to seek out the un-spent money? Perhaps something that would put a larger percentage of the pull-tab expenditures to work for charitable causes?