Dec 16, 2009

Newspaper passes off opinion piece on smoking ban as news

It appears that the news hole of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is matching its editorial page or the two are merging, based on an article in Wednesday’s edition on the workplace smoking ban called “Business owners expect to take hit.”

The paper has consistently editorialized against the smoking ban approved last Thursday and even ridiculed it. The fact is there is not one shred of evidence to support the claim that bars and restaurants will be hurt by the smoking ban. How do we know that? Because we are smoke free. have evidence from the 37 other states that are smoke free and entire countries that

We also have Michigan-based studies from respected organizations.

The University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study on May 29, 2009 that concluded the state's bars and restaurants would not be hurt by a proposed workplace smoking ban. Another recent study in the spring of 2008 by the leading Lansing research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. - called “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan” – also found a smoking ban had no negative economic impact on bars and restaurants.

I know the reporter knew about theses studies because I had a friendly debate with him on the smoking ban over the weekend on Facebook. He, as the article shows, is against the smoking ban.

It might be a fair article if it was on the opinion page because the business owners who are quoted in saying a ban will hurt them are basing it on their opinion, not on real evidence or results. Also, no where does anyone ask the questions: how can the 20-23 percent who still smoke have such an effect on business?

The manager of the Howell Bowl-E-Drome makes the ridiculous, baseless claim that “he expects a 25 percent to 30 percent loss of business when the ban goes into effect. “ Does he really believe people will stop bowling just because they can’t smoke and bowl at the same time? Please. Why not challenge that ridiculous claim?

The manager of Lu & Carl's and Stout Irish Pub, two nice places off of Grand River in Brighton that I have been to, is claiming that he will lose business. But the even more ridiculous claim he makes is that customers will drive more than 40 miles to a Detroit casino just to have a smoke and a beer.

If the customer does that, they will also have to gamble because the ban only exempts the casino gaming floor, not the casino’s bars and restaurants. Why was that not brought out in the article? I know the reporter knew about it.

The only restaurant the kills the reporter’s premise is from Livingston County’s most popular and successful restaurant, Stillwater Grill in Brighton. Here is the major difference between this and the claim by the manger at Lu & Carl's and Stout Irish Pub: it’s based on results, not opinion.

It would have been hard to ignore the Stillwater Grill in the story because it is named the top restaurant every year in the poll the paper runs annually.

The Stillwater Grill in Brighton went completely smoke-free on its own about a year ago in both the dining area and bar, and the results have been the same as what we have seen in the 37 other smokefree states.

General Manager Dan Carter said, "We never saw a decrease because of it. We actually saw more people coming in and saying positive things than coming in and saying negative things.”

The bottom line is that this is a public health issue, and even if it did hurt business it should not matter because secondhand smoke is deadly and there is no is safe amount of secondhand smoke. The fact that it does not hurt business is just a bonus.

The Governor will sign House Bill 4377 into law on Friday afternoon, and the smoking ban will go into effect May 1.


bob said...

After nearly two years, many small neighborhood bars near me in Chicago ignore the ban to stay in business. A TV station recently visited some of them, and then conducted a text-in poll. The poll showed that 65 percent of their viewers think that the ban for bars should be repealed.

Communications guru said...

Your point? They are clearly violating the law, but not to stay in business. Explain to me how only 20-23 percent of the population can put anyone out of business, bob.

Not Anonymous said...

You might want to read the study at the UofM you keep quoting.

In addition, here's more.

And there's this one showing how the stats are skewed.

Of course, you'll claim each has their own agenda, yet you refuse to believe that the other side has their own agenda.

Communications guru said...

I read it anonymous. The fact is there is no reliable study to show that a smoking ban hurts business. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me how just 20-22 percent of the population can have such an economic effect. But that’s really irreverent because this is a public health issue.

Not Anonymous said...

Yep. Don't let facts get in the way of your bias.

I see you're writing more during the day again. It amazes me that a guy that doesn't provide health insurance for his wife sits around banging on a computer all day when he could be out looking for some work to get his wife the needed insurance.

I can only wonder if something happens to her if you'll blame your laziness or you'll blame it on her not having any health insurance. Oh well, typical liberal. Wait for it to be given to you for nothing rather than going out and working for what's needed.

Communications guru said...

Wow, you really had to search for those, anonymous. Just like the Press & Argus piece, the TV spot from New Jersey appears to be written to fit a conclusion.

From the U of M study, “On the economic front, however, most research shows smoke-free legislation had either no effect or a positive effect on hospitality industry revenues. Tamara Wilder, a research fellow at the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, says other studies that found negative effects from the legislation were poorly designed and didn't factor economic conditions, which is important to determine what causes revenue decreases.

Here’s another one that debunks the claim from the one Maine bar owner you cherry picked, “The Economic Impact of Indoor Smoking Bans,” by the Research Director

Seriously, an opinion column from a Pennsylvania student is your proof that a ban is hurting Pennsylvania? Please.

As for Ireland, from the British Journal of General Practice, “But reviews of objective data in other countries have indicated that although some sectors may suffer, particularly in the short term, overall there are unlikely to be long-term adverse economic effects.4,5 Preliminary evidence from the Republic of Ireland indicates a small downturn, but this should be viewed in light of the downward trends that were evident prior to the ban. However, given the seriousness of the health consequences of exposure to passive smoke, the economic argument is hardly relevant.”

Skewing the numbers? David W. Kuneman is a retired research chemist for Philip Morris USA and vocal opponent of smoking restrictions.
Michael J. McFadden?

Seriously? The HealthNewsDigest? How about the U.S. Surgeon General? “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General.”

Communications guru said...

I have nothing but facts. Because I keep kicking your ass, anonymous, you have to stoop to personal attack because the facts are not on your side.

I’m worked all my life, currently have three jobs, retired after 20 years in the military and I don’t have health care. What is it I’m waiting to be given to me, anonymous? By the way, “banging on a computer all day is my primary job.” See, I’m not like you, anonymous, I don’t want something for nothing.

Republican Michigander said...

Stillwater chose to be non-smoking. That's their choice and it works for them. Stout and Lu and Carl's chose to have smoking. That works for them.

It should be their decision to make, not the goon squads in Lansing.

Communications guru said...

Sorry, protecting the public health is not a choice or an option.

Not Anonymous said...

The UofM study shows two cases. One that the ban had no effect on and one that it had an effect on. They chose to believe the one that no effect was found. But then, UofM is the liberal bastion in Michigan.

You do have a problem with the Livinston County paper. I think it's more along the lines of a disgruntled former employee.

The New Jersey spot appears to be written to fit a conclusion? You decided that? Well then I guess I have a conclusion too. You were fired from the Livingston paper for poor grammar.

I really do like this one that you put out: "“But reviews of objective data in other countries have indicated that although some sectors may suffer, particularly in the short term, overall there are unlikely to be long-term adverse economic effects."

Unlikely???? THis is how they make things factual? "Unlikely".

The surgeon general is a political appointee.

You spelled it wrong. You're not kicking my ass. You might be "Kissing" my ass, but you're not kicking it. You really have to be an ass if you think it's possible to win debates on here.

So now you have three jobs. It used to be two and one of them was as a legislative aid. Good to know that our tax dollars are paying for you to sit and write on a blog that has nothing to do with your job as a legislative aid. But then, some people do make themselves sound important when they have nothing else to live for.

I can protect my health myself. I don't need government to step in to do it for me. Obviously you do. Most people call those that have to help others with their health "parents". Apparently, you prefer mother government.

I don't think we need someone that can't take care of his own family telling the rest of us that we need to be prottected.

Communications guru said...

The U of M conclusion is pretty clear, and it uses actual evidence, not opinion.

No, I don’t have a “problem with the Livinston (sic) County paper,” or the Livingston County paper. I have a problem with that particular story and their editorial position on this issue.

Correct, the New Jersey spot appears to be written to fit a conclusion. Ah, the personal attacks. I guess when the facts are not on your side this is where you have to go, in the sewer. But once again, anonymous, you are wrong.

Yes, unlikely based on results. That was also five years ago. The Surgeon General is a medical doctor. Are you really trying to make the case that secondhand smoke is not harmful? Even you can’t be that stupid.

I know; you have never won a debate with me, and I doubt you ever will. Why not try bringing some facts to the debate for a change, anonymous, instead of baseless, false personal attacks.

You can protect your health yourself? So, when you go into a bar or restaurant with smoking you wear a gas mask? Yes, I do need the government to protect my public health. That’s their job.

It wasn’t me that told you that you need to be protected; it was the majority of the Michigan Legislature.