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 Issue date:
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Shifting the Burden of Smoking
Posting Date: 02/06/2012

Michael McGreer

The Mesquite Mayor and the City Council have been asked to pass an ordinance banning smoking in the casinos, bars and smoke shops. Smoking is already banned in all other public buildings.

Those opposing such an ordinance offer a series of arguments from a violation of a person's right to smoke, to the potential loss of business in local casinos and bars. Under scrutiny, these arguments fall apart.

Certainly people can smoke in the privacy of their own home or outdoors. But there is no constitutional right to smoke. In simple terms, one does not have the right to endanger another's health with first, second, or third hand tobacco smoke.

Further advances in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which took effect in 1992 under George W. Bush, protects both employees and customers, with smoke-related diseases, from discrimination in businesses with fifteen or more employees (Title I). In the very near

future this will become a significant factor in ending smoking in bars and casinos.

Smoking-related disease is expensive but businesses that allow smoking shift the cost burden to the public in a practice called “Cost-Shifting.”

Cost-shifting exists when smoke-filled establishments shift the actual health costs of smoking related diseases to the public, who are required to pay more for health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid, than would be otherwise expected.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the cost of caring for people with health problems caused by cigarette smoking, counting all sources of medical payments, was about $96 billion per year.

Dr. Robert M. Shepard, MD, during his recent visit to Mesquite, pointed to studies showing that smoking related heart diseases could be reduced by an average of 20 percent in communities that pass smoke-free ordinances.

Dr. Shepard said it best, “It's such a simple problem to correct. Pass an ordinance and ban smoking."


  • Posted Date: 02/06/2012
    Let us not be disingenuous Mr McGreer, drinking causes far more social ills, deaths, family problems, crime, and so many other problems that we should outlaw it, too. Why are the supporters of this smoking plan not being honest and outlawing this real villain of our society, too? It is much worse than smoking ever could be.
    By: Susan
  • Posted Date: 02/06/2012
    Michael, I never thought Iíd see you positively refer to George W. Bush in any article. That mustíve been the hardest sentence youíve ever typed. Congratulations on your progress.
    By: Reality
  • Posted Date: 02/06/2012
    I thought we wanted the government out of our lives. Now you want them to intrude more? I agree if you are going to ban smoking, ban drinking too.
    By: Trent
  • Posted Date: 02/06/2012
    Here's a question for all the Smoke-Free zealots: if you think it's that important and you think you have the majority of public backing for your movement, why not put it to a vote of the people instead of relying on pressuring just five people? Put it on the ballot and let all of us decide. Or, do you think the idea might go down in flames and you'll lose? Better yet, let the PRIVATE business owners decide what's best for their business. You didn't put any money, sweat, and tears into running these businesses so why should you get to decide what's best for them now.
    By: Rachael
  • Posted Date: 02/07/2012
    Good Job Mike. I don't think some of your readers remember prohibition the time when drinking was prohibited by the 18th ammendment to the constitution.
    By: Fred Toval
  • Posted Date: 04/13/2012
    You can't be serious. "Good Job Mike. I don't think some of your readers remember prohibition the time when drinking was prohibited by the 18th ammendment to the constitution. By: Fred Toval" It was repealed for doing more damage than good, BY THE PEOPLE What a laugh
    By: Ucant be serious
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