Another One Bites the Dust: DC Overtaken by Anti-Smoking Anschluss

Expect a business boom in Northern Virginia, as DC acted once again in a manner actively hostile to small business owners. From Reuters:

Washington, D.C.’s city council on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a smoking ban for bars, restaurants and other work and public places, but Mayor Anthony Williams said he may not sign the measure.

The council voted 12-1 in favor of the legislation, which would declare existing indoor bars, restaurants, brew-pubs and nightclubs in the U.S. capital smoke-free as of Jan. 1, 2007.

It doesn’t matter if the Mayor vetoes, BTW. There are enough council votes to override it.

Sue Jeffers (who is rumored to be a potential Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate) sent a letter to the DC City Council warning them of the detrimental impact it will have on local bars, but her words were ignored by the self-righteous do-gooders in Washington. She introduced the topic:

It has come to my attention that your city is considering a city smoking ban. I own a bar in Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis and have first hand experience in the damage these bans cause. I strongly suggest you do not make the same mistakes made in our city and county. Let me share a few of our stories.

and then fired a long page of data for the benefit of the DC council. Here’s a clip:

To date we have 35 closed businesses with another 50-60 barely hanging on. The Minneapolis Hospitality Association can document lost revenues of over a million dollars a month compared the year before. We can document over 2000 lost jobs. The heartbreaking stories of lost jobs, revenues and businesses can be read at, click on Diary of a Disaster to read our story.

Local restaurant and bar owners made similar points to the deaf ears in DC:

Restaurant owners point to Montgomery County, which went smoke-free in late 2003, and Howard County, which restricted smoking to separately ventilated areas in 1996.

Clyde’s, a Washington chain of 12 restaurants, saw bar business at its Chevy Chase location fall 30 percent after the ban was enacted. At its Rockville location, they saw a 20 percent drop, said Claude Anderson, corporate operations manager at Clyde’s Restaurant Group.

“We would expect the same to happen in D.C.,” Mr. Anderson said.

They saw a similar drop in its Howard County location in 1996.

“To date, we haven’t recovered yet,” he said.

It looks like the smokophobes have won another round — at the expense of small business owners. I’ll be certain to stay in Crystal City or Rosslyn hotels on my future trips to DC. But not at the Westin.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Radley Balko (from The Agitator and Cato fellow) testified before the DC city council (thanks rev. quitter!)

Healthists value longevity over a life well-lived. Abstention over indulgence. They believe adding years to the end of your life is the primary reason for living.

I’d have no problem with that if they only applied those values to themselves. But they want to use the law to make the rest of us live by them, too.

This is Nanny Statist government. Its roots go back to alcohol prohibition. It is government that wipes your nose when it’s dirty, tells you to eat your vegetables, and makes sure you’re in bed by ten.

Update by Stephen Gordon: It looks as if the Sudatenland DC and now Austria Chicago have been taken over.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I’m perfectly fine with Westin’s decision — it is their business. However, I like cigars so they won’t get my business.

    Lots of nice bars and restuarants in Arlington and Crystal City, but I’ll miss Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan. Auf wiedersehen, Brickskeller.

  2. My husband and I laughed about the Westin smoking ban earlier tonight. Hehe- he scooped HoT. Anyway, if you know us, you know that we travel more than the average bear, and you know that we would NEVER stay at a hotel that banned smoking. (OK, once at the Ritz in San Fran, but we took turns wearing the fluffy robe while blowing smoke out the window.) No matter what anyone says about their character, France and Asia are the last free places for those of us that wish to have a cigarette or cigar in a public place. I watch freedom slip from our fingers here, but when the aforementioned regions outlaw smoking, it will be time to consider an overdose of whatever drug is most readily available. (Maybe the new gateway drug?)

  3. Y’know, one of these days, some numbnuts is going to try making it illegal to smoke in ones’ home – oh, wait, that’s already been tried.

    This doesn’t bode well, even for us pipe-and-cigar-only smokers. What eeediots there be in PC-land.

  4. Michelle,

    Don’t they have two robes at the SF Ritz Carlton? Most of the Ritzs I stay at have matched sets.

    Or had you already stolen one and hidden it in your luggage along with the ashtrays and hotel soap? :)

  5. Come on man, you know they get a buck 25 for those robes. I am one broke wench. My car sucks too much gas for me to have lux items.

  6. What happened to the good old days when you could smoke in/at:

    Grocery stores
    Department stores
    Business meetings
    TV talk shows
    Hospitals, including your room
    Anywhere you damn well pleased

    I don’t smoke anymore. Quit about 10 years ago but I believe if you got em, light em. I cannot fault smokers if I want to keep my pittance of freedom I still have.

  7. i live in california where a bar smoking ban went into effect a few years ago. ever since smokers learned they couldn’t smoke in bars they gave up drinking too and all the bars went out of business.

    oh wait, that didn’t happen at all.

  8. Radley’s testimony is something worth printing and saving for the day they try and pass this in your town.

    Of course, it didn’t really work out too well in DC, but I think the open forum was meant more for procedure (they already made up their minds).

  9. I think anyone who can not go one hour with out a smoke needs help. Food tastes much better for you and the people around you when smoke isnt in your lungs and in the air. Sometimes smoking sections just wont do .. freedom is one thing effecting other peoples health is another. Smokeing bans in restaurants should pass and everyone should learn that when you cant smoke for an hour, its not the end of the world . as a matter of fact you should thank the restaurant for saving your life. every cigarett takes 2 min AWAY FROM YOUR LIFE. .. think about it.

  10. We beat the smoking ban in St.Louis by working hard and presenting the big studies that exonerate ETS. The only way to beat bans is to challenge the junk science upon which they are based. The Libertarian party was a big help. Government restriction of smoking is a natural issue for them. NYCCLASH’s website was also indispensable:

  11. way to go Carly! Smoking is very bad for your heath. All of you other peopel are addicted to a product from the industry. Yes it is your chocie to smoke and you can make the desision to kill yourself but its not up to you to kill everyone eles.