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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

How To Beat The Upcoming Smoking Ban

Posted Friday, April 1, 2011, at 12:00 AM

Our country's Constitution has been brought up numerous times during the often-heated discussions over the City of Cape Girardeau's upcoming vote to ban smoking in public places.

One person who commented on this website even said, "There is no right to smoke guaranteed in our U.S. Constitution."

The person who posted that comment was accurate. There is nothing specifically defined in the Bill of Rights pertaining to smoking. Considering when it was created, the legislators who ratified that document probably would have thought James Madison -- the author of the Bill of Rights -- was daft if he had suggested it.

Tobacco was the economic engine that drove the colonies and early America. That is how most people made a living. Tobacco was even used as currency. It would have seemed asinine back then to include an amendment saying that the people have the right to grow and smoke tobacco if they chose to do so. It would have been like telling everyone that they have the right to breath.

Hmmmm... Perhaps that was not the best analogy.

But I digress. I believe that if this ban passes -- and it probably will -- that smokers could still light up downtown at their favorite establishments, safely protected by the Constitution.

For instance, if at least two smokers met in Port Cape to discuss the awfulness of this ordinance, I think they could smoke on the basis of the First Amendment which "prohibits the making of any law...interfering with the right to peaceably assemble."

As long as the Coalition Opposing Un-American Girardeaun Hitler-types -- COUGH for short -- is meeting peacefully, they have the law on their side. Now if you think this is far-fetched consider the actual (It is real. Google it yourself.) U.S. Supreme Court case of De Jonge v. Oregon from 1937. Here is a summary of the court case I found online:

Dirk De Jonge, a Communist party member, had organized a meeting in Portland, Oregon, to protest police violence against striking workers. Though the meeting was peaceful, the state convicted him for selling Communist pamphlets in violation of a statute prohibiting "any unlawful acts or methods as a means of accomplishing or effecting industrial or political change or revolution."

In overturning the conviction, the Supreme Court declared that "peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime."

Looks like a loophole to me.

But if the right to assemble seems like a questionable way to avoid the smoking ban, there's always the sure-fire Constitutional protection of religion. The proposed smoking ordinance has no restrictions for churches, I'm sure for that very reason.

It wouldn't take much to church-ify a few of the downtown bars which are the primary targets of this ban. All they would need to do is have a staff member ordained by one of the hundreds of websites that do that sort of thing and start conducting "services." This could be a prayer or Bible verse reading at the top of every hour followed of course by communion specials.

While not mandatory, they may also want to change their names to be a bit more church-like. For instance, Rude Dog just doesn't sound like a place of worship, but Our Father of the Burning Leaf does. Buckner's could become the First Assembly Of The Brewing Brotherhood.

Or our new houses of worship could mimic the trend of some contemporary Christian churches like Sanctuary in California or The Cool Church in Tuscon and use more vogueish sounding names.

Sinners would be a good moniker although considering that this is a smoking ban my favorite is Holy Smokes!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Let's not be hoodwinked into voting for this ban which is nothing more than an effort, with outside money from lobbyist to control what we can do in Cape. Tuesday a bunch of people who have never gone to a bar and will never go into a bar will decide what we can do in a bar so that Johnson and Johnson can make money selling smoking cessation products. They make millions every time they get one of these bans against citizens rightsvoted in.

Make no mistake the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, which donated the big monay through the ACS is a lobbying arm of Johnson and Johnson!

-- Posted by riverdog on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 1:00 PM

J&J has boxed the compass on this issue. Either use Nicorette to appease the habit, or use BandAids to bind the wounds after that beating-that-comes-in-a-can is unleashed on the audacious smokers.

Robert Woods Johnson, you magnificent boystard! I read your book!!

-- Posted by Just_Wondering1 on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 1:20 PM

"The proposed smoking ordinance has no restrictions for churches"

Of course not. Because if it did it would need to address the question of incense smoke. Burning incense creates 4.5 times the particulate matter of cigarette smoke. Better yet our local Catholic & Episocoal churches let young alter boys go nuts with thuribles full of the stuff.

-- Posted by Nil on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 2:54 PM

yes finally. um where do i begin. i have been looking for a place to vote for opposing smoking ban. i am considered a tourist n i have brought five different friends down to cape to play in thee billiard center tournies on friday nights about a half a dozen times, not to mention with many acquintances. all of us enjoy thee smoking enviro at the establishment. when we get done we enjoy the nightlife. we have even stayed overnight a couple of times at the super 8. so u have my vote and if u tell us where to vote, u might have dozens. thank u for ur time. i dont know if im even making a difference emailing u or not so please help.

-- Posted by shortcircuit on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 7:55 PM


i reckon you have to be a resident of the City of Cape to vote .

-- Posted by Bloody.. on Fri, Apr 1, 2011, at 9:34 PM

Good one, Bloody. But that never was an obstacle to CACGs icon, ACORN:


-- Posted by mntvernon on Sat, Apr 2, 2011, at 1:53 AM

The restrictive smoking ban was voted down in Cape for the following reasons;

1) A person's business that they have put their life and money is not a "public place" and the goverment should be very careful about puting restrictions on a legal activity on you private property.

2) This was in no way a "local effort". The campaign was waged with corporate money from a lobbying group attempting to sell their products with the goverment's help. It was run from their PR agency in the East. Their first two spokespersons were not residents of Cape and when that was pointed out they "dissappeared".

3) citizens are very tired of goverment interference with their daily lives and the gradual erosion of their rights. While it's undoubtly true that "the right to smoke" is not specifically mentioned in the constitution, it would have been ludicrous to propose since tobacco was used for currency at that time and was the country's largest export. Like it or not,we still have the FREEDOM to smoke in this country!

4) All the claims about second-hand smoke are bogus and the "studies" are paid for by BIG PHARMA. OSHA says that second-hand smoke has 1000 TIMES less carcinagens than their LOWEST standards.

-- Posted by riverdog on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 11:34 AM

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The Irony Of It All
Brad Hollerbach
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Brad Hollerbach is the Director of Information Technology for the Southeast Missourian. His opinions are his own and do not reflect those of the newspaper or its editorial board. He writes this blog primarily for his own amusement and to parody the absurdities of the world we live in. He lives with his wife and two cats that don't really care for one another in Cape.

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