Smoking Bans: "An Affront to Freedom ... An Assault on Small Business"
In Britain, where smoking in enclosed public places became totally illegal in 2007, beer sales are down by 10 per cent; analysts attribute half of that to the smoking law. Pubs are now closing at a record rate of 36 a week. ... In France, more than 500 of the 40,000 cafés and bars disappeared last year. Again, the ban is largely blamed. And in France, the climate is more conducive to sitting outside with a Ricard and a Gauloise.NO's Andrew Stuttaford says it hasn't been quite that bad in New York, where the New York City Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 went into effect in March '03. But he has a theory about that, which is: NYC's reliency thus far "probably reflect[s] the fact that many of the anti-smoking fatwas were introduced at a time of economic strength." Or, the opposite of the environment in which Dallas passed its anti-smoking law, which goes into effect April 10. --Robert Wilonsky