Minnesota Proposal Would Allow Smoking In Bars

By Bruce Hagevik, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A Minnesota lawmaker wants to let bar patrons smoke again, more than three years after a statewide smoking ban took effect.

Republican Rep. Tom Hackbarth of Cedar introduced legislation Monday that would allow smoking in bars, including bars attached to restaurants.

Smoking would still be banned in restaurants. Bars attached to restaurants would have to be separated physically by walls and doors kept closed.

The bill would give bars as long as six years to install ventilation systems, depending on how much of their sales come from drinks. The ventilation requirement would kick in next year for bars that sell more food than alcohol.

The bill has been referred to a health panel.

The American Lung Association in Minnesota was quick to speak out against the proposal to allow smoking in bars.

“Frankly, this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist,” said Bob Moffitt of the American Lung Association.

He said it would mean two sets of health standards for workers — one for those who are employed in bars and another for those working in offices.

“The Freedom To Breathe Act Of 2007 was a big step forward in protecting the health of workers in bars, restaurants and clubs and to go backwards now just doesn’t make much sense,” said Moffitt.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Bpb

    Finally, a Republican I can like.

    • jan

      i have a karaoke/dj show and since the smoking ban i use to be booked 2-3 nights a week, now im lucky if i get one booking a week, there are at least 5 bars that are either now for sale or closed which doesn’t help the unemployment any or the economy. when the bars are filled with 80% smokers and the others don’t really care and usually feel bad and end up outside with the smokers anyway cause otherwise their left alone sitting at bar that should say something, when our veterans who can go off to war and defend our rights, but can’t even smoke in their own legions or vfw’s makes you wonder where our rights are, when the non-smokers can tolorate smoking in a casino while their gambling they should beable to tolorate it in a privatly owned bar and a place that is paying taxes. where did our rights go?

      • Jeff

        TO blame the downturn in business on the smoking ban is just shortsighted and makes your point seem weak. The downturn in the economy is a much more logical reason why your business decreased. Also, since when are bars filled with 80% smokers? Being one of the apparently minority non-smokers, I’d like to see where this fantasy statistic is coming from. And your rights as a smoker are still there. You still have the right to smoke; smoke at home, smoke outside, just don’t do it where I’m forced to cough and smell like your cheap tobacco when I leave the bar.

      • laracroft_390

        No offense to bar owners and non-smokers. I am a smoker and I prefer to drink at home. I save more money going to the liquor store then spending twice the amount for 1 or 2 drinks at the bar. I don’t mind going to a bar and having a good time with my friends, stepping outside for a smoke, but I do mind paying more for drinks and dealing with schmucks on a ego trip and drama-seekers airing out their issues in the public to kill the positive atmosphere.

    • Richard in Minneapolis

      Your right to smoke stops at that point where my right to breathe begins.

  • monti

    one step forward, two steps back.

  • dsr

    Republicans and tobacco industry, in bed together

  • monkeyfurball

    I’m a Republican but FK this. Don’t change the no smoking laws.

    • Matryx

      I am a Democrat and I agree with you Monkeyfurball. I am a lifelong nonsmoker that lost practically half of my family to lung cancer. I would rather not have to deal with second hand for myself or others that just want to go out.

      • Non-smoker

        If there were such incredible demand for non-smoking bars, there would be non-smoking bars. There are 2 simple facts here: Smoking, by itself is a legal activity, and bar owner’s property rights are violated by the smoking ban. There is intellectually no difference between telling one property owner that they can’t smoke (or allow others to do so) while not doing the same for all property owners, so public smoking bans violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause.

  • Callie's Mom

    I’m with you monkeyfurball!

  • Ben

    Finally is right, if you don’t like it go somewhere else. Why should smokers get descriminated we pay a majority of YOUR taxes.

    • Robyn Riley

      Isn’t this the same guy that was lurking in the parking lot of a Planned Parenthood with a loaded gun? Yeah, he’s a rocket scientist.

    • dunnski57

      And cost the rest of us for your cancer, COPD, emphysema…..

      Not to mention the diseases you give the rest of us from second hand smoke.

      • Lung cancer not on top of cancer list

        Is there a question on your insurance form that asks, Are you around people that smoke? NO, the reason being second hand smoke is harmless.

  • Brady

    This should not happen Minnesota is one of the best state we want to keep moving up not back down

  • negirl

    It would be interesting to see what bars would actually switch back. Let them decide, if you don’t like it, go next door.

    • Wallys sipping

      bet a helluva lot fewer than one thinks. I’m a smiker but I actually like the ban. I can breathe in the places – imagine that. Breathe semi-fresh air. Smoke free anyone ….. I hated it in the beginning until I realized it makes sense

  • smoker

    Right on! Leave it up to the bar. If you don’t smoke, don’t go.

    • dunnski57

      Suck your poison outside. You are an addict. Face the facts.

  • Bill

    In case anyone wants to contact Rep. Hackbarth with their thoughts: rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn

    • Maria L

      That’d be like talking to a piece of concrete. Same thing … thick and inert

      • dunnski57

        Plus he packs heat wherever he goes, including stalking women.

    • Joe

      Tried that .. he doesn’t even reply to emails.

  • lib

    Smoking is a legal activity and bars are private property. The State never had the legal right to make the law in the first pl;ace. I am not a smoker, but people have rights, it you don’t want to be in a bar that allows smoking don’t prtronize the establishment. There will be plenty of bars that will remain smoke free.

    • Do unto others

      You got it right – the problem is it’s legal. Cigs are legal too.
      I say just drop some acid and warp away so I don’t have to listen to you anymore. Fly off the 50th floor …. burds can do it. Surely you can too

    • Fred

      The bar is a public place, like the mall , grocery store, hospital, restaurants, etc.

      • Fred

        Lib Grocery stores, hotels and other places are privately owned. Can’t smoke there. If your smoke stayed inside you and did not spew over everyone in the facility then I would not care if you smoked. Guns are legal to own. Can’t discharge them in many places within a city limit nor can you carry them everywhere. Sex is a legal activity, you can do it just anywhere. It is social norms. If the person smoking did not effect others then it would not be a problem.

      • lib

        Hi Fred, bars are not State property, they are privately owned. The taxes and bills are paid by a person who took a risk to invest in a business. The State should not have the right to make something legal (smoking) into something illegal.

  • soapboxgod

    Another Republican who still can’t exhibit the intestinal fortitude to lead on principle. Private property is private property. It should make no difference whatsoever whether said property is a bar, restaurant, bowling alley, pool hall, or health club for god’s sake. Stand over there or stand over here and if you can’t quite decide just politely get the hell out of the way.

  • T.L.

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, let’s hope he’s not taken seriously. Why would we take a major step backwards?

    • Patrick

      @ Eric – Bars could make money holding death matches in cages but when that got banned would you complain about profit loss. With the law as it is all bars are on the same playing field and nobody has to risk second hand smoke just to go out and have a drink.

      • Matt

        @Patrick — RIGHT ON! You’re exactly right. It can’t all boil down to money. I feel for the bar owners who claim to have lost money–I really do. But…

        Have any of you “pro-smokers” sat on the bed side of a family member on hospice care for lung cancer? That disease reduced my burly uncle to nothing but a shriveled bag of bones. I watched him suffer for months before finally passing away. He was making swimming motions with his arms as if he was drowning for the last couple days. The nurse said this is common because the patient gets the feeling that he’s drowning…for DAYS…due to lack of lung function. It took over a week before he got the relief of death.

        How much revenue is that worth?

    • Eric

      BECAUSE BUSINESS ARE LOSING MONEY…Banning smoking in bars was definatly not a step forward.

  • jd

    You’ve got to be kidding me – nothing like taking society backwards.
    Let’s see how far the tobacco taxes go when treating the various illnesses associated with smoking – I bet there would be a lot of smokers going without medical treatment.

    • lib

      statistically smokers die young and rarely use the amount of health care of non smokers.

      • AnneC

        Actually they use a TON of health care, and non-smokers pay the price in higher premiums and higher health care costs. This bill has no justification, other than the tobacco companies are trying to find a politician who will bring forward their agenda.

  • why you need it?

    Save a life or 100 …… but smokers….do it. Blow your lungs out as long as you are private pay insurance. As in just yours. I’m sick of paying rates jacked sky high for drunks and smokers. Just use a gun and be done. ;-)

    • Skeezer


    • carla

      tired of paying for people with diabetes too due to being obese? Tired of paying for risk takers of extreme sports when they are paralyzed? Get over paying insurance rates for others. We all do and we always will.

  • Kevin

    I smoiked for 15 years….I quit when the ban took effect to protest the fact that I would not contribute my smoking dollars to the State. I feel better….still mad….but a healthier mad….I said back then that fat people cost the state system alot more that smokers….they do…..and they will put taxes on fat foods soon….already have in some states….big brother is funny…..he doesnt care what he is doing while he watches you…..but he sure cares about what your doing…..

    • Burnsville Bubba

      like it Kevin – pounded down the heaters for 41 years. Took it’s toll for sure and someday I’ll be a burden on the system too I suspect. But they sure loved my tax money all those years.
      I sensed when I ceased drinking in the 70’s they may have had a short term cut back somewhere. Damkit – I supported more silly stuff with my sin taxes over the years than I care to think about.
      To me it is so funny when people are in a bar with a drink, pounded down a smoke and complaining about taxes. That always made my day bright. Many have zero clue as to how much they handing out to Big Bro

    • soapboxgod

      The notion that smokers place a heavy burden on the system and are subsidized by said system has been disproven numerous times. In short one need only consider the amount of taxes paid in by smokers coupled with their shorter life expectancy. True when they are hospitalized their care will likely be more costly than it otherwise would but they tend to not have repeated and prolonged stays compared to their non-smoking counterparts.

      • Fred

        Please tell me where you get your statistics from. It would be an amazing article if were written by someone other than the tobacco companies.

  • Dave Campbell

    What gives smokers the right to tell no smokers not to go to go to a bar if we don’t like smoking? Where does it say that having a drink and smoking go hand in hand? Just because you pay taxes so that you can enjoy your foul habit that poisons the rest of us with second hand smoke, you don’t have the right to tell us where we can go to have a drink with friends. As far as I’m concerned the tax on cigarettes should be no less than $20.00 dollars a pack. You people cause more deaths in this state than all the violent crimes combined. Smoking is no more of a right than shooting someone on a street corner! Hackbarth doesn’t have a clue!

    • paab

      How about pot man? You don’t have to patronize a bar if they allow smoking. Go to a bar that is non smoking. Your dollar will speak louder that your voice.

    • fed up

      Hey nonsmoker what gives you the right to say that we have to go somewhere eles. Just so that you don’t have to breath in the secondhand smoke. When the people who go to bars and have drinks. Then what they drive home and there drunk. So then what is the number of drunk drives killing people. I think that it is about time everybody stops judging people for what they do to themself. If they want to die from it let. There is a lot more stuff out there who get cancer from other things you going to ban that to.

    • Common Sense

      What gives non-smokers the right to tell smokers they can’t light up if they don’t like smoking? -Sincerely, Non-smoker

    • Calley

      What gives non-smoker’s the right to decide that smoker’s should not smoke? You do realize what drinking alcohol does to your liver? Look up how many deaths were a direct result of alcohol consumption. This ranges everywhere from car accidents, to domestic violence, to liver disease. So before you preach on about smoking and how it may or may not affect you while drinking poison. You should do some research.

  • Ricky M

    First of all LIB learn to spell. Second of all the gov’t has every right to enforce the smoking ban. Using your logic the gov’t should not step in if a restaurant is serving food that is making people sick. After all the restaurants are private property. Smoking affects everyone who breaths it in.

    • lib

      Selling spoiled food isn’t legal, and second hand smoke is bad science in the name of poliitcal correctness.

      • CG

        I am really sorry for any children you may have. Not only because you’re killing them with your 2nd hand smoke, but because they have to put up wtih a moron like you.

    • Sarah

      I completely agree. Just because you’re addicted to smoking and want to increase your chances of lung cancer and a premature death doesn’t mean that the rest of us that go out in public have to suffer from your nauseating smell.

  • Alex Danzberger

    You have got to be kidding me! Lock this moron in a room with a dozen smokers and throw away the key.

    • lib

      Alex, you should be up for reasoned discourse, even if someone doesn’t agree with you.

  • Lee

    I like the smoking ban, I will not accuse anyone of costing taxpayers more money than someone else, I would not support this change after it has taken so long to happen. Plain and simple… stop pointing fingers people! We are all responsible for our own actions.

  • Get Real

    Here is the main difference between a republican and a demoncrat

    If a republican doesn’t like smoke, he doesn’t smoke.

    If a demoncrat doesn’t like smoke, nobody can smoke.

    • CG

      TO GET REAL:
      But your Republican smoker is passing along 2nd hand smoke to me and all other non-smokers in a bar I also want to enjoy. Or is this just a republican bar. That makes sense – you can all get cancer together.

    • Get Real

      If it was up to me, you would not be at the bar because i would stop your welfare checks and you would not have any money to go to the bar

    • Leah

      Yep. You got it!

  • Jaquelyn Mack

    It seems that the people who are most upset about this would never even step into a bar. Leave the business owners alone and let them decide. Everyone should take their negative energy about this and do something about a real issue.

  • Alex Danzberger

    This guy is a wing nut. Google his name and you’ll see he was picked up by police when seen carrying around a Planned Parenthood clinic. He explained it all away, stating that he was looking for a “girl friend” he had met online that had declined to have dinner with him. He was stalking her to be sure that she wasn’t out with another guy!!! How do idiots like this get elected in the first place and stay in office?

    • pat

      Like the mental case who is now Governor?

      • Wendell

        aaah Pat – least the Gov hasn’t been this dumb now.
        You trying to sound like an idiot or are you indeed one? ;-)

  • jeandermer

    Let’s see–bar drinking or lung cancer–bar drinking or lung cancer–hmmmmmmmmm!

  • glass houses

    All the BS in the world is not going to change the fact that smokers have just as much rights as no-smokers… All of us are equal, just some (non-smokers) are more equal…

    • Wendell

      I’m a heavy smoker — but think the ban was a wise move. BTW – my Brother owns 2 bars. Not a problem. ;-)

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