Virginia Law Makers Rally Around Big Tobacco.

 In an effort to safeguard the interest of Altria and other large cigarette manufactures, Virginia law makers are working on legislation that would classify certain retailers as manufactures. All that would be required is that a seller sell roll your own type products and can make available to their customers the equipment for them to roll their own cigarettes. Keep in mind that these retailers do not themselves manufacture cigarettes or any thing else for that matter.  Imagine a retailer who sells you flour and baking soda so that you can bake you own bread.  Now imagine a law requiring this retailer to adhere to all the laws and regulations that govern Wonder Bread. Sound ridiculous, but this is exactly what is happening.

You may not see how this affects you, the non smoker. Consider that once this monkey is out of the cage, the next banana grab may be something dear to you.  Might home beer and wine makers be next? Where does it stop?  If nothing else, what about fair play!

Personally, I have no aversion to large tobacco companies. They make a legal product available to a willing cliental. But I can’t be silent as I see government enlisted to clear the playing field of competition on their behalf. It is unfair to these small business people that have invested so much. It is also unfair to the consumer. To say the least, it is un-American.  It should not be the business of our elected officials to rid us of the small businesses that dare to compete with the big guys.

If this becomes law, then anyone who sells anything that can be made into something else is at risk of at some point being classed as a manufacture. Why not, the ground work will have been laid.  It is a slippery slope.  If you don’t believe it, just look at what smoking bans have already become. There are certain foods banned in New York and California.  In some localities, toys are banned in happy meals.

There is also a health issue that goes with this. When an individual make a cigarette for themselves it is typically 100% tobacco. When a manufacturer does it, there is as little as 37 % tobacco used. The rest is fillers and  chemicals. This affects all of us. How can we justify allowing our government to close the door on those who wish to avoid these additives.

Please contact your representatives and tell them no to House Bill HB 314 and the Senate equivalent SB 74.

Joe’s Inn again. A follow up. April, 7th

There seems to be some skepticism of my assertion that Joe’s new smoking policy will have a detrimental impact on their business. These impressions were based on my visit of March 28th. I have been told that Mondays are always slow. Also, it was the first day of the new smoking policy, that given a few days, they (the smokers) will return. So it’s only fair that I consider the possibility that I had indeed jumped to a conclusion.

Needless to say another visit was in order to insure that what I had witnessed wasn’t simply an anomaly. So here we are again, this time a Thursday (April 7th) 12:20pm – 1:20pm. As you can see from the photo below, things are at least as dismal as they were on the Monday visit.   I do regret that I don’t have a pre March 28th photo to show. If you’re a Joe’s customer then you know how packed the place always was at lunch time. If you weren’t, then you have to take my word for it.

 

 

 So where does this leave us. One very good restaurant operated by very good people that had made one very bad choice. They believed that they could rebuff their loyal customers without consequence. I have been one of those customers for years now, and even though I quit smoking last December, I still use the smoking side. Honestly, I really can’t tell much deference in air quality since the new policy has been in effect. I wonder which of the nearby smoking restaurants are picking up Joe’s refugee customers. That could make for an interesting next post.  Here are some of the possibilities; Aladdin, BANDITOS BURRITO LOUNGE, Mulligan’s Sports Grille, Penny Lane Pub and The Republic to name a few.

 I am very proud of these customers for standing up for themselves. I understand that in some parts of the state they are more like sheep. Incidentally, even though I quit smoking, I still support these smokers by avoiding nonsmoking restaurants as much as possible. The free market has been handicapped, not killed by the smoking ban. What you, the customer does still makes a difference. Keep up the good work.

Joe’s Inn, a Turn for the Worst.

The trend since the start of this ridiculous smoking ban in Virginia has been toward more smoking restaurants not less. Granted it has been slow, but at least, with very few exceptions things have been moving in the right direction. One of these exceptions was Sammy G’s in Fredericksburg, but that was because of a change in ownership.

Joe’s Inn in Richmond on the other hand has been a great benefactor of smoking clientele. The smoking section packs it in and it can sometimes be hard to find a table even at lunch time. The non-smoking section also does well, but not quite like the smoking side. This is about the last place you would expect to go nonsmoking.

The nonsmoking side fills the need of the nonsmoker while smokers (spending many dollars) pack the smoking side. I believe it is safe to say that they account for at least half the business while at the same time creating no down side for the nonsmokers.

Today I went to Joe’s for lunch. When the waitress saw me reach for a e-cigarette, she told me I could not smoke until after 10:00 pm. I informed her that that was a little late for lunch. I find this completely mind boggling, but at least explains why the place was nearly empty at 12:10 in the afternoon. There is one thing I will say for the place; it’s now so quiet and peaceful without all those pesky customers.

 

 

The Gost Town Formally know as Joe's Inn.

There is weather they know it or not,  plenty of area restaurants ready to take these displaced smoking customers that Joe’s no longer wants.

 

Having a great lunch (and a e-cigarette) here at Mulligan’s.

 

(lets all try to keep Joe’s looking like their photo until smoking is reinstated.)

Mi Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

When was the last time you tried Mi Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. It had been years (about 22 that is) for me. Well it’s been my loss, this place is still great. The bar area could use a remodel, but they do allow smoking and dining in there. The rest of the restaurant is white tablecloth.

 The food is quite good and the staff always makes you feel welcomed.  Here is a really great feature. You can treat yourself without busting the bank. They even have a $3.99 lunch special twice a week.

 Don’t wait 22 years, try Mi Hacienda soon.

8250 Midlothian Tpke
Richmond, VA 23235                        Phone:(804) 560-6994

Garmin Smoking Restaurant POI’s

Find them with ease!

As many of you are aware smokefreelyva provides POI (favorites) files for the Magellan brand GPS. We are now adding the same service for owners of Garmin GPS. We currently have a “rough” version ready for testing. If any of you brave Garmin owners would like to give it a whirl we could really use the feedback. Keep in mind this is a very useful tool but is not a substitute for the occasional visit to SmokefreelyVa.com. We update to website almost immediately when new restaurants are found. We update the POIs every two or three months.

Personally, I have been using this feature of my GPS for going on one year. I find it very useful and would not be without it.  The other good thing is that it’s free. (Not a bad price for something so handy).

Keep in mind that these file are not perfect. Sometimes the coordinates we get for some addresses are a little off. We correct this on subsequent versions as we find them.

If you are interested in this (bata) version then drop me an email list@smokefreelyva.com.

Thanks, Moe

11/13/10 there ready. Both magellan and Garmin files have been updated.

 

What’s Next ?

Some say that smoking bans won’t pave the way to too much government control over our lives. They say these bans are reasonable. But little by little more rights will be taken away from all of us , not just smokers. Each time a little more far reaching, until no one will be in a position to oppose anything the government wants. For America to see it’s future it need only look to those that have had smoking bans longer than us.

Here is your future, America….no don’t turn away , look at it! It’s just the beginning.

Happy Birthday to us.

Celebration Logo

On October 9, 2009 smokefreelyva.com arrived on the scene. When I first learned of the smoking ban I thought, someone should do something. Then I thought just how many times in my life I had thought that for one reason or another. Then I thought that maybe this time I should take a turn at being that someone.

Before I even knew of any restaurants that were planning to take advantage of the exception for separate smoking rooms I had already outlined what I was going to do. What I didn’t know was what level of success (if any) I could expect.

We are now listing about 250 restaurants statewide. This may not seem like many, but it’s a far cry from the few we started with. The good news is that they are still steadily being added. Am I happy? Yes. Am I content? No. When will I be content? When I have caused my own obsolescents.

There are about 17,500 restaurants in Virginia. Prior to the ban about 20% of them permitted smoking. These restaurants were in use by the 23% of us in Virginia that smoke. Funny that when left to its own resources the free market has a way of working things out perfectly. Unfortunately, Tim Kane felt the need to tinker. So now we have only less than 2% left to serve the needs of the 23% of restaurants goers. So yes friends, we have our work cut out for us.

Here is the most surprising thing I have learned over the past year. I would have believed that the longer a smoking ban is in place the more people would come to except it. I’m thrilled to say that I could not have been more wrong. By observing global trends and those across the U.S. I have discovered the opposite to be true. You would think that at my age I would have finally learned to look to history to see the future. If one wants to know the future of smoking bans all one needs to do is look to the fate of prohibition.

Bans are coming apart across the globe. The U.S. is a relativity new comer to smoking bans so we are not seeing as much of it here yet, but it is beginning.

It is your responsibility to use the force of the free market to effect change. It is my responsibility to help you do that. Every ban like this that is allowed to stand erodes freedom and liberty for all Americans, not just smokers.

I am most grateful to all of you that have contributed restaurant suggestions to us. I would also like to thank WTVR TV, Style Weekly and The Richmond Time Dispatch for their fair and dignified reporting. They have help make many aware of our web site.

I will be letting you know about some of our future plans as time goes on, as for now I just want to say, Happy Birthday SmokeFreelyVa

To all of you that have helped, Job Well Done.