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Happy Birthday to us.

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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.

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2 Responses

  1. Happy Birthday! I remember when your idea was just a “glimmer” and am so very proud of your hard work and diligence that has made this a success. You deserve a celebration. You and your site have given the smoker a place to come and find places for their meals that allow them to smoke freely, but your site has done so much more. It gives information, facts, statistics and opinions about what bans such as this have done for us and to us. It has let us know who our friends and who our enemies are in enjoying our rights. Something else it has done is become a place to meet new friends…friends who are willing to get out there and find more restaurants available to smokers as well as new friends in general. You’ve done a wonderful job with Smokefreely and I for one wish you all the best in the upcoming year..your work is not done yet!

    Thank you for being a true and sincere advocate for your fellow smokers. Enjoy your success. Kick back, have a glass of wine or a beer, light up and pat yourself on the back…Happy Birthday!!

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