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.

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.

SmokefreelyVa’s everything we web.

Web Resources We Own.

SmokeFreelyVa.com

Main Site: contains confirmed list of Virginia’s smoking restaurants and important information for smokers.

https://smokefreelyva.wordpress.com/

Smoking ban information, news and opinion (my rants). Tracking smoking bans across the world and their local impact.

http://smokefreelyva.yuku.com/

Our Message Board: Join us and get it off your chest. Meaning full conversation to help prevent greater smoking bans in Virginia or to lessen the one we have.

Talk about it here

http://twitter.com/getsmoke Underdeveloped at this Time

SmokefreelVa on Facebook

Our Facebook page. Short banter and sharing info from other great facebook pages.

Web Resources We Administer.

The Following Facebook pages…
Places you can smoke at in Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights, VA,
Places you can smoke at in NOVA,
Places you can smoke at in Fredericksburg, VA,
Places you can smoke at in Charlottesville, VA,
Places you can smoke at in Virginia Beach and
Places you can smoke at in Richmond, VA

Thanks to Kulture for creating these pages and  for your faith in Smoke Freely Va. to Administer.

New, not just newly discovered.

I just wanted to say something about this because I think it is important. As you know we are continually adding restaurants to our list. The one thing you may not be aware of is that not all of these are simply restaurants that have been smoking and we are just now finding them. Many of them are restaurants that have only recently become smoking restaurants. Believe me friends, this is a good sign. They did not just jump right on board; instead they waited to see what impact going non smoking would have on their business.

They waited for free market forces to show that offering a smoking option would have a positive impact on the health of their business. This is good for two reasons, first it means that we can expect this trend to continue for some time and that the overall numbers will increase. Also it proves you can have an impact.

Keep up the good work. Use the list (smoking restaurants) as much as you can. Pass the word on to friends and family. If you know of anything not on the list that should be, please let me know about it.

For inspiration, here’s a reprint of an email from one of our most regular contributors.

Moe– Heard that Kelly’s Tavern near Hilltop in Virginia Beach had converted an area for smoking… went in this afternoon while on a trip back from the grocery store and lo! and behold! they had converted their entire bar and gaming area plus a number of adjacent booths and tables to a smoker-friendly area (about 60% of the restaurant).
What makes this especially significant is that they operate about a dozen locations in Hampton Roads.  I talked to the manager-on-duty and she informed me that they are reviewing all of the other sites for similar re-modeling although she feels a few won’t be able to meet the state criteria.  The Hilltop location, while not their oldest, is their flagshp operation and also their corporate HQ.
Kelly’s has been the consistent winner for years of the “Best at the Beach” award given by the Virginian-Pilot for best hamburger.  They offer a full-service menu and could be considered a destination for dining out by many.
Parenthetically, while the smoking area was jam-packed, there wasn’t a soul in the non-smoking area….
Their information for The List:
 
Kelly’s Tavern
1936 Laskin Road #201
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
(757) 491-8737
Hours: 11AM-2AM Sun-Sat

What do you think about this?

What do you think?  I’m reading an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch (http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/business/local/article/REST06_20100105-221409/315598/#comments) about what tough economic times these are for the restaurant business. They have included a list of 30 restaurants that have closed recently. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see a smoking restaurant among them.

The smoking ban is also a very recent occurrence. I’m not a business man, but here’s my question. Given that there were about 20% of restaurants that allowed smoking prior to the ban serving the 23% of restaurant patrens that smoked.  And given that the 23% is still out there trying to squeeze into what may only be 2 or even less then 1% of restaurants that still have smoking. Why, with that kind of life preserver floating around would anyone let their restaurant go out of business? With an almost untapped market like this, (unless you just don’t have the space) would you allow your business to tank?

Right now, having a smoking restaurant is just good business. If 98% of restaurants are fighting for 70% of the customers, doesn’t that create one hell of a business opportunity for those willing to cater to the 20%?

Just what am I missing?

I like it. What do you think?

Check it out and leave a comment if you will.

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