Is today a great day in South Dakota?

From today?s  Argus Leader?s Editorial

Today’s a great day for South Dakota.

Because the state’s smoking ban extends to almost all remaining indoor businesses, employees in bars, restaurants and casinos will be able to breathe fresh air.

Those businesses previously had been exempted from the smoking ban, leaving their workers – and many customers as well – repeatedly exposed to secondhand smoke in the process.

But as of today, the state’s smoking ban now exempts only tobacco shops, hotel rooms designated as smoking rooms and existing cigar bars.

Let be preface this by saying smoking is bad and second hand smoke is not much better,  however,  there is more here at stake than just health.

I have heard several different thoughts on this matter, all of them are somewhat interesting.

?Businesses always wanted to go smoke free, but didn?t have the guts, now they can blame the government for forcing them to  go smoke-free?

Every business owner had the right to go smoke-free at any time.  Post a few signs, inform the staff, and maybe remind a few customers, and voila, the business is now smoke-free.  Most people will respect the owner?s decision, it  is after all his business.

?The companies that make and sell stop smoking aids are behind the whole thing.  They gave money to the American Cancer Society, who then lobbied the legislature to pass the law, then the public to pass it this past November 2nd?

All of the stop smoking aids, the patch, the pill, the inhaler, etc. won?t work, unless the person has true desire to smoking.  Those that do smoke, will find find a way,  and some business are already trying to find ways to accommodate their smoking patrons.

The do-gooder organizations have some fairly smart folks within their ranks,  they only had to lobby one organization (the legislature) to do their bidding, rather than go to each business and convince the owners.  Of course, in their television ads, they used the ultimate prop, kids.  ?Do it for the children.?  A tip of the hat to American Cancer Society, well played.

?This is cracking the door open for the government to tell you what you can and can?t do in your home.?

Part of this law redefines public accommodation as public property.  Granted,  for now it is just for purpose of enforcing this law, they very fact that private businesses is now being designated as public property  is a very dangerous move by any government.  Combine this with some of the aspects of Obamacare,  this could indeed become our new reality.

It is a great day,  for those that believe in the government.

It is a bad day,  for those that believe in freedom.

72 Replies to “Is today a great day in South Dakota?”

  1. Aw Shucks

    Yep. You are one heck of a freedom fighter PP.

    Right up there with Washington, Franklin and Adams.

    Those guys were hyper-partisan animals more interested in scoring cheap political points than building a new country.

  2. Duh

    I can't figure out how this can apply to private clubs and organizations where the public access is regulated. What's next?

  3. SDMike

    Only in the USA would people vote to give up some of their rights and liberties. What's next Toilet Paper Cops, or maybe cameras in everyones bathroom to make sure you only use one sheet. I'm not a smoker and haven't gone to bars that allowing smoking – but that's the owners choice and not mine!!!!


  4. From the Bleachers

    PP, it’s always tough to argue the voters were wrong. Wouldn’t it be better to just say “Dang! We got beat.” It can happen to the best (and worst) of causes, but that is the way of democracy.

    The smoking ban was done by democratic process. First through elected representatives at the legislature; then through the very generous referendum process (“generous” because a small minority of unhappy voters can put it on the ballot); and finally through a direct popular vote. Three times, the people had a chance to affect the outcome.

    It would be tough to name any other country in the world which allows so much direct participation in the outcome, with a higher confidence in the honesty of the vote count, all while under the magnifying glass of a free press.

    You might not like the vote totals, but you have to admit it was done by the democratic book, and that is what makes us great. We have figured out a way to peacefully settle our differences and move on; it’s the bargain we all make with each other, which protects us all in a much more important way than the outcome of individual hot button issues.


  5. MC Post author

    PP didn’t post this, I did.

    yes, the people have voted, and it is now law. There is no dispute there.

    That still doesn’t make it right.

    There could be a law passed that would allow me to shoot and kill five people (Native Americans) on my land. It might be the law, however it still isn’t right.

  6. ip

    Omg. Who in hell ARE you, MC?

    It IS important to remember that each cigarette butt is a toxic waste site in miniature. But then, South Dakota is already a chemical toilet.

  7. Michael (Constant Conservative)

    Or, as noted by Bill Whittle in one of his recent videos on what conservatives believe, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President could unanimously pass a law that says the First Amendment is null and void–and it would not be right.

    Agreement on bad policy does not make the policy good.

  8. Bill Fleming

    It’s not bad civil rights policy. It’s good health policy AND civil rights policy. We all have a RIGHT to an unpolluted environment that trumps the right of those who would pollute it.

    How would you like it if your town decided to have a nuclear waste dump as part of your landfill, or to let toxic waste be dumped into your water? Ask Deadwood about THAT, and how much better their town is now that Whitewood Creek can support trout again, and the citizens don’t have to keep their dogs from drinking out of its cyanide infused waters.

    Companies should not be allowed to pollute people’s environment just so they can make money.

    Your smoking friends and the restaurants and bars who serve them don’t have a right to pollute the air you, your children, your grandchildren and your neighbors progeny breath.

    You and your friends’ liberty ends at my nose, Mike C. And so does the liberty of your favorite barkeep. Smoking sections in buildings are like peeing sections in swimming pools.

    Do you support those, Mike?

  9. feasant

    Fast food is next on the hit list, then alcohol. I voted earlier with my checkbook, we did not go into smoking establishments. Wouldn’t you know, a lot of places became smoke free on there own. Capitalism does work.

  10. Anonymous

    I don’t think the slippery slope argument plays here because people know when something is bad and form an opinion based on the circumstances. The voting public doesn’t think, well-I voted for the smoking ban so I guess I have to vote for banning toys in happy meals.
    I thought the slogan of the anti-12 was a little ironic “it’s about freedom” because for those who can’t or don’t want to be around smoke, limits their freedom. I have had to put up with smoke in order to go to places I like and they are saying, if you don’t like it, don’t go there–an easy statement for someone who lives in a community of over 5,000. Many of the examples of the slippery slope argument don’t result in endangering other people.

  11. non smoker

    Now we will have revenue shortfalls for the state at a time when the state is already strapped for cash. Will our legislators rely on Obama to spread his socialism out to south dakota again to help balance the state books?

  12. duggersd

    Fundamentally, I opposed this law and voted against it. I believe we are big people and can decide where we want to work, eat and drink. If an establishment allows smoking, I do not go there. My nose just does not go into places that I do not want it to go. Having said that, I will like the effects of this law. There are several pubs that I have wanted to visit, but chose not to because of the smoking.
    It will be interesting to see if several establishments wind up closing due to this law. It will also be interesting to see what effect, if any, this law has on video lottery. It could be the unintended consequence is a reduction in people playing video lottery and perhaps that is a good thing as well.

  13. From the Bleachers

    MC….your sentiment of “nobody tells me what to do” works quite well, if you live on an island by yourself.

    The rest of us live in a crowded society, and that means we need a few rules, democratically selected, to put us ahead of olden times. Back in the day, we just got on our horse, rode out, and shot the other guys. A trusty rifle and steady aim, decided who was right.

    Seems like we have made some progress, but that’s just me.

  14. Cliff Hadley

    It’s long amazed me how so many people make their health such a fetish. While secondhand smoke is irritating, longitudinal studies show no causation, nor even correlation, between exposure to others’ cigarettes and chronic illness and cancers. Heck, even smokers themselves have only a 1-in-3 chance of suffering ill effects. The unintended consequences from a smoking ban will become known soon enough. But the intended consequence — improved public health — is political fiction and will never pan out. BTW, I don’t smoke.

  15. Bill Fleming

    Cliff, unbelievable. If I were you, I’d fire your research team.

    Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the US:


    Smoking causes death.

    The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.

    More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

    Smoking causes 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

    An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.

    Smoking and Increased Health Risks

    Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of?
    coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times

    stroke by 2 to 4 times

    men developing lung cancer by 23 times

    women developing lung cancer by 13 times

    and dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.

  16. oldguy

    The fact is you don’t have to go into a bar that allows smoking. Bill to me that is a huge diffence from Whitewood Creek. By the way I voted to do away with smoking but can see both sides of the issue.

  17. DuggerSD

    I think I read somewhere that more DUI’s are done after someone has been drinking in a bar. Also, the drinking of alcohol leads to maiming on the road and death as well. Pregnant women who drink have higher incidents of babies with ill effects from the alcohol. The consumption of alcohol can lead to damage of such organs as the liver. Perhaps we should not allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol in public places as well?

  18. mo joe

    I dont want to pay taxes get rid of the farm bill ss medicare fire dept postal service,police dept, water and sewage,I can fend for my self.

  19. Bill Fleming

    dugger, worse than that. Way worse.

    It means we should probably have a law that says you personally can’t drink and drive in your car. The ultimate personal restriction of liberty!

    What?! I can’t do whatever I want IN MY OWN CAR???!!!

    You gotta be frikin’ kiddin’ me!

    Oh wait we DO have that law… never mind.

  20. mo joe

    Also get out of every foreign country and slash the milatary budget,gut senators pension and all their perks make them stay in state and take care of our own instead of jaunts like to virginia like Thune goes.

  21. anon

    This is one of those things that will become a part of normal society and in five years we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

    The argument of burgers being banned next doesn’t carry any weight. (pun intended) There’s a big difference. Eat Big Mac’s all day and you’re not harming me, light up next to me and you are. I think the voting public is smart enough to see the differnce. Just try to ban toys in SD happy meals and see what the voters say about that! It’s apples and oranges compared to tobacco.

  22. oldguy

    Bill:True but creeks are owned by the Public are they not? Bars are owned by private companies that are for profit are they not?

  23. Bill Fleming

    Okay now, oldguy, you knew this was coming, right? I just needed DuggerSD to set it up for me.


    You know, duggerSD, come to think of it… if you don’t want to get killed by a drunk driver, you should just avoid driving on the same roads they do.

    Besides, nobody says you HAVE to drive your car, do they?

    I mean, you could just walk or something.

    Stay totally away from the roads.

    Because, like, we don’t want to be restricting anybody’s liberty around here, right?

  24. Cliff Hadley

    Gee, Bill, didn’t think my comment would provoke such a rise. We’ve had this back-and-forth before. The Centers for Disease Control figures are snapshots of conditions in a moment in time, and not controlled in the same manner as longitudinal studies, which measure factors affecting thousands of people over decades.

    Smokers, after 40 years at two packs a day, have a 1-in-3 chance of developing some of the nasty health issues that the CDC cites. As for secondhand smoke, it’s simply too diffused to be more than an irritant. In fact, the long-term studies have never found any correlation, much less causation, between illness and those living around smokers compared with nonsmoking homes.

    So yep, smoking is bad. Doesn’t mean it’s so bad that people can’t figure out for themselves how to proceed, knowing the risks.

  25. Anonymous

    SD Mike said:
    “Only in the USA would people vote to give up some of their rights and liberties.”

    How’d you vote in IM 13, Mike? Let me guess…

    The freedom to smoke cigarettes is sacred, but the freedom to smoke pot for medical reasons is bad bad bad.

    Seriously, how can you so-called conservatives moan about the loss of liberty with respect to the smoking ban but then vote no on medical marijuana?

    You are all clueless.

  26. Bill Fleming

    Cliff, I don’t think it does anyone any good to minimize the clear and present health dangers involved in smoking tobacco.

    Only bad can become of such advice.

    If only one out of 3 people became deathly ill from eating popcorn… would you really be arguing that folks should just proceed with caution when they go to the movie theater?

    Come on.

  27. Troy Jones

    Cliff/Bill: In my mind both sides were excessively hyperbolic.

    1) Selling alcohol is a regulated activity so the state already exercises control on what occurs on the property. They consented to control when they applied for the license.

    2) Non-smokers aggressively desired to impose their views on others when they had a choice- boycott the establishment.

    Here is what I thought was a reasonable compromise but neither side would go there.

    Liquor or wine/beer establishments may allow smoking under the following conditions: They apply for permission to the local authority that grants their alcohol license.

    To insure the rights of both sides are honored:

    1) The local governing authority must approve applications until 25% of the alcohol establishments have “smoking permits.”

    2) The local governing authority can not approve “smoking permits” beyond 75% of the alchohol establishments.

    3) Any establishment with a smoking permit must post such visible to anyone entering the establishment and cannot allow unattended minors on the premises.

    Under this scenario, no community will have less than 25% of its establishments allowing smoking nor less than 25% prohibiting it. The middle 50% will be determined by local will as expressed by the local governing authority subject to voters.

    What really irks me is a group of people can’t form a private club for the express purpose of having a smoking enterprise.

  28. CaveMan

    If health is what we are after than by all means lets find one good representative to submit a bill taxing every product with more than 10% sugar a 100% Health Tax. FAT KILLS!!!!!

  29. Duh

    I know more business owners than not that are glad about the ban. Now they can "ban" smoking in their establishments and not have to worry about losing business to another place which permits it.

  30. duggersd

    Bill, public roads, private property. There is where all of the difference is. Yeah, you knocked that one out of the park! You also miss a point here. But then I think you do that on purpose.
    I agree with the sentiment above that the law passed. They won, we lost. I do not believe it is good thing, but it is what it is.
    I recall not too long ago, some town made it illegal for someone to smoke in his/her own apartment. The smoke came out of the apartment and someone somewhere else could smell it. So I guess that makes sense to you, right? After all, that person should not have to smell that smoke, right? And what about a neighbor in a single family house? If that person lights up and the children get some of that smoke coming to them from playing in their front lawn, are they not being damaged? So perhaps smoking in one’s own home should be illegal. And who does own that air?

  31. ip

    “An estimated 5.5 trillion commercially produced cigarette butts were flipped by smokers last year into the environment. Over three million plastic wrappers from cigarette packages are tossed into the environment each year.

    How do cigarette butts contribute to water pollution? The chemicals contained in tobacco litter contribute to non-point source pollution when carried through storm drains by rainfall and urban runoff to our lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water. Non point source pollution has harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife.”

  32. anoonymous

    What I really don’t like about this is that it reduces the number of establishments that had been “Barnes-free”.

  33. SDMike

    @Annon 11:41, IM13 Didn’t vote for that one, don’t care one way or another. In fact I really don’t think we should even be licensing bars – why do we even do that? Just tax who ever is selling it and let any one sell it plus let who ever owns a business make their own rules. Those that are whining about we have to have to have non-smoking bars have every right to open one yourself!!!

    @Anon 12:36 depends who is in the room with you – your only fat if everyone else is skinny.

  34. Spartan76


    I respectfully disagree with your analogy of Whitewood Creek and the smoking ban. In fact your one response to oldguy reinforces my point.

    oldguy, I don?t have to go to Deadwood either. Nobody does

    Nobody has to go into a bar that allows smoking. To me it is a property rights issue. Local, state or federal government has no business telling anyone that even though you might own the property we are going to dictate how it will be used.

    Both my much better half and myself do not smoke. In fact in the 30 years we have been married we have never owned an ash tray, we do not allow smoking in our home, that is our choice. When we go out, we choose establishments that are smoke free, it is our choice.

  35. Spartan76

    To me this smoking ban is another freedom gone, just as the seat belt law. Do I wear seatbelts, yes. Do I think everyone should wear seatbelts, yes. Do we need a law forcing the use of seatbelts, NO

  36. Bill Fleming

    Spartan76. I get that. I even get why people object to the law in principle. Most of us libertarian types (right or left) are kind of anarchists at heart. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need most of the laws we have.

    But on the flip side, I think we have some obligation to each other as it concerns our communities’ health and well being. i.e. we don’t want our air and water poisoned, we want to control disease, etc. etc. I suppose it all boils down to who you think “the government” is. US or THEM. I’m kind of in the US category.

  37. I Wanna Be Elected.

    Getting into the conversation late, but did anyone see what the Aberdeen City council did this week? They set a moratorium on building permits for businesses with liquor licenses becasue they feared that someone would construct a place (they called a smoke shack) adjacent to their business for their customers to continue to smoke. Apparantly they need to defined what constitutes an "enclosed area" so they could furhter regulate the business and enforce the law. Read about it . Too damned funny. These people on their city council are the only people in the state that actually "wash, rinse, repeat" when using shampoo just to be sure. Mayor Koolade most amoung them.

  38. Spartan76


    An estimated 5.5 trillion commercially produced cigarette butts were flipped by smokers last year into the environment. Over three million plastic wrappers from cigarette packages are tossed into the environment each year

    What does this have to do with the smoking ban?

  39. Q

    @From the bleachers, Are we a democracy or a republic?

    …”and to the republic, for which we stand…”

    If we continue to look at our great nation as just a democracy, we will be voting all our constitutional rights away. True, by requiring a license to sell alcohol, we have positioned that business to succumb to further regulation. But if you regard an establishment a private property, we are potentially stripping away basic rights our country was founded on.

    … “the difference between a democracy and a republic lies in the source of its authority. In a democracy, the simple desire of the majority (or the mob) becomes law. The majority can decide that murder is no longer a crime, or that it is okay to silence the speech and religious expression of Christians, or to punish some Americans for being too successful, or to confiscate the property of Americans the majority considers irritating?or anything it wants to do.” …

  40. Bill Fleming

    Good point, Duh. The law gives a lot of business owners an "out." They don't have to look like the bad guys. In fact, they weren't the bad guys. Blame it on the dang Government. Sounds like a good plan to me.

    I bet people will end up being okay with this after a while.

  41. wow

    Three comments:
    anon 11:26: many will say someone overeating does affect you…affects your insurance premium when people have obesity or heart problems due to poor eating. This is how strung out people think. What next???
    Point 2: The people who voted to preserve their own lungs (do not know of any kids who sit daily or by the hour in bars, so is not about them) would likely think nothing of killing the unborn. Had people really cared about health and saving lungs, they would have started with the houses. Private property, so what? So is a bar.
    Point 3; I intend to find out from business people and people who have goods and services which I now buy what their feelings are on the ban. If they voted for it, I intend to quit doing business with THEM! Why? As a non-smoker, those “band wagoners” are going to cause me to have to pay in some way for lost state revenue of video lottery and cig. taxes. These were sources of revenue that I did not have to pay. Good job..Get on another band wagon, promote another cause to help someone else line their pockets in “the name of health”. Soon every pine beetle and prairie dog will be safe, safe in your loving arms, oh, “take up the cause without knowing where it is going” people. We are beyond socialism now.

  42. William

    To me, the issue of smoking has always been a "smoke screen" to allow government to diminish private property rights by redefining public accommodations as public property.

    As Troy stated above, "what really irks me is a group of people can’t form a private club for the express purpose of having a smoking enterprise." – The ban goes too far, as it goes beyond "protecting" non-smokers from "second-hand" smoke" to denying a business or organization the ability to form a members only private facility created expressly to serve food, alcohol and cater to adults that desire to patronize a business that allows smoking (still a legal product).

    As Wow stated above, "many will say someone overeating does affect you…affects your insurance premium when people have obesity or heart problems due to poor eating." – Individual liberty (choice) is being replaced by "communal good" and government is shifting from protecting individual rights to protecting individuals from making "poor choices".

    We really need to consider how broad the brush of "public health" can be, particularly as it may be construed under "universal" health care.

    Early English Common Law identified the possession, development and disposal of land as unalienable rights. Conceptually, our Founders concluded that without the right to private property, the rights to life and liberty would not exist.

    James Madison declared that the purpose of government is to protect private property. He wrote, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. This being the end of government.”

  43. Bill Fleming

    William, are one's lungs one's "property"? Is one's heart? Is the air immediately surrounding one's person? How close to your face can I get before you tell me I'm "in your space," no matter where we are standing?

  44. ip

    "One of George Washington’s most important and far-reaching decisions made as president revolved around the question of whether he would sign into law a bill establishing a national bank. Alexander Hamilton, his brilliant secretary of the treasury, argued for such an institution and justified his action by seizing on Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which endowed Congress with all powers “necessary and proper” to perform tasks assigned to it in the national charter.

    In short, Hamilton posited that there were “implied” powers in the Constitution as well as “enumerated” ones. Thomas Jefferson was aghast at such implications and prophesied that for the federal government “to take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn is to take possession of a boundless field of power.

    Washington saw it differently and signed Hamilton’s controversial national-bank bill. With a stroke, he endorsed an expansive view of the presidency and made the Constitution a living, open-ended document. The importance of his decision is hard to overstate, for the federal government might have been stillborn had the president rigidly adhered to the letter of the document as urged by Jefferson.

    In seeking to reconcile Hamilton and Jefferson (whose views were every bit as divergent as those of the Tea Party and Obama are today), the president eloquently urged forbearance: “I would fain hope that liberal allowances will be made for the political opinions of one another; and instead of those wounding suspicions, and irritating charges there might be mutual forebearances and temporizing yieldings on all sides, without which I do not see how the reins of government are to be managed.”

  45. Mike C

    Cory, it is not so much as the smokers' rights as it is the business owners' to allow smoking or not in their establishment. If they wanted to, they could say "No Smoking anywhere on the property. the parking lot, on the side walk, even by the dumpsters."

    Their property, their rules, that is until 'we the people' take them away.

  46. William

    BF & Cory,

    IF you're seriously arguing that if a private club open for adult smokers were in business and that you would intentionally enter the establishment uninvited just in order to complain that your rights to "clean air" are being violated, then you're truly beyond any reasonable accommodation and simply want to ban something you don't like, simply because you don't like it.

    You're admitting that you're unwilling to accept any compromise and place no value on private property rights, simply because you don't like smoking, whether it affects you or not.

    That the power of government is used to support that position is frightening.

  47. Bill Fleming

    Wow at 2:22. Great attitude. Tax the addicts so you don’t have to pay your fair share. So much for your moral position.

  48. From the Bleachers

    to Q: if we were truly a republic, this would all have been settled when the elected representatives voted in the ban. There would not have been a referendum, or a popular vote. How would that work for you?

  49. ip

    Supporting assisted suicide? Yes.

    My question goes to personal responsibility and government having an interest in the decisions being made by the population. Would industry self-police releases of contaminants into the environment? Hell no, hence the trillions of cigarette butts being flicked. Individuals are NOT self-policing.

  50. ip

    We're seeing more private parties. Central City, home of the Man Club. South Dakotans will adapt just as Montana has to the wishes of the electorate.

    This, too, will pass.

  51. Spartan76

    CAH once again shows his inconsistancy and hypocrisy on this issue. Go check out Madville, he goes ballistic over the pipline issue (against) because of property rights. Yet we are talking about the same thing here, it is a property rights issue people and he is giddy that the ban passed.

  52. wow

    If I actually felt that the people spoke, I would be ok with it; I feel, however, that they were co-erced in the name of health and sickness to vote for it. How many non-smokers actually sit in a bar for hours each night? Very few. The bar owners who hide behind the big terrible government making them do this are a huge part of the problem,too. Mark my words: because of the ban, the state revenues will decrease, workers who can now breathe fresh air will lose their jobs due to decreased business and profits, heating bills will increase for casino and bar owners who do have some customers going in and out of the building to smoke this winter, there will be added owner liability of customers slipping outside on snowy sidewalks, increased arguing and fighting will be added to the picture as people congregate in front of the owner's building… I think so….things that people who keep painting wonderful blue sky never thought of as they hopped on the village bus and headed toward Pleasantville, their perfect would-be utopia, to cast their "yes" vote against the ban. Get real!

  53. William

    There is a very important difference between thinking something is unhealthy, or thinking something is wrong, and thinking that it is the government's responsibility to make sure we all live accordingly.


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