mcallen city hall

McAllen’s Proposed New Smoking Ban (And This Email) Can Eat Dick


Earlier today, I received a “Fwd” in my inbox, urging others including myself to throw support at a “100% Smoke-Free Ordinance” for the City of McAllen. You may have also received this email today, and perhaps like me also felt the need to vomit moments after reading it.

Full disclosure, I don’t smoke but like most people, I have a lot of friends who do. I thought to just ignore the email, but for the sake of my friends and people everywhere who just wanna go to a bar to sit alone after a long shitty day of work, sip on a drink and take a nice, long drag to take the edge off, I think it’s appropriate to take some time to parse up this shit sandwich:

Fwd: McAllen Needs You

Ok, first off fuck email chains in the ear hole. It’s 2017 and I still get 200 of these “Fwd:Fwd:Fucku:Fwd:Fwd” every God-damn day from Generation X’ers who still communicate like it’s 1998. I already have enough emails to NOT read.

Let’s get something straight here: McAllen and its citizens sure as shit don’t need me to do a fucking thing but exist to pay county taxes and buy something from there every now and again. Supporting a smoking ban is not some God-damn heroic call to arms, it’s a political posture. I, specifically, and every other individual will save no lives by supporting this ban in the same way that no lives will be tangibly saved by this ban.

Good afternoon friends,

We’re not friends, person. Fuck Myspace (RIP) and Facebook for forever loosening the meaning of the word “Friend.”

I’m reaching out to you for your support during this critical time to help McAllen approve a 100% Smoke-Free Ordinance which will prohibit smoking indoors in all businesses, including restaurants, bars and clubs. And even if you don’t live in McAllen, you may work, eat, shop or socialize in McAllen.

100% Smoke-Free = 100% Fucking-Lame. I don’t go to Cigar Bar to NOT expect a cloud of smoke when I walk in. I WANT it to smell like a bar and not like some stiff corporate, $12 well bullshit. The person who wrote this email and every other conscious human being can very well CHOOSE to drink at an establishment that’s already designated as smoke-free, the same way that I can choose to avoid shitty people like them and go to a bar that isn’t.

The bottom line is if you wanna get lit at a place that sells alcohol but are too worried to get a whiff of secondhand smoke, go hang out at Chuck e’ Cheese and let the rest of us drink (and smoke) where we may.

We are not telling people not to smoke, we are only asking that they take it outside to help protect the health of the employees at these establishments who are exposed daily to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. A person that works an 8-hour shift in a business where there’s smoking allowed indoors is equivalent to them smoking 36 cigarettes!

Here we go with the “let’s protect the employees.” Again, if I A) apply to work at a bar that allows smoking and B) am aware of the effects of secondhand smoke because I had Nancy Reagan bash “JUST SAY NO!” into my skull, then I shouldn’t need an ordinance to protect me from what I have chosen to do. There are plenty of smoke-free corporate restaurants, let alone professions, that bartenders can choose to work in. Texas is, after all, an at-will employment state. This garbage argument sums up to one giant flaming insult to people who work in the service industry, claiming that either these employees are ENTIRELY unaware of their circumstances or that they are too stupid to know what those circumstances are and unable to change them for themselves.

It’s another way of telling the public that we are unable to protect ourselves, understand consequences, and make conscious decisions without an ordinance to save us from ourselves.

Fifteen cities in Hidalgo County have already approved this type of ordinance. However, McAllen has still not joined this list. I ask for your presence at this public hearing to show the City of McAllen elected officials that our community wants healthier workplaces and that we support this ordinance. Please respond to this message if you are available to meet us there next week and show your support for a Smoke-Free McAllen. Thank you in advance, (REDACTED) – TOBACCO PREVENTION & CONTROL COALITION – HIDALGO COUNTY REPRESENTATIVE

Fifteen cities? I don’t think I’ve made fifteen hater’s guides just yet, so that means that some of these cities are small and probably don’t have bars either way (Santa Maria? Olmito?).

Due to these communications being semi-private (non-social media), we have decided to redact the identity of the sender, however, we have verified that the sender is a representative of the Hidalgo Chapter of the Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition, a wet-blanket located in Pharr. Their mission is officially to “empower Hidalgo County to affect individual and social change through cooperation, sharing and coordination of resources focused on preventing and reducing the illegal and harmful use of tobacco products” and unofficially to ruin everybody’s good time.

McAllen’s current smoking ban has a laundry list of places you can’t smoke already including public buildings, restaurants, bars, etc. However, there are exceptions to the current ban that includes the following:

Sec. 54-125. – Exceptions.
Smoking is not prohibited in:

(1)Areas dedicated to individual employees in otherwise enclosed areas of a place of business, such as individual offices. An employer may designate a separate enclosed areas of a business premise for smoking provided that similar portions of such premise are available to employees as no smoking areas;
(2)A retail tobacco store;
(3)Not greater than 25 percent of hotel guest rooms in any hotel facility provided that no smoking rooms must be specifically designated as “no smoking rooms;” or
(4)In a bar where more than 70 percent of gross income is derived from sales of alcoholic beverages.

Also, the current ban allows restaurants and bars to designate a walled up, well-ventilated and signed area for smoking.

A 100% smoke-free ban would all but eliminate all of these exceptions, leaving smokers to fuck off.

At The Bench Wire, we try not to take political stances, as both sides of every issue may have legitimate merit. For those who have read our content long enough would know, at times we may be liberal on certain issues and other times conservative. Personal liberties and inclusion are principals that both sides of the aisle share and that we at The Bench Wire use to assess an issue and formulate an opinion.

Our opinion: This proposed smoke-ban and its supporters can all eat dick.

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