MA: “You Shouldn’t Have To Choose Between Your Health And Your Job…So We Took Away Your Job.”

From Stanza dei Sigari, one of my favorite MA cigar bars!

Boston’s Mayor Menino continues to pop his moron pills every morning, and local businesses continue to feel the consequences. The latest story involves the city’s soon-to-be-shut-down cigar bars.  Menino’s Department of Public Health has ordered the handful of cigar bars that haven’t already been driven out of business by ridiculously high taxes to shut down by 2018, anyway.

Why is Boston closing popular, profitable private businesses? To “protect the workers,” a.k.a. “the people who choose to work there.”

“Anybody working in a bar of any kind shouldn’t have to breathe in secondhand smoke in order to make a living,’’ said Michael Siegel, a tobacco control specialist at Boston University School of Public Health.

Well, congratulations, Michael—thanks to you, they won’t be—making a living, that is. They’ll be healthily unemployed because the government took away the job they wanted and enjoyed.

How stupid is the Mayor’s position? Here’s Leonard H. Glantz, Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health:

If smoking is banned in restaurants and bars, those establishments remain open and the workers continue to work in a smoke-free environment. If cigar bars are banned, their workers become unemployed. This is a strange form of worker protection.

If proponents of closing cigar bars wish to argue that those workers can find jobs elsewhere, then their argument that cigar bar workers are somehow “forced’’ to breathe second hand smoke vanishes. If other jobs are available, then the choice to work in a cigar bar is just that – a choice.

Given that unemployment is also a risk factor for poor health, firing workers to save them makes no sense at all.

Exactly.

Oh, and is anyone else noticing how often the phrases “Mayor Menino” and “no sense at all” keep popping up in the same conversations?

UPDATE! It’s not just Boston. My friends at Watch City Cigar in Framingham are under siege, too. The town says customers aren’t allowed to open the cigar cases and feel/smell the cigars. If you’re on Route 9, please stop in and show them some support—Padron-style!

Michael Graham
Radio talk show host, columnist for the Boston Herald, stand-up comic and former GOP political consultant. Learn more about Michael here.

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