In Favor of Smoking Ban

RECEIVED Mon., April 18, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I have been a working musician since 1971 and I think the proposed smoking ban would be (in the long run) a great thing for Austin and I support it wholeheartedly. Virtually all of my friends and co-workers don't smoke; neither do I. On particularly bad nights I have come to resent feeling assaulted by volumes of foul air, especially when I'm working hard to entertain the very folks who are making it much harder for me to do so. My throat gets fried, my clothing reeks, my equipment stinks, and by the time I get home with all my stuff so does my car.
    I don't blame the smokers themselves as much as I blame the shoddy and often nonexistent ventilation systems in the clubs. There are ways to minimize the build-up of smoke but since it costs money to install and run I suspect many club owners would simply rather not.
    If this passes will there be a shakeout? You bet. Will this be better for most nightspots in the long run? Absolutely. You may find that removing the toxin that keeps the nonsmoking majority of people away in droves might come to find supporting live music a pleasurable option once again.
    Ask a club owner in Southern California how his business has been since the smoking ban went into effect there. Better yet, ask the musicians and waitstaff who work in those clubs how things are now. My sources tell me that business is just fine and it's a much better environment to work in.
    Change is tough, even if it's for the best. I understand the concerns held by the club owners. Here's the thing – I would really like to enjoy the places I work in, I'll do a better job and you'll have a better musical experience. Most acts in this area are already woefully underpaid for their services, how about a cleaner workplace for starters? Is this too much to ask for the "Live Music Capital of the World"? I think not.
Jeffrey Tveraas
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