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Monday, November 15, 2010

Smoking Ban Boosting Business... and Outdoor Heater Sales?

The anecdotes accumulate: Rookies Bar and Grill in Sioux Falls reports it saw an uptick in business this first statewide smoke-free weekend, as it saw more families coming in for dinner.

More families... at the bar. I think that's a victory for family values...

But let's be careful of the availability fallacy, forming a general conclusion (e.g., smoking ban won't hurt business!) on the basis of only those stories that get told more often, since surely South Dakota's notoriously liberal media only wants to tell pro-nanny-state stories, and since only liberals see any value in public health.

The smoking ban may boost some other market niches. Folks selling outdoor heaters (or barrels) may find South Dakota drinking establishments rushing to create some outdoor smoking oases. Some establishments are creating outdoor smoking shelters... but I'm not sure that's kosher. Review the text of the smoking ban:
  1. "Enclosed area," any space between a floor and a ceiling that is enclosed, exclusive of doorways, on all sides by permanent or temporary walls or windows;
  2. "Place of employment," any enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer;
  3. "Public place," any enclosed area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted. [See SDCL 34-46-13.]
  • No person may smoke tobacco or carry any lighted tobacco product in any public place or place of employment. [See SDCL 34-46-14.]
Contrary to the apparent action taken in the above AP story, the new statute appears to prohibit any sort of enclosed shelter, like a shed or garage, for smokers. You could maybe put up a picnic shelter—pour a slab, put up a roof or canopy—but you can't allow smoking in a four-walled building, even an outbuilding.
Update 08:13 CST: Rapid City Journal offers more detail on how businesses are coping with the smoking ban. Not griping and moaning, but coping. Heated patios, winter beach parties... opportunities await!


  1. Maybe South Dakotans are missing a smoking hot economic development opportunity.

  2. The Butt Hut! Larry, that's great! And that big Plexiglass front for visibility -- that could actually improve business! Put a nice patio heater in there, it might be nice to sit outside, watch people drive by. Heck, it owuld even establish a little draw from the street: you drive by, you see people are there outside, it makes the place seem busier, maybe more lively and inviting, just like outdoor dining in the summer!


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