Wednesday 17 March 2010

The smoking ban

I feel very strongly about this - the undemocratic smoking ban which seems to be in effect across most the world is damaging economies. In the UK public houses are closing daily because of this nonsense, well that and the supermarkets practically giving booze away. Yeah people should have clean air- but for f*%k sake grow up - in pubs you're pouring poison down your throat in any case. Each day a new story pops up, another even more absurd piece of legislation pops up. The story from the US was today brought to my attention. The tobacco stores are closing but the drug dealers are still in business, soon they will be the only ones who are - Cincinnati Tobacconist

Smoke shops downtown, is in the process of selling its inventory and closing its shop in the historic Cincinnati Enquirer building at 617 Vine St.

The building's owner, Middle Earth Properties, notified Tobacconist owner Pat Coldiron Feb. 1 that the building could soon close.

The Camp Washington-based developer, which has plans to spend $20 million to renovate the Enquirer building into apartments, office and street-level retail, is facing foreclosure at several of its local apartment buildings and is fighting other lawsuits associated with its condo projects.

Coldiron has operated there through the winter months with a handful of space heaters. Most of the building's other tenants, like Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) and Stout & Gallant, moved out last fall.

"I would not have closed if they hadn't closed the building," she said. "It's been a long, good run."

Coldiron and her husband at the time, a sales rep for a tobacco company, purchased the shop in 1984 from the Smites, who opened it in 1976. The Coldirons thought it'd provide a nice retirement someday. Since her divorce in 1990, Coldiron has operated the shop with her parents, Bill and Merle Buck, both ages 88.

Over time, they developed a loyal following of lawyers, business people and downtown residents. Many congregated in groups each morning, at lunch time or in the early evening to smoke, chat and mingle. At one time, Coldiron stocked 80 types of cigars from around the world.

DCI CEO David Ginsburg often stopped in to grab a cigar for his afternoon walks with his dog or to escape from household chores on Saturday afternoons.

"It really is the end of an era," said Ginsburg, who admitted his deepest thinking happens with a cigar in hand. "It's like the closing of Floyd's barber shop (on the Andy Griffith Show)."

The business has been profitable since the beginning, Coldiron said, but attitudes toward smoking and laws have changed. By law, customers could still smoke in her shop but not elsewhere.

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