The Dangers of Nightclubs

Nightclubs, bars and dance clubs are a great way to let off some steam, hang out with friends, and celebrate your free time and accomplishments. But what about when nightclubs get dangerous? Bar fights and other nightclub violence are not the only dangers of a night out. Accidents can happen for a number of reasons at your favorite night spot. By knowing what you expect you will be better able to avoid being the victim of a nightclub accident.

Common Accidents that can happen on a Night Out

When you get large amounts of people in a small and dimly lit establishment, there is a good chance that an accident of some sort is going to occur. Nightclub accidents can range from minor to deadly, affecting an individual or hundreds of club-goers.

· Slips, trips and falls: spilled drinks, messy bathrooms, and complicated stairs are just some of the common causes of frequent slips, trips and falls in a nightclub setting. These accidents can be the cause of minor injuries or sprains, fractures, breaks and concussions.

· Fires: Fires are the most common catastrophe that devastates nightclubs. They can result from malfunctioning electronics, absentminded cigarette smokers, and faulty wiring. Many clubs do not have adequate or enough fire exits and they can be prone to overcrowding, making a safe fire escape difficult. Although nightclub and bar fires have decreased throughout the United States significantly in the past 75 years, they are still a tragic problem across the globe.

· Assault and battery accidents: Bar fights and bar violence are a tragic element of a night on the town. Unfortunately when alcohol is introduced into social situations tempers and arguments can flare. Fights and violence are often not contained between those who started the argument and can escalate, involving a number of innocent bystanders in the trouble.

· Equipment and staging malfunctions: Some of the best nightclubs are those that are intricately decorated and designed. But these additions can cause some serious danger. Falling props, weak stages and improper railings are just some of the common causes of accidents dealing with malfunctioning equipment and staging.

For More Information

Knowing what can happen is a great first step to preventing an accident from occurring in the first place. It is important to be aware of the everyday dangers that can hurt you at the spots you frequent. Even when you are having fun, you need to be aware of the potential for accidents and how to keep yourself safe. For more information on nightclub accidents and personal injury, visit wpalmerandassociates.com today.

Smoking Ban Ignites Arguments

You might smoke them or hate them – love them or berate them – but regardless of your position, the government has decided to ban smoke from more and more bars, restaurants and cafes across the US. The smoking ban seems to strike a nerve in everyone. The news is either met with extreme glee or extreme irritation – all depending on whether you smoke, don’t smoke, own a bar, feel a ban infringes on your rights or wish the government instituted the ban years ago.

Quite a few controversies surround the smoking bans and smoking in general – and everyone seems to have their own opinion on whether the move towards no smoking was right or wrong:

  • Non-smokers: almost all non-smokers are happy for the ban, and encourage the government apply it to more places, including cars and homes – so that the children of smokers will not have to suffer in a smoky environment.
  • Smokers: the majority of smokers feel as though the public is prejudiced against them. There are even a few who argue that the negative side-effects of smoking are not solidly proven by science. There are less and less people to support this stance as more and more information is published about the risks of smoking.
  • Business Owners: business owners who had to suddenly enforce the ban in their businesses, restaurants, clubs and bars have mixed feelings about the new laws. Some claim that there has been no change in the number of patrons – while others have been completely devastated.
  • Politically Minded: a surprising number of smokers and non-smokers who oppose the ban simply because they see it as an infringement on their rights. They argue that once the door is open to government regulating the behaviors of the public, who knows what other rights will be taken away.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In my opinion, all sides of the smoking ban argument raise legitimate points. Undoubtedly there are benefits to the smoking ban – the obvious being the improvement of public health. On the other side of the card, there are some negative points negatives like the number of business owners who can no longer pay their bills because their patrons have fled to the few, smoke-friendly clubs.

As I’ve researched this article, I have also found some completely unforeseen, border-line weird side-effects of the ban. For example, the statistics on how the ban has impacted drunk driving fatalities, spawned a generation of “healthy” cigarettes and linked barbecues to some of the same chemicals as smoke.

This article will give you a breakdown of my take on smoking bans including “the good, the bad and the ugly”.

The Good

Here are some good things that have been produced by the bans:

  • Drop in Heart Attack Occurrence. This is an absolutely amazing fact! Heart attacks have long been associated with cigarette smoke, since the chemicals in smoke cause narrowing of the veins and arteries in the body, putting strain on the heart. Clotting is also a cause of heart attack that is often directly related to smoking. Research done at the University of California found that after only 1 year of having the smoking ban in effect, heart attack rates were 17% lower than usual! Some of the individual towns studied by the University of California had more dramatic results – Helena, Montana had its heart attack rates cut in half only after 6 months of the smoking ban!
  • Healthier Work Place. Some estimate that working in a smoky environment for a long period of time can cut your life expectancy by 10 years! This is because the same risks that come with smoking also apply for second hand smoke. A smoke-filled workplace can be a non-stop source of secondhand smoke – working an 8 hour shift in a smoking environment is similar to chain smoking for all of those hours. So now your favorite bartender or waiter can look forward to living a longer life with a decreased risk of developing cancer, COPD, stroke or heart attacks. (But then again, if they choose to work in a smoky environment in the first place then avoiding smoke may not be at the top of their list. You would have to agree that no one made them work there – there are many other smoke-free callings and careers out there!)
  • Healthier Restaurants and Bars. No more coming home from a night out with clothing that reeks of smoke! Now your favorite restaurants and nightspots are a healthy place to spend a few hours. Many businesses claim that their number of patrons have increased since the smoking ban – indicating that all of the non-smokers who used to stay home now have a good reason to go out and live it up. Smoke-free restaurants are much better for their youngest customers – since children are at more risk from cigarette smoke because of their small, developing lungs.
  • VFW and Elks Clubs Boost in Members. The few private clubs that do allow smoking are now in high demand. Some organizations like VFW posts and Elk clubs that used to have sparse numbers now are booming with new members (as long as they are exempt from the ban. For many of the clubs that have banned smoking, funds are so tight that they have been forced to give up their charitable donations or have closed completely because of it).
  • More “Quitters”. In some locations, the ban has sparked renewed efforts to quit smoking for good. New York City reports that adult smoking is down 19% – which translates into 240,000 less smokers in NYC’s population. (Unfortunately, the flip side of these statistics is that other areas have actually reported an increase in smoking among working class men since the ban.) Removing the smoke from public places should technically help the fight to quit. This is partially because of the way that nicotine re-wires your brain. The more nicotine that enters your body, the more nicotine receptors develop in your brain to absorb the chemicals. A smokers brain would have billions more of the receptors than a non-smoker. Being in a place where you can smell smoke, or see someone else smoking in enough to switch on the receptors that cause nicotine cravings. The smoking ban cuts the number of times a “quitter” will be reminded of smoke cravings by the nicotine receptors during a night out, making it easier to quit.

The Bad

Here are some negative effects of the smoking ban:

  • Bars and Restaurants Driven Out of Business. It seems like there are many areas in the country where the smoking ban has taken such a toll on their businesses that owners are closing their doors for good. Certain states, like Delaware (40% decrease in profits) have had a substantial loss in profits since the smoking ban took effect. Combined with the economic downturn of recent months, the results are ruinous. For business owners, closing a business down is a nightmare scenario – and for employees it means that their jobs hang in the balance. Clubs like VFW Posts and Elk Clubs that were listed in the “Good” category above can just as easily fall into the “Bad” category all depending on whether the smoking bans applied to them. These organizations were once known for their charitable donations to the community – but now their money making events like Bingo no longer attract a crowd. Now they struggle to keep their doors open.
  • Job Loss. It goes without saying that businesses who have been hit hard by the smoking ban will be the source of lost jobs. These small bars and night clubs might have been flourishing up until they were told that smoking was off limits to their patrons. For many owners, their business was their livelihood – and losing their business spells financial disaster for them. Employees have reason to worry as well. In general, bartenders, waiters and waitresses make very little money per hour, because the greater part of their income comes from tips. The loss of smoking patrons means that they get fewer tips, and as a result, their bills become harder and harder to pay each month.
  • Erosion of Personal / Property Rights. Many people (smoker and non smoker alike) view the government imposed bans on smoking in public places as a dangerous stance. Was it right for the government to ban the use of a legal product on private property? (i.e. any property that is owned by a private citizen. Private Citizens are people who aren’t holding a public office . . . so that means most of us). They see this as infringing on the rights of the public – and that the future may bring more of these controlling mandates on personal or public matters. What’s next? A ban on greasy, fast food meals or a nationwide ice cream ban? Obesity is the fastest growing cause of avoidable deaths and diseases in the U.S., so this would only be the next logical step towards better public health. How would you feel if the government began regulating the meals a restaurant was allowed to serve you – or what food you were allowed to eat in your own home?
  • “The Quitters”. Yes, I know – I just listed the “Quitters” as a “Good” outcome of the smoking ban, but it can just as easily be categorized as “Bad”. This is because the average smoker burns up to 200 calories more per day because of their habit. Also, since nicotine is an appetite suppressant, they are in general less hungry throughout the day. When someone quits smoking, the most common means of coping with the withdrawal is eating. Once taste buds get back their ability to taste after quitting smoking, food will taste better and be even more irresistible. The average quitter gains anywhere from 10-20 pounds – but roughly 10% of all quitters will experience 30 pounds or more in weight gain. This means that out of those 240,000 people who quit smoking in NYC because of the ban, 24,000 of them are will join the ranks of people who are in danger of obesity. Here’s the ironic part: many of the same diseases linked to smoking are linked to obesity (heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, cancers, asthma, depression, etc).

The Ugly

Here are some very strange facts about the smoking ban:

  • More Drunk Driving Deaths. No one wants to die in a hospital bed as a result of inhaling second hand smoke. How about being run down on the road by an inebriated smoker? Oddly enough, the smoking ban actually increases your chances of dying in a car accident. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee compared the number of drunk driving fatalities in areas where smoking was banned versus areas where smoking was still allowed. The results were surprising and suggest that smokers are willing to drive farther and farther just to find a bar where they can light up and enjoy a couple of drinks. Before the bans took effect, a smoker could walk to the local tavern. Now, he must take to the road and drive to a neighboring county or state that allows him to smoke in public. The reasons for the added danger is two fold: getting behind the wheel in the first place and then the added travel time. This means that there are more drunk drivers swerving down the road in smoking ban territory than in smoke-friendly areas. It just seems like if the smoke doesn’t kill you one way, it’s going to kill you another way.
  • Cigarette Companies Developing “Healthy” Cigarettes. Huh? Healthy Cigarettes? The cigarette company British American Tobacco is hard at work developing new, less toxic cigarettes. It sounds crazy, but the truth is that they have been able to reduce the toxins in their new cigarettes by up to 90% as compared to conventional cigarettes. To test their product, they recruited a room full of smokers to puff on the new cigarettes. Then they tested biomarkers in the test subjects’ saliva and urine and compared those levels to regular cigarettes smokers and non-smokers. So, will cigarettes get a healthy, new, image makeover in the future? British American Tobacco would like to think so.
  • Every-Day Sources of the Same Toxins. If you escape the cigarette smoke, then what about the other sources of the same pollutants found in cigarettes. You might be exposed to more of these chemicals than you realize! The frying pan full of bacon, or the barbequed shrimp, or the gas station – these are a few sources of pollutants that are the same as those found in cigarettes. Cooking bacon fills the house with volatile nitrosamines that are the same as those found in cigarette smoke. Eating barbequed food exposes you to polyaromatic hydrocarbons that are also found in smoke. Standing at the gas station to fill up your car – or filling up the lawn mower with gasoline – can easily fill your lungs with a heavy dose of benzene that is present in both gasoline fumes and cigarette smoke. These are just a few examples of other toxic situations that you encounter everyday. Has the smoking ban really made life safer? I guess so – as long as you don’t drive a car or other gas-powered vehicle to your favorite bacon and barbeque-free night spot.

Was placing a Government Ban on Smoking the Only Way?

Whether you are a smoker or not, it sure seems like there were other options out there besides the all out ban.

  • If the government wants a nation of non-smokers, maybe the solution would be taxing cigarettes more heavily – or making them illegal altogether. No – they couldn’t do that because big tobacco pours huge amounts of money into political contributions and has a very powerful lobby. Plus, if cigarettes were made illegal, the loss of tax income to the government would be staggering.
  • Maybe the solution is segregating smokers and non-smoker by creating pro-smoke and anti-smoking bars? It sounds extreme, but it would certainly give customers and employees more options. We don’t need laws for this option – just progressive thinking bar owners.
  • Another plausible solution would be to have smoking hours after the dinner rush – when most people stop at the bar for a drink and a smoke. Pros: prevent children from the heaviest of smoke levels. Cons: unless the business does something to clean the air between the night time smoking hours and the daytime crowds, one could argue that a lot of the smoke is still in the air.
  • What about improving the air inside the bars? This seems like the easiest solution. The challenge is that the most prominent technology in the smoke removal industry were electrostatic smoke eaters. See, companies that made these machines played on the bar and business owners wishes of not wanting to spend money on filters. So, they created electronic smoke eaters that didn’t require filters. But was the problem really solved? Hardly… The electronic smoke eaters required time consuming and messy cleanups. If the electronic smoke eaters weren’t maintained properly, the effectiveness drops off considerably. This basically means that they would stop working. Based on the poor maintenance and even worse performance – the bar and restaurant industry got the incorrect impression that smoke eaters don’t work. As a result, they stopped trying to solve the problem altogether. If more businesses had tried the filter based smoke eaters, they would have had a workable solution. Perhaps if this were the case, bar owners would have solved their own problems and the government could have stayed out of it. Of course no smoke removal system is perfect, but a HEPA filter based smoke eater that also has a carbon filter for gases, fumes and odors and a pre-filter for the heavy particulate can do a really good job. The key is having enough power to filter the air – an entire room needs to cycle through the smoke eater’s filters 10-12 times an hour and then you can really make a dramatic difference in the air quality.

So what do YOU think about the smoking bans?

  • Are you a smoker?
  • A non-smoker?
  • A business owner?

Practical Stress Reduction Tips

Managing your stress level is an important factor to living a healthy and happy life that is often ignored. Most will simply accept the stress rather than try to find ways to reduce it.

However, you should not take stress so lightly. Yes, stress is a natural part of life that everybody experiences and has to deal with in one way or another but there are simple things you can do to help reduce stress or at least manage it better. Taking the steps necessary to manage your stress level will lower your blood pressure, lead to higher energy levels and many other benefits to your health and overall well-being.

Below are a few simple but powerful tips to help you reduce stress in your life.

Eat Healthier & Exercise

It may sound cliche but eating healthier and exercising are the two best things you can do to manage your stress. And mostly everyone already knows this intuitively; treat your body right, give it the nutrients it needs, and it will operate better and more efficiently. The problem comes with actually taking the initiative or finding the motivation to eat healthier and exercise more.

Making dramatic changes to your diet and exercise routine can be an added factor to stress in and of itself, so you’ll want to make very small incremental changes. This not only makes such changes easier to handle and less stressful but it also makes those changes more likely to stick and become a habit. Do a few pushups in the morning at first, take the stairs instead of the elevator, add a banana or an apple to your lunch. Start making these very small changes and add on as time goes on.

De-clutter and Organize

You’d be surprised how much a difference it can make in reducing your stress by simply cleaning up and organizing your home and office. Living in a chaotic mess seems to reflect itself in our lives. Most people find that simply removing the clutter on their desk will improve their mindset and help boost productivity.

Being disorganized also leads to more stress in certain situations, such as when you can’t find your car keys in the morning and you end up running late to work. Or perhaps you need to find an important paper or report but it is lost somewhere in the stack of papers on your desk. You can remove little stressors like these that add to your overall stress level simply by becoming more organized.

Take Your Sleep Seriously

Lack of quality sleep is one of the biggest factors to stress and yet it is the one most ignored. You can get through your day with only four hours of sleep, sure, but it is going to negatively affect your health and add to your stress.

Researchers are continually confirming and uncovering new negative affects of sleep deprivation.

If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep there are free resources available on the internet that may help. The common tips to falling asleep easier include:

1) Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages 3 to 6 hours before you plan to go to sleep.

2) Avoid electronic screens such as computers or television 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to go to sleep because electronic light exposure before sleep disrupts natural body rhythms, excites your visuals and suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin which promotes sleep.

3) Try different relaxation techniques such as meditation.

4) Try reading a book in bed before going to sleep. Reading often helps people become drowsy and the drowsy effect is increased by reading in your bed.

5) If you don’t feel tired when you plan to go to sleep, simply lay in bed and close your eyes and try not to think about anything. You may find that you’ll soon become tired this way and is a better option than turning on the tube which, like mentioned, disrupts your quality of sleep and makes you even less tired.

Get a New Hobby or Join a Group

New experiences or taking up a fun hobby can dramatically reduce stress. Pick up hiking as an outdoor recreational activity for example. Studies actually show that getting out into nature can have a positive effect on our moods. Or you could join a book club or some other group activity. Having fun and enjoying yourself with hobbies and activities is a great way to reduce stress and enhance the quality of your life.

Quit Destructive Habits

If you drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes you may want to consider reducing if not stopping these habits completely. Smoking cigarettes actually does help reduce stress while you are smoking them but cigarettes damage your blood vessels and nerve endings which consequently lead to more overall stress. Alcohol has a similar effect as cigarettes. It may temporarily reduce your stress in the moment but the health disruption it can cause may lead to a net increase in your stress level.

Other destructive habits may include eating unhealthy, over-spending or procrastination. Look for areas where you can improve yourself. Setting goals and reaching for excellence makes you feel better about yourself and will ultimately lead to less stress.

Where Is Our Gift of Reading?

Introduction:

All of us receive and give gifts during our life while on mother earth. Some of these gifts become old and torn, others are no longer relevant in our lives as we grow older and some, which we receive are given to others on Christmas or other holidays and occasions. But one gift given to me by my mother and grandmother is still retained. Which is the gift of reading on a regular or consistent basis.

Forward

The reality that more impressions are received from reading than from all other sources combined, is more relevant to me today, than it was in my younger years. I obviously dreamed or thought that all of my fellow human beings also read on a regular basis, that is until a National Endowment for the Arts Survey in 2004 was revisited in light of recent studies which indicate a national decline in math skills, the inability to find well known counties on a map of the world, what seems to be a general decline of ethics or morality in business and with respect to our elderly, defenseless children and so forth.

NEA Survey

While the reasons for a decline in reading are not spelled out in the NEA study and we are left to ponder this decline which is across gender, ethnicity, age and education lines, we can none the less evaluate the decline based upon our own experience by exploring some of the major obstacles to reading on a regular or consistent basis.

Obstacles To Regular or Consistent Reading

Not Reading To Someone

Few pictures will invoke fonder memories of reading or being read too, than a picture of a child in a grandfather’s lap, looking up as if to grasp and understand every word uttered, while the grandfather smiles as he reads, in enjoyment a story or nursery rhyme which was read to him as a child, by an adult.

The value of reading to our children was called into question by Jean Piaget, whose research showed children are not ready to learn until the age of six or seven; teaching styles were thought to be the problem and rote was replaced by phonics; brain science was becoming of age and baby speak or talk gained greater acceptance as fact rather than fancy; Sesame Street came to television and our very young associated a visual presentation to learning subject or object; and in our quest for material objects and just getting by, our children were literally forced to find books as a companion to replace the lack of parenting.

While we can either agree or disagree with any or all of what has been presented so far, none of us would discount a value of Lent, which to we Catholics is giving up something like cigarettes, but apply this objective in reverse, by doing something of value we do not do at present, like read. To ourselves, to our children, to an audience and in the process develop diction, self-confidence and a feeling of self worth as a parent and world citizen.

Lack of Oral Tradition

Another picture, which comes to our minds at birthdays and other occasions, is that of a loved one who took the time with children and other adults to recall a mind-boggling story, which we can remember even in our later years. Remember this dear reader. Prior to 900 A.D. the world read aloud until Seymour Simon, the scribe made a discovery, white spaces; Gutenberg elevated manuscript culture to an art form; Sputnik gave us ecology which became an art form; and electronic media forged ahead in western culture, while oral traditions dominate eastern culture, not because books, television or electronic media are not readily available and every society realizes the value of listening to an oral presentation, coupled with visually following along, while reinforcing this process with recital. So why not eliminate an obstacle to reading by revisiting or renewal of oral traditions. Just remember this picture of your grandfather with you sitting on his knee long after he has left mother earth and do what your heart says for you to do.

Drudgery Not Pleasure

A man in the mid 1600s named Antonio di Marco Magliabechi confessed that he could read, comprehend and memorize entire volumes at a rapid rate, yet when we were reading Dick and Jane in the first grade it took hours, the reading list in high school and college took weeks to complete, leaving very little time for actual study or going to the movie show and then we realized the problem. We just read too slowly, did not remember very much of what we had read, what we did remember was not retained from reading until test time. Reading became drudgery not a pleasure, until Evelyn Wood burst upon the scene with a few discoveries, which firmly established speed-reading. Reading at last became a pleasure. While our readers may agree or disagree with what has been written, is there any one of us who would not gladly trade our current reading or not reading habit for one in which we can triple reading speed with the same comprehension or better?

Conclusions

While there are many more obstacles to our friend, reading, this short list is at least an excellent start. Now having said that and written this paper, I must contemplate the reaction to having a published something to read, which just may benefit non- readers who have not been exposed to the value of reading on a regular and continuing basis. Perhaps you dear reader could help by engaging in our oral traditions by telling someone about this article, and then let them read the article and both of you reinforcing by discussion what has been learned.
Who really knows, if you give a child or adult the gift of reading, the gift may be the greatest gift given or received. Now let your mind wander and ponder the how and why.

Citations:

History of Speed Reading and Evelyn Wood, by H. Bernard Wechsler, March 31, 2003

The Reading Matrix, Volume 1, Number 1, April 2001

National Endowment for the Arts Survey, 2002

Schools Attuned Online, All Kinds of Minds, 1999-2006

Kump, Peter (1988). Break-through rapid reading. New York: Prentice Hall.

Redway, Kathryn (1999). Here’s How: Be a rapid reader. New York: Learningworks.

Statement of Dr. G. Reid Lyon, Committee on Labor and Human Resources, April 28, 1998.

David Bouchard (2001) The Gift of Reading

Footnote: This article is dedicated to Bill Morgan, Webmaster of Lagoon View Yacht Club Award Program.