No butts about it...
August 9, 2002 12:51 PM   Subscribe

No butts about it... Bloomberg plans to ban smoking in small bars and restaurants in NYC. Why not? The pope took it even further. And after all, it won't hurt business owners. Perhaps a better plan would be to limit food portions instead. How do NYC smokers feel about this? I know Carrie Bradshaw will not be too thrilled.
posted by bmxGirl (125 comments total)

 
Whiny ass little mayor needs to back off. NOW.
posted by hummus at 12:52 PM on August 9, 2002


In stark contrast to predictions of economic ruin, bars around the state appear to have enjoyed a healthy increase in business during the first year of a controversial smoking ban, fresh sales data show.

Ooo, hoo-ray! More people are drinking and not smoking!
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:59 PM on August 9, 2002


*starter pistol*

And they're off!!

*announcer voice*
coming around turn one is Angry Opening Comment but snarky rebuttal is fast on his tail. Folks this thread looks a little slick so we'll have to see if that has any effect on the race.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:01 PM on August 9, 2002


No smoking in bars in NYC? Man. I might as well sell my soul.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:03 PM on August 9, 2002


...bars around the state appear to have enjoyed a healthy increase in business during the first year of a controversial smoking ban, fresh sales data show.

Also a much higher incidence of labels peeled off of beer bottles, as peoples' hands now can't fidget with cigarettes...
posted by argybarple at 1:03 PM on August 9, 2002


It was dumb in LA, and it will be dumb in NY. If people want to sit around and sop up lung cancer it should be their choice to do so. Doesn't the government have more important things to attend to?
posted by owillis at 1:05 PM on August 9, 2002


The city in which I live banned smoking in bars and restaurants about a year ago.

Smokers hate it. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that restaurant and bar workers have felt the effect in reduced tips. (Apparently people like to smoke in bars.) But non-smokers seem to like the change.

And the results have been: (1) a pretty predictable mix of arguments between "smokers' rights" and "healthy living" (2) bars and restaurants paying hefty fines when someone fires up a butt (3) attempts to start "private clubs" (actually former bars retrofitted with key-card entry systems) with nominal membership fees where people can smoke and drink at the same time (which the smoke police shut down) (4) bars setting up outside "patios" in the dead of winter so people can smoke and drink, and (5) good old-fashioned disrespect for the bylaw.

What a mess.

Full disclosure: I'm a smoker, and I had to step outside the pub at lunchtime to have a smoke today. But the weather was nice, so I didn't mind.
posted by 314/ at 1:07 PM on August 9, 2002


You know, this has come up quite a bit in the past couple of years nationwide. As a smoker, yeah it would piss me off. But i'm not going to moan about that aspect of it. The thing that gets me is that you are taking away the rights of business owners to run their establishment the way they want to. Telling them that they can't allow a legal practice in their owned place just reeks of something very illegal.

Allow business owners to ban smoking in their establishment. Fine. But also allow them to permit it if they would like to.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:08 PM on August 9, 2002


coming around turn one is Angry Opening Comment but snarky rebuttal is fast on his tail. Folks this thread looks a little slick so we'll have to see if that has any effect on the race.

That is SO much funnier when I imagine the japanese announcer's voice from the movie "Better Off Dead".

Doesn't the government have more important things to attend to?

Apparently no, which is why they should just quit and leave everyone alone.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2002


Smoking in bars and restaurants has been banned here (Waterloo, Ontario) for a couple years now - and it's great. Non-smokers love it - you can actually go out to a bar and come home smelling somewhat normal. Smokers don't mind much - pretty much every bar has a patio (there are two seasons in Canada - winter, and patio), so it's a convenient place for people to light up. In the winter, it's a little colder - so there's usually a rash of people "trying to quit" in January.

Has it affected bar sales? Nope. Not in the least. Everybody still wants to drink.

Notable difference from the post above, though - if you're caught smoking in a bar, the individual pays the fine, not the establishment.
posted by Darryl at 1:16 PM on August 9, 2002


Who cares if it affects profits, I don't like the idea of the State (and I don't mean the MTV sketch comedy) telling bars from the top-down what their clients can and can't do with a legal drug (or really any other drug for that matter).
posted by insomnyuk at 1:22 PM on August 9, 2002


Ufez: Telling them that they can't allow a legal practice in their owned place just reeks of something very illegal.

Illegal? I wouldn't got that far. There's a lot of things you can't do in a business and usually for a good reason. Here in Illinois all hamburgers must be cooked well done to kill any slaughterhouse germs. Yet at home I can eat all the raw burger I want. Is this tellling restaurant owners what to do? Yes. Is it illegal, unconsitutional, etc - no.
posted by skallas at 1:26 PM on August 9, 2002


While I do see the point in enforcing health standards, I feel banning smoking in bars goes abit to far. This should be a choice made by the business owner, not the city/state/federal government.

In my town we are allowed (for now) to smoke in bars. Some bars have realized that being smoke-free is a selling point. Often I hear non-smoking friends say "I don't want to go to that bar - too much smoke." There are a whole series of bars that are quite busy because of their no-smoking policies.

We, as customers, are free to choose to go to 'smoking bars' or 'non smoking bars.' The government doesn't need to make that choice for us.

And one more thing: If smoking is banned in all bars, could this lead to more drunks in the streets? 20+ people, drunk and smoking in front of a club or bar can lead to trouble real, real fast.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:28 PM on August 9, 2002


I'm a non-smoker and I'm still against this proposal. If the government has such a problem with cigarettes they should outright make them illegal. But, no, they wouldn't do that, it would cut into tax revenue.
posted by reverendX at 1:28 PM on August 9, 2002


20+ people, drunk and smoking in front of a club or bar can lead to trouble real, real fast.

True. On a similar note... I was in a non-smoking club in D.C. back in January. There was a balcony outside, upstairs for us smokers (yes, I am a smoker, Newports in a box please). There were about 50 people crammed on this balcony that was very unstable. I guess they figure it is safer to fall off of a collapsing balcony than breathe second hand smoke for an hour or two once a week.
posted by bmxGirl at 1:34 PM on August 9, 2002


insomnyuk: telling bars from the top-down what their clients can and can't do with a legal drug

I can't disagree more. The serving of alcohol in many, if not all the states, involves some controls to avoid pukers, drunk drivers, and alcohol poisoning. A serious drug like alcohol needs to be controlled. This is a compromise between some kind of idealized libertarianism and outright prohibition.

Its fairly obvious from my posting history that I'm part of the decriminalization/legalization crowd, but i would never advocate a control free environment for drug use.

Currently, Nevada is working towards legalizing pot for home use and with the possibility of legalizing it in Amsterdam-like smoke houses, but not openly in public. I think its these kind of compromises which make sense and are feasible compared to the idealized libertarian nonsense of give me all the guns and drugs you have and let me worry about the consequences. Of course, Joe Libertarian better have some god damn awesome insurance if he's going to be fucked out of gourd all the time in the name of personal responsiblity. Social control through legislation is not always a bad thing. I don't see too many people complaining about stop signs, fair hiring practicies, etc.
posted by skallas at 1:34 PM on August 9, 2002


The thing that gets me is that you are taking away the rights of business owners to run their establishment the way they want to. Telling them that they can't allow a legal practice in their owned place just reeks of something very illegal.

My thoughts exactly. I am decidedly a non-smoker, never started, never really understood why I'd want to. As far as I'm concerned, if you're a non-smoker in an establishment and you do not want to be around smoke - you're welcome to leave. Your are then making your choice by not patronizing establishments which allow smoking and if economics dictate that the business needs to change, it will. In my experience, I tend to find perfumes, colognes and other scents far more disagreeable than smoke anyway...
posted by RevGreg at 1:35 PM on August 9, 2002


It's off subject - but I found the results of the high taxation on cigarettes interesting
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:37 PM on August 9, 2002


But, no, they wouldn't do that, it would cut into tax revenue.

And campaign money


Skallas: That's interesting. So if I hear you right, you can't order a hamburger cooked "medium"? Does that go for steaks and whatnot too? I've never heard of such a law. But so long as people know what they're getting into, and the service is legal, I don't see why the gov't should be able to say yes or no to it. Guess that's where our political ideaologies split, though.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:38 PM on August 9, 2002


oops:
A large tax increase on cigarettes in New York City has sent sales plummeting.

Cigarette sales fell almost 50 percent last month when compared to July of 2001. That's after the city raised the tax on each pack from eight cents to a dollar-50, which is driving the price of some name brand cigarettes to more than seven dollars a pack.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported the tax increase to help close the city's record budget gap. Despite the fall in sales, the tax generated an additional ten (m) million dollars in revenue.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:39 PM on August 9, 2002


If people want to sit around and sop up lung cancer it should be their choice to do so.

How about my right to sit in a bar and not do so?
Last time I checked, it was smokers who are invading on the rights of non-smokers by forcing them to be in an environment that they made the choice not to be in, when they chose not to take up smoking.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2002


How about my right to sit in a bar and not do so?
Last time I checked, it was smokers who are invading on the rights of non-smokers by forcing them to be in an environment that they made the choice not to be in, when they chose not to take up smoking.


Nobody's taking away that right. You have the choice to go to any number of non-smoking bars in most every city. I'm sorry if you want to hang out at one that allows smoking, but that's your choice. You have to weigh the options b/w hanging out at a "less cool' place or being around the smoke.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2002


telling bars from the top-down what their clients can and can't do with a legal drug

...that harms others. I'm all for freedom, anyone can do anything they want, legal or otherwise (I don't care, it's not my business) -- only as long as it doesn't infringe on others.

You can't smoke in a bar because it harms the health of employees and patrons not smoking.

I know determining where someone's personal freedom ends as it starts hurting others is a somewhat vague idea, but having to breathe cancer-causing second-hand smoke against my will seems pretty clear to me.
posted by mathowie at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2002


So what next? Will we ban smoking on sidewalks? At the beach? Will we ban it in cars? In homes with children? Geez...enough already!
posted by Durwood at 1:49 PM on August 9, 2002


I know determining where someone's personal freedom ends as it starts hurting others is a somewhat vague idea, but having to breathe cancer-causing second-hand smoke against my will seems pretty clear to me.


Against your will? Are you forced to go to a bar that allows smoking? Are there indentured servitude laws forcing people to work in bars?
posted by Ayn Marx at 1:58 PM on August 9, 2002


Well, I come into this debate as a former smoker who has been clean of cigarettes for two months and aims to avoid a Less than Zero nicotine lifestyle for the rest of his life. I will say that, if you are a smoker, you really have no idea how much you stink. Cigarettes, particularly menthols and cigars, are so potent that any non-smoker can discern them from a good 30 to 40 feet away.

Conversely, I do believe that smokers have a right to have at least one public place to smoke. And since hell doesn't appear to be available, it would seem to me that such a public place should be somewhere which (a) short of a Warsaw slum, possesses the least desirable toilet in the Western world and (b) goes out of its way to sell things which are terribly bad for you. A bar fills both of these quotas.

If we were banning cigarettes from a health club, then that would make a good deal of sense. After all, how many people are likely to step off a treadmill and wolf down a pack of Camels? And banning cigarettes from a restaurant makes a good deal of sense because a non-smoker really doesn't deserve to have second-hand smoke blowing in his face when a remarkable slice of pie a la mode awaits beneath his nose.

But bars? I fail to see how the heart and liver disease caused by excessive alcohol undermines one's right to get heart and lung disease caused by excessive cigarettes. That's almost as silly as trying to ban Ritalin users from Starbucks.
posted by ed at 2:01 PM on August 9, 2002


as a former smoker (3 packs unfiltered camels per day (punk rock girl!) quit cold turkey 17 yrs ago) i have no sympathy whatsoever for those that do. your freedom only extends to how you treat your own body, it does not extend to having the right to harm others. telling non-smokers to just leave is the height of some sort of unmitigated selfishness that i can't begin to fathom.

that being said, i'm entirely grateful to the smokers in my fair city who have had the decency to accept the the ban which my city had the courage to put in place. you're better than most.

i do think it's ridiculous that the ban nyc is proposing extends to smoking clubs tho'... clearly someone who doesn't want to be around smoke would know not to hang out in or apply for a job in one. it seems ideal that clubs like this exist so why put them out of business. stupid.
posted by t r a c y at 2:02 PM on August 9, 2002


Tempe, AZ, recently passed a law banning smoking in bars and restaurants. However, people still smoke in many bars because of an interesting omissions: The law requires bar owners to post signs stating that smoking in the bar is illegal, but nobody is obligated to stop people if they go and smoke anyway. Pretty funny, really. Now the healthiban is planning to amend the law to plug this "loophole". I say, just deputize every bar owner and conscript them into state service.
posted by Ayn Marx at 2:03 PM on August 9, 2002


When I visit restaurants or bars in smoking areas (I'm from LA), it takes quite a bit of adjustment to cope with the smoke. I am also reminded how pleasant a smoke-free room is -- heck, food and drinks even seem to taste better.

Have there been instances of drunk and angry smokers rioting just outside of bars because of the restrictions? Nope. Have sales been affected? No. Are smokers comfortable with the rules? Mostly. I think that most smokers understand what an effect a cigarette can have in a closed space, even if they are themselves inconvenienced.
posted by TskTsk at 2:06 PM on August 9, 2002


How about my right to sit in a bar and not do so?

but having to breathe cancer-causing second-hand smoke against my will seems pretty clear to me.


No one is forcing you to go to a bar where people smoke. There is no 'right' involved, other than the business' property rights, and your right of free choice. If you really want to avoid second hand smoke, avoid businesses that allow smoking, and don't let it take place on your property, but don't tell me what to do with mine.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:06 PM on August 9, 2002


Ufez: Does that go for steaks and whatnot too?

Nope, the issue here is one of public safety. Hamburgers are, lets face it, made from crap meat ground together. Because of this they are a haven for germs. Steaks and other non-ground up cuts of meat are pretty safe raw. E. Coli generally doesn't kill steak eaters.

Ufez: I don't see why the gov't should be able to say yes or no to it. Guess that's where our political ideaologies split, though.

Its a health issue obviously. Would you rather have Corporate American or Ma and Pa's Chicken do their own self-policing in regards to the duties the health department does? No thanks.
posted by skallas at 2:07 PM on August 9, 2002


Maybe they will start banning walking outside here in Atlanta considering that the air in Unhealthy For Certain Groups (orange alerts everyday since June, even one red alert which is saying Unhealthy for Everyone so don't breathe).

I am irritated by these laws. As a smoker but not a drinker I am willing to deal with loud, rude, drunks who get into cars and endanger my life so you can deal with my smoke. Chances are you can see if I'm smoking and choose to sit elsewhere.
posted by bas67 at 2:08 PM on August 9, 2002


Cigarette sales fell almost 50 percent last month when compared to July of 2001. That's after the city raised the tax on each pack from eight cents to a dollar-50, which is driving the price of some name brand cigarettes to more than seven dollars a pack.

Brilliant. Hello black market! Prohibition, its been so long, but I bet we can remember how it works.

And hello cigarette transport theft!
posted by insomnyuk at 2:10 PM on August 9, 2002


Against your will? Are you forced to go to a bar that allows smoking? Are there indentured servitude laws forcing people to work in bars?

The same argument could be used on smokers. Why not just go outside if you can't do it in the bar any longer? Why are you even making a big deal out of it.

I have no problem with people smoking in large, open spaces. Outdoors, there is some obvious mitigation of the effects by wind. Inside closed spaces (all bars, restaurants, etc) other customers are "trapped" by the effects. Same goes for baseball stadiums where I have an assigned seat and can't get away from your smoke.

There is also the basic consideration for others, what happened to that? I don't bring a boombox with me to bars and crank my own music on my legal radio, because it is annoying and disrespectful to others. Nor do I shout at the top of my lungs constantly in close quarters. When I lived in a big apartment building, I didn't crank up my stereo whenever I wanted to rock out, and if I was going to plan a party, I asked all my neighbors first, and warned them on the day of the event. If I go to a potluck dinner, I don't heap all the food I can onto my plate, forgetting about others that also have to share what is available. I don't see much difference between any of those propositions and smoking around others that may not want to share in the smoke.
posted by mathowie at 2:14 PM on August 9, 2002


Since a large number, possibly a majority of smokers are too detached from reality to appreciate the vile toxicity of secondhand smoke, a ban is, clearly the best policy. The alternative of having all-smoking bars and restaurants is runner-up, by I suspect that's not realistic.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:17 PM on August 9, 2002


So, if this goes through, will this drive all you smokers over to Hoboken for your drinking activity?
posted by lilboo at 2:19 PM on August 9, 2002


Paris: When you are addicted to cigarettes, you are entirely unaware of that toxicity. I definitely wasn't when I was smoking. When my nasal passages cleared up, oh boy oh boy, did I realize what a slime I smelled like.

Concerning consideration, if I happen to go into a neighborhood bar in which every regular smokes, then the last thing I'm going to do is get on my high horse and say, "Hey, can you put that out?" I'll either learn to live with the toxic fumes making me cough or I'll simply stop hanging out at that bar. Whether you are a smoker or a nonsmoker, to go into another place and demand that everyone capitulate to your mores, customs and lifestyle seems downright inconsiderate from my point of view. I can't imagine how any squeamish non-smoker could get through Europe with that kind of mentality.
posted by ed at 2:26 PM on August 9, 2002


If you really want to avoid second hand smoke, avoid businesses that allow smoking, and don't let it take place on your property, but don't tell me what to do with mine.

If someone chooses to smoke, it becomes their responsibility to consider the impact that it will have on others - not the other way round. It's the smoker that is causing the problem so the onus is entirely on them to solve it by putting the thing out or going outside. Why on earth should a non smoker have to scour the streets for a different bar just to avoid breathing in your smoke?
posted by zygoticmynci at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2002


Sheesh. We expected this nonsense from those crazy Californians. But New York? The New York of Nat Sherman? I swear to god, if they pull this off I'm moving to Alaska.

Second-hand smoke is not dangerous. It may be unpleasant. It does not cause cancer. Yes, we've all heard about the EPA's report stating that it does. You probably hadn't heard that a federal judge declared that study invalid and stated that the EPA manipulated the facts to come to a pre-set conclusion.

The question here is not about the rights of smokers vs. non-smokers in bars. The question is about the rights of business owners; don't tell me what my patrons can do in my bar that I bought and paid for.

And non-smokers, when you stop driving vehicles that spew lethal CO2 (among other lovely chemicals) and wearing potentially poisonous perfumes, give me a call. Until then, I'll smoke when and where I damn well please, thanks all the same.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 2:30 PM on August 9, 2002


Perhaps Bloomberg should focus his energy (and the city's tax money!) not on enforcing the ban on smoking in bars but instead improving the public schools.

This is a mean prank he's pulling, and if he ran with this as part of his platform I don't think that he would have gotten elected. You'd think that since packs in a store in NYC cost 7-8 bucks that we'd at least be allowed to smoke them.

The black market in NYC is huge, people come up to me trying to sell me cartons, there was a huge bust in Chinatown for bootleg cigarettes recently, and hell, people are selling cartons on craigslist.
posted by panopticon at 2:32 PM on August 9, 2002


Face it. In a century or less, people will look back in awe at how a disgusting, toxic habit which took root in what, the "1500's(?), survived for another 6 centuries. And how those whose brains and reasoning were not affected by it, tolerated breathing it in public places.

You cannot trust smokers to decide where they should be permitted to smoke. Just as you cannot trust polluters to decide where they should emit.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2002


Ishamel: Well, I guess the World Health Organization is a bunch of liars. Trust me on this one: second-hand smoke seeps into walls, clothing and your very skin pores. Ever since I stopped smoking, women are more apt to talk with me than breathe in the dilapidated gas burner I once smelled like. Kisses and hugs are majestic. Ice cream cones are divine. Man, texture against lips kicks some serious ass these days! I can sprint to the N Judah now if I'm running late. I can see through walls. Life is good. Believe me. While your corporeal decisions are ultimately your choice, I encourage any smoker to try this life out. Funny how no "The Truth" commercial emphasizes the positivism.

You cannot trust antismokers to be anything but belligerent and discouraging to those who want to escape this addiction.
posted by ed at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2002


Perhaps the Mayor is doing both. Perhaps stigmatizing a vile, toxic habit will have a positive impact on children.

(Oh, how many times I have wanted to yell at smoking parents walking down the street with little children!)
posted by ParisParamus at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2002


If I happen to go into a neighborhood bar in which every regular smokes, then the last thing I'm going to do is get on my high horse and say, "Hey, can you put that out?"

That's not something I'd ever do, which is why I avoid bars that people smoke in whenever possible.

If you go back up to my consideratin for others rant, I'm talking about it from the point of view of the smokers. If I were sitting in a bar, and felt like smoking, I wouldn't do it, because it's likely to annoy others, just like me wanting to throw a party in a building I shared with 40 other families.
posted by mathowie at 2:48 PM on August 9, 2002


I am willing to deal with loud, rude, drunks who get into cars and endanger my life so you can deal with my smoke. Chances are you can see if I'm smoking and choose to sit elsewhere.

It's rare that I find a post exhibiting the rhetorical skill necessary to successfully and truthfully compare second-hand smoke with "loud, rude, drunks who get into cars" and endanger life.

Congratulations on that analogy. And so, if I find you drunk in a car I'm going to haul your criminal ass out of the car in a really brusque (sorry) way and take you to jail. Similarly, if you're found producing a class A carcinogen where working people, children with asthma, pregnant women, and other decent folk are trying to breathe, nonsmokers are liable to do the same thing.

So smokers, when you see nonsmokers coming, move on out by the trash cans and into the alley to finish your little suck-fix. You can be damned sure nonsmokers aren't going to continue to accomodate your addiction. In other words, you go sit somewhere else like outside the bar, restaurant, etc.

Oh, and "property rights?" Let me know if you have a god-given "property right" to disseminate something like anthrax in your bar, will you?

There's another accurate analogy for you.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:56 PM on August 9, 2002


You have to weigh the options b/w hanging out at a "less cool' place or being around the smoke.

Yeah, because smoking is so cool.

Get real.

This is no different than any thing else being pushed on someone who is unwilling. If you are being subjected to a deadly chemical at work, the government doesn't just say "Well you have the choice to work at a higher paying job (more cool) and be subjected to this chemical, or go to a lower paying job (less cool) and not have to deal with this. Take it or leave it"

Bull!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:12 PM on August 9, 2002


Oh, yeah, comparing tobacco smoke to anthrax is a real accurate analogy. After all, something that may induce, after decades of prolonged exposure, a fairly small lessening of one's life expectancy is exactly the same as something which causes painful death within days of one exposure. Uh-huh.

if I were sitting in a bar, and felt like smoking, I wouldn't do it, because it's likely to annoy others

People need to take into account some basic cultural differences, here. I don't know where you live; in every place I've ever lived, smoking anywhere it's allowed--especially in a bar--is definitely not likely to annoy anybody. Nobody complains about my smoking, ever. When I go to a bar, at least 90-95% of those present are smoking. Moreover, even though I've been smoking for only a year and a few months, and even though I'm young and my memory is still fairly good, I don't seem to recall ever having been annoyed by people smoking around me, even when every one of my friends smoked and I didn't.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 3:16 PM on August 9, 2002


<rant style="profane">
Smokers? Fuck 'em.

If they ate their cigarettes, I wouldn't care. If they shot them, snorted them, used them as suppositories or, as George Carlin said, rubbed them into their bellies ... I wouldn't care.

But they set them on fire in public, and blow their nasty smoke into my face without asking me if I want their nasty smoke in my face and in my lungs. Their rights to smoke end where the air I breathe begins.

So fuck 'em.
</rant>

Call this a troll if you like; such demeanor is uncharacteristic of me, but this is something I feel strongly about. I don't care what smokers do to their own bodies, if they can figure a way to do it without exhaling their effluvia into mine. I look forward to the day when someone would no sooner think of smoking in a public place than he or she would think of urinating in a public place.
posted by chuq at 3:24 PM on August 9, 2002


No one has the right to force any carcinogen in to my body, nor dose any one have the right to keep me from a public common area because of an undesirable activity. People do not go to a bar to smoke, they go to drink. People do not go to a restaurant to smoke, they go to eat. I have no problem with "smoking clubs" or any thing were the main activity and point of the establishment is for the patrons to enjoy tobacco (or what ever maybe legal). I do not go to Tai restaurants, because I do not enjoy Tai food, same as I would avoid "smoking clubs" as I do not enjoy smoke, yet some people do.

Smoking is NOT a right... it is a privilege...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:25 PM on August 9, 2002


A few things:

Let's not obscure this issue with smoker's rights vs. nonsmoker's rights. It's not chiefly about that, it's about the government legislating away the choice of business owners.

If you don't like the (literal) atmosphere of a bar or restaurant, don't go there. If enough people do that, the venue will change or go out of business. If you don't like inhaling chemicals at work, don't work there. If enough people do that, they won't be able to hire a decent staff. Sheesh, this isn't hard.

The comparison between smoking and eating rare meat is a pretty bad one, I think. At least where I live, the restaurants which refuse to cook anything less than medium do so of their own volition, to avoid liability should some customer come down with food poisoning. Here restaurants (and bars) also have the right to choose if they want to allow their patrons to smoke. If I want to avoid cigarettes, I don't go to the places that allow them. If I want to go to one of the establishments which allows smoking because the food/atmosphere/company is better, I do -- and I wouldn't dream of whining about the smoke. I waived my right to kvetch when I voluntarily stepped through the door. Quite frankly, I like the choice. I like the variety. Yes, sometimes that means that the smoke gets in the way of my enjoyment of some of my favorite night spots, but I don't recall anybody giving me some sort of holy promise that all bars and restaurants should shape themselves to my preferences.

Most people do lots of unhealthy things, and I'm pretty quick to agree that driving a car is much worse for public health then smoking. Can anybody show that smoking is as significant a factor in global warming as vehicle emissions? Aren't nonsmoking motorists, following that, a bigger public health threat then those who are just smokers? Shouldn't we focus our vitriol on motorists, or at least on motorists as well?
posted by amery at 3:28 PM on August 9, 2002


One of the things I loved about LA (and so did my kids) was the fact you could go to a restaurant and NOT smell smoke. Non-smoking sections don't cut it, smoke still drifts over. I can't believe this is still even an issue in places.
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 3:44 PM on August 9, 2002


I just wish I could find out which bars or restaurants allowed and didn't allow smoking without the labor of showing up at each one and waiting for someone to light up. Signs would be nice, or notes with the yellow pages.
posted by stoneegg21 at 4:12 PM on August 9, 2002


As a smoker who has lived in NYC for a large portion of my life, one learns the importance of consideration for anything smoking related. If I venture out to a restaurant that says NO-SMOKING on the front door I make the decision and don't think twice about smoking while enjoying the food at the fine establishment. If I go to a bar or restaurant that allows smoking, generally out of politeness I size up the room and if a large majority is not smoking I go out on the street to smoke. I don't smoke around kids or even in my house.

Here's what I don't get. Landlords are legally allowed to decide if they rent to smokers or pet owners for that matter. This has worked well for many years. There is an entire set of case law to deal with any specific violations that occur.

Why should restaurant owners not have this choice? Living above a 2 packer a day is far more dangerous in the long term. In the struggling restaurant industry of NYC, this a very risky and costly policy for many owners who are barely making it by as it is.
posted by dasibiter at 4:16 PM on August 9, 2002


As a child of the 70's, I remember when people smoked everywhere. They smoked in HOSPITALS for Crissakes!!
My grandmother was a volunteer "Lunch Lady" at my Elementary School. She smoked those long, brown "Mores", in the cafeteria. This led to me being teased mercilessly..."Your granny smokes cigars...haha..."
Anyway, I'm glad those day's are gone, God knows how many kids from my school ended up with asthma b/c of "Granny's cigars". That being said, I think there should be, at least, one last bastion for smokers; and bars seem to be it. When they tried to ban smoking in bars here, (Montgomery County MD) the bar owners pitched a fit. They argued that they would lose all of their business to nearby D.C. night spots. The proposal was eventually squashed. I foresee NYC Bar owners making the same argument about customers fleeing to New Jersey... Yikes!
posted by buz46 at 4:19 PM on August 9, 2002


Ottawa's bars and restos - smoke-free - are absolutely wonderful.

No one is forcing you to go to a bar where people smoke.
And no one was forcing me to go and vote for a municipal government that cleared the air in our restaurants and taverns. But I did. Lots of us did.
posted by Marquis at 4:21 PM on August 9, 2002


Steve_at_Linnwood: No one has the right to force any carcinogen in to my body, nor dose any one have the right to keep me from a public common area because of an undesirable activity.

This rhetoric is running amok.

Point the First: Smokers aren't tying you down and forcing you to smoke at gunpoint. You're choosing to go to a place where there's smoke in the air.

Point the Second: You called bars and restaurants "public common area". I'd challenge you on this. Parks and streets are public common areas -- bars and restaurants are private establishments. The owner, not you, should have the right to decide what legal activities should go on inside. If you find what they allow to be undesirable, don't take it out on the other customers. Take it out on the owner by refusing to patronize the establishment. But please, don't claim you're being "kept" from it by force. That's misleading.

Yes, that means some of the establishments you like might be unpleasant to visit. It sucks when that happens, especially when you work there and have to find a new job. I speak from experience. But you find a new place. Life goes on.

If you want to make a case for banning smoking in real public common areas, then your argument would be much better.
posted by amery at 4:27 PM on August 9, 2002


government control of the smoking in bars issue is a tough one and while i'm sure there is a wonderful comprimise out there - i'm fairly positive our legislators will never find it.

one thing i do know is if you take a decent sized room and fill it will 30 people and only one of them is smoking a few cigarettes an hour... everyone in that room will not only smell it but will smell like it even after they leave. this is insanely rude on the part of the smoker. smoking is surely one of the most rude things i can think of someone doing while in an enclosed space. you'd be upset if someone spilled their drink on you so why can't i be upset if you saturate my body with smoke?

maybe the govn't can give incentives to bars that ban smoking or sell some kind of smoking permit/license that would allow a bar to have smoking indoors. if the bar felt it was losing money it could just apply for a smoking permit and reap the rewards of hordes of smokers filling their bar up with tar. mmmm... tar.
posted by ggggarret at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2002


If you don't like inhaling chemicals at work, don't work there.

The workers' rights reason is one of the smoking ban's biggest backers in my opinion. Telling someone that they have to put up with cigarette smoke as part of their job isn't very fair. It's discriminatory against people with lung problems and it's also unfair to those who want to work in the restaurant/bar business.
posted by ODiV at 4:40 PM on August 9, 2002


To quote Steve Martin:

If I'm in a restaurant, and someone says, "Hey, mind if I smoke?"

I say, "Why, no...mind if I fart? It's one of my habits..."

Congratulations to NYC for joining the civilized world. I know, I know, we granola-eatin', tree-huggin' Californians with our Health Nazi laws, we're so oppressive of smokers' rights.

Damn straight. And we smell better, too.
posted by RakDaddy at 4:49 PM on August 9, 2002


Steve_at_Linnwood: If you are being subjected to a deadly chemical at work, the government doesn't just say "Well you have the choice to work at a higher paying job (more cool) and be subjected to this chemical, or go to a lower paying job (less cool) and not have to deal with this. Take it or leave it."

On the contrary, I have worked jobs where there was a very similar vibe, if not an openly stated warning. Some jobs come with hazards, and sometimes those hazards include potentially toxic chemicals in the air. Signs are posted, liability contracts are signed. It happens.

skallas: Its a health issue obviously. Would you rather have Corporate American or Ma and Pa's Chicken do their own self-policing in regards to the duties the health department does? No thanks.

Interesting you should say this. Here in Los Angeles, that's close to what happens. The health department inspects restaurants regularly, and then assigns that restaurant a letter grade, which they are required to post in public view. It's usually A or B, but I have seen places displaying a C, and even some restaurants with grades so low they are marked with a number instead of a letter grade, like "48%." The goverment doesn't actually shut down restaurants here for cleanliness issues except in extreme cases. People see the grade, and then they vote with their dollars on whether the restaurant is going to stay in business despite health risks. A lot of them do stay open.

I'm from Kansas, where going to a bar to drink implies that smoking is going to be going on all around you. Smoking is part of the drinking experience for me, and it's frustrating to not have a big choice of bars where you can do both at once. Fortunately, the weather here outside is usually pleasant, and many restaurants and bars have patios which are not so much "smoking sections" as areas where you can smoke if you want to. And, of course, there ARE bars in L.A. where you can smoke inside. It's illegal, but it's understood. People who don't want to be around smokers don't go there. It's a bit silly to me that this has to be a "secret," it's happening anyway.

Paris: In a century or less, people will look back in awe at how a disgusting, toxic habit which took root in what, the "1500's(?), survived for another 6 centuries.

It only took root in the 1500s for white people. It's been going on in general for about 2000 years, though. I think there might be a few things we look back on with more disdain and incomprehension.
posted by bingo at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2002


lots of people are talking about smokers' rights vs. those of non-smokers, but this could be more about a different right all together: states' rights.

now, i'm just regurgitating what my poly-sci major of a husband has said to me on a number of occasions, but didn't our founding fathers set up this great country to be a [relatively] loose federation of states? my understanding is that they intended for state governments to have more jurisdiction over their laws than the federal government.

in other words, if you wanted to live in a state where abortion was illegal, pot legal, no death penalty, mormons ran the show, etc., you would move to the state that suited your needs/temperament/political leanings best.

of course, leaving your job, home, and family is a pretty big sacrifice to make just to move to a state that prohibits/allows smoking in bars, but the argument could be made that that concept of states' rights was part of what this country was built on. then again, the whole discussion is pretty moot in this case, considering it's dealing with a city and not the whole state.
posted by brigita at 5:18 PM on August 9, 2002


Yeah, because smoking is so cool.

Get real.


Thanks Sarge Friday. Next you'll be warning us against the evils of "yellows, reds, uppers, downers, mary jane, horse, smack".

Thanks for the lung pics. They make great desktop backgrounds.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:38 PM on August 9, 2002


I'm a full on Libertarian, so I'm not at all comfortable with the government telling people or business owners what they can do. That said, I live in Los Angeles, and thank god for the draconian laws that have all but eliminated smoke around this town. It is SO MUCH BETTER when smokers aren't allowed to smoke.

I don't care about the health issues. My main problem with cigarettes is that they don't kill you fast enough. If smoking had a 1 year 90% mortality rate, I would be thrilled beyond belief. When I see those anti-smoking ads that talk about all the pollutants, my only thought is yeah, any way you can get some more in there?

I know there are a lot of smokers out there who try to be courteous. The smoke still always seems to find me, but I sure appreciate the effort. Thank you. In the same way, I don't make a big deal out of it when I find myself with or near a smoker. If I can easily get away, I will, but generally I suck it up and deal with it. Still, there are some real assholes out there who front with the attitude that if I don't like smoke that it's somehow my problem and how dare I be bothered by it. Well, fuck you. You are the problem. I mean you really are. You have to come to terms with that. When you get around to quitting - and you probably will, you will completely understand what I mean. The most vitriolic anti-smokers I've ever met have all been former smokers. I think it's guilt when they realize what uncourteous bastards they've been for most of their lives.

Is it right that government restricts liberties like this? No. It makes me very uncomfortable. But Thank God for it.
posted by willnot at 5:39 PM on August 9, 2002


If people want to sit around and sop up lung cancer it should be their choice to do so.

How about my right to sit in a bar and not do so?
Last time I checked, it was smokers who are invading on the rights of non-smokers by forcing them to be in an environment that they made the choice not to be in, when they chose not to take up smoking


Oh come on. You're not really part of that crew are you? Show me ONE case of minimal exposure to second hand smoke that caused Cancer or the like.

I understand if you have asthma or are allergic, you could go elsewhere or ask to be seated farther from the smokers, but otherwise, give me a break.

These are PUBLIC places. You have the right to say "No Smoking" in your own home or even if your place of business (if you own it), but you shouldn't have the right to force others into your way of thinking. You don't like the fact that the corner restaurant has a smoking section, don't go there. Or, tell the owner that you will not frequent his business because he allows smokers. Perhaps he'll change his policy. That's HIS right. Not yours and CERTAINLY not the government's.

BTW: I am a reformed smoker.
posted by lasthrsman at 6:05 PM on August 9, 2002


Here in Ottawa, one of the reasons the smoking ban was effected was in the interest of workplace safety. Many non-smoking employees do not have the same choices a non-smoking patron might have - i.e. to find another restaurant. They should not have to breathe in that crap (as I had to when I worked at Tim Horton's circa 1990!)
posted by Bernese Mountain Dog at 6:17 PM on August 9, 2002


I live in Utah where the rules and cultural mores on smoking seem to make perfect sense.

No smoking in restaurants which makes me very very happy. I can't stand the smell of tobacco when I'm eating.

There's almost never any smoking on the sidewalks or in public areas because of the majority Mormon population which would rather swallow squirming eels than light up. And this makes me happy as there's no pollution on my walks or daily dealings with people.

Private clubs are the only public places one can smoke legally and without any social stigma. By their very nature, these clubs disallow sub 21 yr olds if alcohol is served or 18's if there's no alcohol. Therefore, children aren't exposed. The general public is not exposed. Only those who wish to be in a smoke-filled environment will be within the walls of these clubs.

And for a non-addict fence-sitter like myself, this is perfect. Tobacco is an pleasure to be enjoyed with alcohol or coffee on a Saturday night and then to be eschewed for the other six days of the week. I can have my nice-thickheaded indonesian clove or a spicy Dominican cigar in the company of other accepting people, and then spend my week happily smoke free with the great semi-fresh air of the valley.

I can't see why this sort of compromise couldn't work in NYC. Make all the bars and restaurants officially smoke-free but allow private smoking clubs with open membership policies (i.e. anyone who pay the membership fee can join). You pay yr fee, you sign an agreement that yes, you are an adult and will happily swim through the dark clouds and you don't give a damn. Non-smokers will then have 90% of the establishments all to themselves and the smokers will have their own happy ghetto.

And the lion shall lay down with the lamb and we're all having mutton tonight. Yum.
posted by pandaharma at 6:42 PM on August 9, 2002


I have no problem with choosing to go to a bar that either allows smoking or does not. If one wants to be around smoke, fine.

But -- here's the problem. People don't just go to bars to drink or smoke. Bars are also where a lot of great music is performed. I don't smoke (I have asthma and smoke is one of my triggers), and rarely ever drink, but I like to see music.

So if one of my favorite foreign artists visits Seattle on a rare tour, and happens to play a smoke-infested rathole like the Showbox, I don't have the choice of going to see him in a non-smoking club. Unless I want to fly to California.

If it was just a matter of finding someplace to eat or hang out, this would not be a problem. Instead, my choices are: Go see this performer that I really want to see and end up quite ill and possibly risking a hospital visit, or stay home and miss a show I've been looking forward to for months. Gee, thanks, smokers.

This outrages me; it really does. Fewer than 50% of the population smoke, but they still get to decide to pollute the air in music clubs while the rest of us must either breathe it or miss the shows entirely.

I would fully support a law that banned smoking in clubs where performances occur, while allowing smoking in clubs that are just hangouts, with no reason to go there except to drink and smoke. Though it seems to me that smoking and drinking are not joined at the hip, and it would be even better to just have smoking clubs, existing specifically to provide a place to smoke.
posted by litlnemo at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2002


Hrm, I'd enjoy going to the bars more if my clothes didnt' stink afterwards.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on August 9, 2002


i lived in provo for a year and while i'm not endorsing the mormon religion i must say that it was rather nice that basically nobody smoked... or at least not in public. the other HUGE advantage was definitely the trash factor... you hardly ever saw anyone toss a cigarette butt out the window. good mormons don't smoke so the saying went "if she smokes... she pokes" LOL - but anyway... the fact that 95% of smokers have no qualms about tossing their trash all over the place is yet another reason i hate cigarettes. just b/c it's small doesn't mean it's not trash. i try to be polite when around smokers by not complaining about it but if i'm sitting next to someone and their stream of smoke finds my face (which it usually does) i'll just keep glancing at their cigarette hand and leaning back and forth away from the smoke till they move it or put it out. luckily, most of my friends realize this and try and avoid having it happen now but that's amongst friends... not in a bar.
posted by ggggarret at 7:36 PM on August 9, 2002


You know, it's funny. I've witnessed two very specific groups that people tend to fall into as ex-smokers.

1. Yay, I quit. That's cool, hey man, go ahead, it won't bother me. I loved to smoke, but man they were fucking killing me, so I had to quit. In short: they know what it's like. They remember the pleasure, the pain. They remember the whole package - and it wasn't all bad. And they don't get on your shit because they're better than you for not smoking.

2. Goddamn right I quit, and so will you. Get that filthy crap away from me, my bar, my state. They should make those things illegal. What, you can't quit? You some kind of loser? In short: they're assholes. They think that by quitting they've reached some elevated plane where they call tell everyone what to do, because clearly they've got the brains and balls to do so as evidenced by their lack of nasty habits. Most of them live in California.

You know what? Smoking per-se isn't cool, but you're going to find a lot more artists that smoke than don't. Why is that? Not because it's cool, but because artists (of whatever medium) are the kind of people that are willing to try new things and take risks. Artists (more often than the mundane) realize that a safe life is pretty much a boring and worthless life.

Doing things that you enjoy, despite their inherrent danger is one of the joys of life. And when you get down to it, a great number of very worthwhile activities are dangerous. Skydiving. Flying. Mountain Climbing. Political Activism (if done right). Eating chocolate.

Heck, stopping to smell the roses can kill you if you're allergic to bees.

The really funny thing is that if smoking is so nasty, how come so many people really really really really enjoy it?

If I want to smoke, it's my damn business, and quite frankly I resent the massive sin tax. And, if I want to allow people to purchase alcoholic beverages and smoke cigarettes on my private property that I own (assuming you believe in the American concept of land ownership that say, Native Americans do not), they damn it, I will. If the government wants to limit the amount of smoking bars - then they should make it so that smoking establishments need a license just like liquor establishments do. Making it illegal reeks of puritanism , self-righteousness and paranoia. Kinda like the war on some drugs, in general.

On preview: litlnemo
This outrages me; it really does. Fewer than 50% of the population smoke,

That's funny. Fewer than 50% of the population voted for the fucktard in the whitehouse too.

At what point does the population of smokers become big enough to warrant some leway? 49%? 50%? 60%?

[sarcasm]Gosh, only 19% of the nation is black, it outrages me that they have special laws protecting them.[/sarcasm]

Just because it's not 100% and just because you disagree with it, doesn't make it ok for you to stop me, and more importantly, it doesn't make it ok for you to stop a business owner from carrying out his business in a manner that he sees fit.

delmoi: Hrm, I'd enjoy going to the bars more if my clothes didnt' stink afterwards

And I enjoy the bars more if people that didn't smoke would f*ck off and go elsewhere.

Hmm. Does that mean that, just maybe, there's a market for some bars that allow smoking and some bars that do not?

hmm..

(I'm sure I've pissed off someone, so flame away)
posted by jaded at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2002


Exposure to cigarette smoke makes me ill.

That means if a guy tries to pick me up at a bar and score...well, it's not just an excuse, I really do have a headache.

So: no smoking in bars = better chance at getting lucky! See, it's a good thing!
posted by katieinshoes at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2002


"Congratulations on that analogy. And so, if I find you drunk in a car I'm going to haul your criminal ass out of the car in a really brusque (sorry) way and take you to jail. Similarly, if you're found producing a class A carcinogen where working people, children with asthma, pregnant women, and other decent folk are trying to breathe, nonsmokers are liable to do the same thing.
"


First of all I don't drink, but have dodged many a drunk on a Saturday night out. Second of all, how many children and pregnant women are hanging out in the bars where you live? Thirdly, the person applying for a job at a bar probably knows that there will be smoke there so it's not a surprise. Remember we are talking about banning smoking in bars so ease off your soapbox.

"So smokers, when you see nonsmokers coming, move on out by the trash cans and into the alley to finish your little suck-fix. You can be damned sure nonsmokers aren't going to continue to accommodate your addiction. In other words, you go sit somewhere else like outside the bar, restaurant, etc.

I obviously was referring to walking into a bar and sitting down next to someone who is smoking and then getting upset about it. By your analogy I could walk in and sit down and say "I knew that people would be drinking in here and you are drunk, but as a person who has been sober for 9yrs. your drinking is causing me to crave alcohol, so could you stop drinking--I just wanted to see this band."
posted by bas67 at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2002


Cigarette smoke makes me feel ill. But as others have already stated, the smoker has made a choice. You can eat cigarettes or light up raw hamburgers for all I care. It just doesn't seem right when their choice is blown in my face. Pandaharma has it right. Private clubs for smokers. You want to smoke in a social setting? Go to your exclusive joint and light up with other people who also enjoy it. Otherwise, your freedom is just trampling on everyone elses.
posted by twos at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2002


Jaded?

I love you.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:38 PM on August 9, 2002


you're going to find a lot more artists that smoke than don't. Why is that? Not because it's cool, but because artists... are the kind of people that are willing to try new things and take risks.

Sorry, jaded, but you sound like a shill for the tobacco industry here. I smoke a pack a day and enjoy it, but I wouldn't make it out to be some kind of extreme sport or something. And I'll warrant that most people smoke because they can't quit, not because they think smoking is an important part of their exciting, skydiving, activist lifestyle.

I live in California, and the smoking ban doesn't bother me at all, really. You adjust. I do enjoy going to bars where smoking occurs anyways (because they're incautious) but it's fundamentally not a big deal. You go outside to smoke, it isn't as though they're making you walk over hot coals to get there.

As far as the rationale for banning smoking goes, I do wish that there were some places in my state that would allow smoking in a separate closed-off area or something, but to me it seems like a civil rights issue more than anything. To wit, one couldn't work in an all-smoking bar eight hours a day without being at a substantial health risk. The response "then don't work there" is inadequate because it discriminates against non-smokers.
posted by whir at 8:38 PM on August 9, 2002


Smoking is disgusting. I [heart] NY!
posted by hitsman at 8:50 PM on August 9, 2002


I agree with twos. As an athsmatic, I need to carry my inhalers into clubs. In a smokey environment like most bars or clubs, I'm an athsma attack waiting to happen.

Also, I've been denied access to clubs before because I was carrying what was very obviously an athsma medication. I've never seen anyone denied access for carrying in a lighter or a matchbook, which could conceivably been way worse of a weapon or hazard.

What really sucks is that I cannot drink after I get to the point where I need to use my medications. Basically, this means that I'm the designated driver no matter what, because I can't use the inhaler if I'm already drunk. A few times, before I really learned about the effects of the inhaler I use, that's made me have to make a choice: Use the inhaler while intoxicated (and become way more intoxicated and possibly go into drug/alcohol shock) or wait until the attack passes and not use the inhaler... and possibly die from lack of oxygen.

I don't bother going to clubs anymore. They're not worth the problems, even if I do enjoy dancing, hanging out with friends, and talking to cute women. It's hard to talk though when you're half-passed out and hacking up phlegm. I guess I've really got a thing against smokers because of this -- as a group, they've ruined a lot of things and a lot of places for me. I can't stop my athsma, but I can stop you from smoking around me in Portland, thanks to the smoking ban. (It's ignored in most nightclubs, but still...) I will always be a champion of smoking bans, because I feel that I have a right to breathe. I don't need to be disabled by your filthy, stinking, expensive, and stupid bad habit.

Is that a clear enough, logical enough reason? (Well, minus the last sentance.)
posted by SpecialK at 8:55 PM on August 9, 2002


To the free-market dogmatists, in summary: The "let business owners choose" policy is a great idea.... in the uberkapitalist fantasyland most of you seem to think we live in. In the real world...

Tell you what. I live in Pittsburgh. This town smokes like a tire fire. I was riding my bike down the Washington's Landing Trail last week, and rode past another cyclist who was smoking a cigar. In your theory, a fair-sized (2+ million metro) city like Pittsburgh should have a non-smoking bar with decent music I can frequent. Find it for me, and I'll pay your cover and buy you a drink.
posted by Vetinari at 9:14 PM on August 9, 2002


I don't live in NYC, I'm at the other side of the state in Buffalo (no, we're not part of Canada, and no, it isn't snowing right now), and the same thing was discussed here not too long ago. The idea was basically dropped for a few reasons.

LA can have outdoor patios year round, where smokers can go. Here we're lucky to get three or four months of decent weather (read: not snowing), and most clubs patios are filled with people smoking, um, let's say herbal cigarettes, for the sake of discussion.

They passed a law banning smoking in restaurants some time ago, late 90s IIRC, and it did hurt restaurant's business. They allow it if you are within a specific distance to the bar, or in a separate enclosed area. It wasn't long before most restaurants were remodeling to add those enclosed areas. They have to be basically hermetically sealed, with independent ventilation systems, so they're clearly not cheap. But, nearly every restaurant has them now. It would cost them more money not to. That kind of setup at bars really isn't possible, and bar owners went nuts when the idea was proposed.

Cigarettes are big money here. I think I know maybe five or six people between 20 and 35 who don't smoke. It is about six a pack for name brands, and they seem to raise the prices ever year, but the sales just drop off. With three large reservations surrounding the city (where cigarettes are a tax-free $3.00 a pack) people just buy cartons there instead of packs at the corner store. Local gas stations and the like have been hurt by the loss of cigarette sales, too. But, the Seneca nation has made enough money that they're preparing to open not one but two casinos in the near future, so I suppose it hasn't hurt everyone.

I'm not really sure if I have a specific point here, I'm just giving the example of what happened when the idea was tossed around on the other end of NY. People are going to smoke, everyone knows it's unhealthy, but smokers have clearly made their choice. Businesses _have_ been hurt here by anti-smoking measures, which gives me less sympathy for the nonsmokers side of the argument. They had the smoke-free restaurants, and didn't support them enough to make up for the loss of some smokers business. I can't see things in clubs and bars being much different were they to pass a similar law.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:44 PM on August 9, 2002


It all beats the attitude in Montréal. In Montréal, smoking is seen as somewhat of a sport, with people proudly boasting they smoke 40 or more a day. Can any gens de Montréal elaborate some more on why this is?
posted by wackybrit at 10:10 PM on August 9, 2002


< snippage of most of my post that was unnecessary after previewing kelly's post>

What I was going to point out in mine was that Oklahoma is trying to implement rules that require all restaurants in Oklahoma with seating for more than 50 patrons to be designated entirely smoking, entirely non-smoking, or virtually smoke-free, providing they have an entirely separate enclosed area with its own ventilation system. And they gave owners 30 days to comply, as if the virtually smoke-free requirements could be met in that time frame.
But they didn't go through the Legislature to pass the rules, but waited until they were out of session so that it wouldn't have to go through the regular committee reviews, etc.
The Restaurant Association is suing for primarily what was mentioned at the beginning of this thread, that they, as the owners, should have the final say in how to run their business. Right now they have been granted an injunction stopping the enforcement of these rules.
And for disclosure, I am a non-smoker, but I have smoking friends and we tend to do quite a few dinner get-togethers, that tend to run on the long and expensive side. Where we can go, and be welcomed, does come into play in deciding where to spend our dollars - as witnessed for the birthday of one of my friends last week. She called around to find out where she could smoke and decided where to go from there, and also decided where she will not go based on what that establishment decides to do.
posted by thatothrgirl at 10:18 PM on August 9, 2002


whir: Sorry, jaded, but you sound like a shill for the tobacco industry here. I smoke a pack a day and enjoy it, but I wouldn't make it out to be some kind of extreme sport or something

Perhaps I wasn't making myself clear. Most people that don't smoke (ever) don't smoke for one of (or both) two reasons:

1. it's unhealthy/gross/whatever (all perfectly valid reasons),

2. for all the same reasons that teetotallers don't drink and puritans don't fornicate (which is defined as marriage outside of wedlock for purposes other than procreation) - they're a bunch of ninnies who can't handle the idea of someone enjoying anything they regard as sinful ( hence the bans)

I intended to make the point that artistes are more likely to experiment with their own bodies and minds than most non-artistes. Smoking is one method of doing so. So is heroin. so are tats and piercings. lsd, pot. yoga meditation.

There's also the possibility that as a majority of artists are bi-polar, smoking is, in reality, a sublimated suicide maneuver. But hey, like Dennis Leary says: those years off the end of your life? The diaper years. Who wants those anyhow?
posted by jaded at 10:29 PM on August 9, 2002


Ya'know... just to add even more confusion, I'd like to add that nicotine can calm the hallucinations of schizophrenia sufferers.

Know anyone with mental illness? Do they smoke?
posted by stavrogin at 11:09 PM on August 9, 2002


Jaded:

You're definitely on the right track with the comments about smokers, artists, and being bi-polar or having other forms of depression.

I just wanted to add one fact most non-smokers don't realize: tobacco works for these depressive types (including me) as a wonderful calming agent. At times in my life when I was so angry and depressed I would have gladly taken the knives and cut happy animal shapes out of my wrists, smoking calmed me down to the point where I could sit and logically assess the problem. Its really much better than prozac or lithium, as a recent study stated.

Tobacco is really the greatest drug we have. It stimulates the brain, encourages conversation, calms ones terror, reduces depression, quiets the hallucinatiory voices of schizophrenics, gives one a mild happy buzz, and recent evidence connects it with sharply reducing the risk of developing alzheimer's. And after an evening of enjoying many cloves and cigars and happily buzzing along, one can still drive home with no impaired senses.

In this regard, its much better than alcohol, pot, pcp, glue, or any other mind-altering chemical of your choice.
posted by pandaharma at 11:19 PM on August 9, 2002


Tobacco is really the greatest drug we have. It stimulates the brain, encourages conversation, [etc etc]

If that's true (and I'm not saying it's not), then how comes we don't have pills that can give you the benefits of tobacco but without the nastiness (tar, etc)?
posted by wackybrit at 11:21 PM on August 9, 2002


pandaharma: openly admitting to never having smoked, I'm not one to base on experience, but from every smoker I've talked to I was under the impression that the reason cigarettes "calm you down" is mostly because they induce the average nervous user to inhale deeply while smoking. Please don't construe that as an attempt to disavow your personal calming method, however; the last thing I want to do is convince you your personal anti-depressant isn't working.

Re the law, though: To go back to what someone said a while ago, I agree the most with the Carlin quote someone mentioned before: the right to smoke should end where it infringes on someone else's right to breathe. The whole "you don't like it, go somewhere else" argument is ridiculous. Special places are designed for people with special wants... depending on the area of the country/world, smoking, like drinking, prostitution, gambling, watching naked people dance, and consuming recreational drugs should be restrcited to those areas; the burden should not fall on the majority that disapproves to avoid it. If you think smoking tobacco does something good to you, then you should be willing to go to a place that's designated to do it. This bill states something that the non-smoking majority (vote pending) agrees on: restaurants aren't that place.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:51 PM on August 9, 2002


The funny thing about the difference between California and NY is the winter time. I wonder what will happen when some lonely poor sap freezes to death while outside a bar smoking in the middle of december? Fault of the smoker most likely. Will I as the non-driving pedestrian freak out when a non smoker fires up a 1 ton+ combustion based machine with a 3 inch exhaust pipe to speed their smoke free life along faster? No.

Anti-smoking advocates highlight the long-term health effects, like cancer and emphysema, that result from a lifetime of smoking or chewing tobacco -- but these maladies are the result of chemicals in cigarettes other than nicotine.
posted by dasibiter at 11:51 PM on August 9, 2002


XQUZYPHR: ...openly admitting to never having smoked, I'm not one to base on experience, but from every smoker I've talked to I was under the impression that the reason cigarettes "calm you down" is mostly because they induce the average nervous user to inhale deeply while smoking.

Here is yet another smoker telling you that this isn't true at all.
posted by bingo at 12:11 AM on August 10, 2002


hearing specialK's story and knowing how selfish you are about a mutual airspace doesn't make you feel even a tad bit like total assholes? seriously... this is ridiculous. we're talking about air and people can't choose the quality of air they breathe at all times of the day but they can control how much discomfort and pollution they personally subject the people around them to. rude rude rude rude rude, inconsiderate assholes. i'd love to see this law go national with the option for bars to get a smoking permit in order to allow smoking in closed spaces. people can smoke outside all they like.
posted by ggggarret at 12:11 AM on August 10, 2002


If people want to sit around and sop up lung cancer it should be their choice to do so.

How about my right to sit in a bar and not do so?


You and the hypothetical smoker do not have parity in this discussion. If one person is doing what he wants to do and another is bothered by him, the bothered person has to either deal with it or go away. The person whose behavior bothers the other should only have to behave differently if the bothered person has absolutely no other options -- until you have a gun to your head, your opinion is simply not important.

This is a type of flawed argument usually employed by conservatives, though this is a more liberal application. Most recently, Christian conservatives have attacked the Pledge of Allegiance decision by acting as though people who want to say "under God" have equal standing with those who do not. In truth, the latter are forced to violate their beliefs by saying the words, while the former don't violate their own beliefs by not saying them in one single context -- the Christians have absolutely no right to complain. (Similarly, the opinions of straight people about gay marriage are relevant only to the degree that they are personally affected, which is to say virtually not at all.)

Many non-smoking employees do not have the same choices a non-smoking patron might have - i.e. to find another restaurant.

I think restaurants are probably good candidates for a smoking ban, though for different reasons than those cited: just because food is a fundamental human need and liquor is not. Hungry people should not be forced to search for restaurants which forbid smoking, and smokers can certainly control themselves for as long as it takes to eat a meal. (Bar patrons tend to want to linger for some time, often alone, and forcing them to constantly come and go for cigarettes is cruel.)

I would also not mind a smoking ban in establishments which have live music -- again, not for the aforementioned reasons, but because cigarette smoke is just terrible for singers to be around. Musicians face a risk of damage to their careers in the short term if they play in bars and clubs where smoking is allowed.

As for waiters and bartenders in bars not serving food...I've known plenty in my time, and none has ever struck me as a shrinking violet. They explicitly choose to work in environments where smoke is prevalent -- some because they like it that way, some because it simply isn't important enough to them to pursue another career. Bartending in New York City is extremely lucrative, and one can make a good case that the freedom of patrons to smoke as they drink contributes to that.

Obligatory personal disclosure: I was a lifelong nonsmoker (and an ardent one) who started occasionally smoking (under a pack a week) last year, then stopped out of boredom a few months ago. I spend one evening a week with a group of friends, most of whom are smokers, and cope with the smell just fine.

Further disclosure: these friends and I go to different bars every week to be adventurous, and it would really, really suck to have to pay a fee at each one that allows smoking. That's not the way New York works, and god forbid we allow a one-term mayor to turn it into Utah.
posted by Epenthesis at 12:16 AM on August 10, 2002


Smoking is gross. And some of the bars in this world are gross. They're called dives. We like them that way, most of you don't. We don't have to ask you to stay out if the smoke bothers you, because you would never even think of entering in the first place.

Maybe we can have a legal definition for a dive, with signs out front and everything, along with implicit understanding that everything in a dive is can be assumed to be bad for you, including, but certainly not limited to, the atmosphere, the food, the drinks, the company, and most definitely that big psycho at the end of the bar two fisting Wild Turkey.

No smoking in a dive that has a 33% illegal drug-using demographic(no, not pot)? What's the point, it's like chroming a turd.

What percentage of bars in New York are no-smoking now? Surely there has to be a market for this sort of thing, seeing how so many people feel so strongly about it. Is it fairly common, or rare? It seems like just the type of thing to differentiate yourself in a crowded market. Maybe people could make some reccomendations?

And I have a firm policy that I never smoke in any restaurant, period.
posted by dglynn at 12:31 AM on August 10, 2002


xquzyphr, here's the results of a quick googling:

Here's one article on the anti-depressant effects of nicotine on rats...

And another detailing the reasons for nicotine addiction. Many of these reasons are the effects I've stated above.

A short fluffy story which notes differences discovered in the brains of smokers...

So no its not just breathing deeply though such deep breaths are probably a small part of the calming effect. Another, non-chemical reason would be the ritual act of lighting the cigarette and breathing in the smoke, plus the shared experience of doing this in conjunction with other smokers.

But, for the most part, the effects all belong to the nicotine.
posted by pandaharma at 12:32 AM on August 10, 2002


Tobacco is really the greatest drug we have. It stimulates the brain, encourages conversation, [etc etc]

If that's true (and I'm not saying it's not), then how comes we don't have pills that can give you the benefits of tobacco but without the nastiness (tar, etc)?


We do, they're called antidepressants. However, they require prescriptions to get, Tobacco doesn't.

However, the bottom line is that they won't ever get rid of cigarettes completely because there is FAR to much money in it for the local & federal government. They'll put up anti-smoking campaigns, ban it in all sorts of places (in one county in the mid west, it's illegal to smoke in your own home if your windows are open) but it will never go away. Why? Because the Bloombergs of the world can tax the shit out of it and we'll just keep paying.

Ahh fergetit. It's 5am here in NJ and I'm starting to ramble.

G'nite
posted by lasthrsman at 1:57 AM on August 10, 2002


Second-hand smoke is not dangerous. It may be unpleasant. It does not cause cancer. Yes, we've all heard about the EPA's report stating that it does. You probably hadn't heard that a federal judge declared that study invalid and stated that the EPA manipulated the facts to come to a pre-set conclusion.

And anecdotal evidence of the man who never smoked a day in his life, but had a lung removed because he spent most of his working years in smoke-filled conference rooms during the 70s and 80s?
posted by dogmatic at 5:21 AM on August 10, 2002


Now tell me panda, is that a medical fact, that "tobacco" encourages conversation? I would maybe consider the ritual of the lighting and go as far as to say that that it is the ritual that relieves awkwardness and thus encourages one to engage. However, to attribute that to the nicotine defies evidence of the phisiology of the effects of nicotine on the brain. Antidepressant or not, why not choose a less smelly and offensive way to "get jiggy with it"?
posted by Quixoticlife at 5:27 AM on August 10, 2002


At least the self-sabotage of nail-biting and eyebrow-plucking doesn't stink up the joint and cause harm to innicent bystanders.
posted by Quixoticlife at 5:30 AM on August 10, 2002


Innocent....
posted by Quixoticlife at 5:31 AM on August 10, 2002


That man is my dad. I have until now successfully resisted the urge to comment here, because everyone else seems to be doing a great job, but when my father (who never smoked in his life) had a lung removed in 1997, he was told by the doctors at the hospital (the one in NYC up by the GWB, I forget its name now) that the kind of cancer he had, the way the cells developed, their pattern, and growth, all indicated that it was caused by the continuous inhalation of second-hand smoke during decades of working in smoke-filled news rooms.

The effects of second hand smoke on those who are subjected to it (especially at 40+ hours per week) are well documented.

I can't find it now, but there was a comment in a past smoking thread to the effect of: "Excuse me, I have to urinate, do you mind if I do so on your leg? Thanks....aaaaaahhhhhhhh......." (if only smoking were that harmless)
posted by adampsyche at 6:51 AM on August 10, 2002


Vetinari: To the free-market dogmatists, in summary: The "let business owners choose" policy is a great idea.... in the uberkapitalist fantasyland most of you seem to think we live in. In the real world...

Ooh. I've never been called a free-market dogmatist before. Feels kinda tingly.

Well, in the "uberkapitalist fantasyland" of Ann Arbor, Michigan it's perfectly possible to catch a band, get a good meal, or knock a few back in a smokeless environment. But thanks for telling me what it's like out there in the real world, since my only experience with it is from storybooks or the teevee.

In all fairness, lots of the good bars/restaurants in town are smoking venues, so the enjoyment of nonsmokers may be limited. On the other side of the coin, lots of good venues are nonsmoking, so the smokers are out of luck. It's hard to find nonsmoking shows, though still possible, and I'd attribute that to Ann Arbor having a teeny music scene more than anything else.
posted by amery at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2002


if scientists prove that i'll end up looking like

sarah jessica parker ,

i'll quit with immediate effect.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:21 AM on August 10, 2002


um. if you're spending enough time in smoke filled bars to get lung cancer....perhaps you need to get out..er..less...
posted by jaded at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2002


If one person is doing what he wants to do and another is bothered by him, the bothered person has to either deal with it or go away.

And this type of logic is applicable entirely in situations in which the subject is the only one affected by his or her actions and/or in a location which is designated as belonging solely to him or her. When you introduce other people into the equation, in an environment outside of that designated location, it becomes a matter of "who has more right."

When what one person wants to do is eject an undeniably dangerous cloud of smoke into the air that people around him have to breathe, in a public location, there are veeeery few valid arguments that put him some place other than the "has less right" category.

t r a c y was dead on with the whole selfishness bit. Perfect word to describe a smoker who doesn't (want to) realize that if anyone should be the one going out of their way re: their exhaled smoke, it should be them, across the board.
posted by precocious at 9:03 AM on August 10, 2002


You and the hypothetical smoker do not have parity in this discussion. If one person is doing what he wants to do and another is bothered by him, the bothered person has to either deal with it or go away. The person whose behavior bothers the other should only have to behave differently if the bothered person has absolutely no other options -- until you have a gun to your head, your opinion is simply not important.

So if I decide that when there's smoke around I like to spit. And the smoker just happens to be in the path of my spittle, then I guess it's up to who is most inconvenienced to stop -- me being subjected to your smoking or you being subjected to my phlegm. If enough non-smokers shared your lack of courtesy, we could solve this without laws, but most people aren't so rude and inconsiderate.
posted by willnot at 9:32 AM on August 10, 2002


It all beats the attitude in Montréal. In Montréal, smoking is seen as somewhat of a sport, with people proudly boasting they smoke 40 or more a day. Can any gens de Montréal elaborate some more on why this is?

wackybrit - Where did this come from?!?

I have 2 friends who live(d) in Montreal - both of whom smoked - they never really boasted of their habit. One of them was trying very hard to quit.
posted by Bernese Mountain Dog at 9:35 AM on August 10, 2002


um. if you're spending enough time in smoke filled bars to get lung cancer....perhaps you need to get out..er..less...

yeah...fucking waitresses and bartenders really need to get out more.

Bless you, Marquis.
posted by adampsyche at 10:45 AM on August 10, 2002


willnot: So if I decide that when there's smoke around I like to spit. And the smoker just happens to be in the path of my spittle, then I guess it's up to who is most inconvenienced to stop -- me being subjected to your smoking or you being subjected to my phlegm.

If we were living in a culture that had a tradition of such spitting, and you were doing it in a bar where people went to spit and drink socially, and I was part of a relatively recent trend to end public spitting, this might make sense.

precocious: When what one person wants to do is eject an undeniably dangerous cloud of smoke into the air that people around him have to breathe, in a public location, there are veeeery few valid arguments that put him some place other than the "has less right" category.

How about the argument that it isn't a public location? What if the owner of the bar doesn't care if he no longer gets business from people who don't want to be around smokers?

adampsyche: It's now illegal to smoke in most newsrooms, and most other places of employment. Don't you think there's a difference between mandating non-smoking in places where people go to earn their living, and mandating non-smoking across the board in places that people go for recreation?

ggggarett: hearing specialK's story and knowing how selfish you are about a mutual airspace doesn't make you feel even a tad bit like total assholes?...we're talking about air and people can't choose the quality of air they breathe at all times of the day but they can control how much discomfort and pollution they personally subject the people around them to.

Actually, sometimes people *can* choose the quality of the air they breathe. For example, you can choose not to go into a bar where smoking is allowed.

SpecialK: I guess I've really got a thing against smokers because of this -- as a group, they've ruined a lot of things and a lot of places for me.

For "us" to have ruined these things for you, there would have had to be a time when they were things you could experience happily. When was that time? Before you developed asthma? Because people were smoking in bars before you were born. They were not set up for people with asthma. I think the ruining of experience is happening in the other direction.
posted by bingo at 2:40 PM on August 10, 2002


Bingo, bars are where people go to earn a living. They're called bartenders, waiters and bus staff.
posted by NortonDC at 2:55 PM on August 10, 2002


Yeah, I've earned my living in such places myself. In my experience, most bartenders, waiters, and busboys smoke. More than customers, in fact. And those that don't, as Epenthesis accurately pointed out above, usually don't mind the smoke. Hell, a great number of them not only smoke, but use cocaine to stay on their feet and to keep those fake smiles plastered to their faces.

People bothered by noise don't have to work at concerts, people bothered by handing out porn don't have to work in video stores, people bothered by transsexuals don't have to work at the San Francisco DMV, and people bothered by smoke don't have to work in restaurants where smoking is allowed.
posted by bingo at 3:11 PM on August 10, 2002


In America employers have the responsibility to provide a safe work environment, and since there is nothing in the process of serving or drinks that demands the presence of cigarette smoke, it's time for it to go.
posted by NortonDC at 3:17 PM on August 10, 2002


What if the vast majority of restaurant employees aren't crying out to be saved from the hazards of their work environment?
posted by bingo at 3:35 PM on August 10, 2002


What if their silence comes from fear of losing their jobs?
posted by NortonDC at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2002


And this type of logic is applicable entirely in situations in which the subject is the only one affected by his or her actions and/or in a location which is designated as belonging solely to him or her. When you introduce other people into the equation, in an environment outside of that designated location, it becomes a matter of "who has more right."

Indeed. The most right belongs to the owner of the establishment -- he wants to run his business in the most profitable way possible. The second most right belongs to the individual to do whatever the hell he pleases, so long as the owner and his agents are not offended.

The least right belongs to the nonsmoking patron, who is at liberty to go elsewhere.

So if I decide that when there's smoke around I like to spit.

If you intentionally blew smoke in my face without my permission, most of the bartenders I knew would ask you to remove yourself from my company. On repetition they would ask you to leave. You wouldn't get a warning for spitting simply because (a) there aren't facilities for public spitting in bars and (b) spitting on a person is hard to construe as a nonvolitional action. (If there were spittoons in bars, you'd be an ass not to watch your legs -- you take responsibility when you enter into the spitters' company.)

While I'm countering hypothetical counterarguments: suppose I decided that I wanted to loudly spew ethnic slurs while sitting at the bar? Do you think you have any kind of right to force me to stop? No, your options are to complain to the bartender (who has the option to agree that my behavior is unacceptable and ask me to leave), to endure my awful behavior, or to leave yourself. Now, if I decide that you're in a group that I hate, jump on you and put a knife to your throat, you've got a grievance directly against me -- until then, your grievance is with the bar for fostering such an unpleasant atmosphere, and it's up to the bar to decide whose business it values more.

In the case of smokers, most bars have made their position clear: a huge number of patrons smoke, and many of the rest don't care. The bar owners are happy to indulge the majority, and the bartenders and staff enjoy the business they bring.

And now a minority is ignoring its alternatives and trying to deprive just about everyone else of their rights of self-determination. Reality check: outside of your own home, you do not have the right to an environment free of things that offend you. What you do have is the right to choose an environment that you find tolerable.
posted by Epenthesis at 4:24 PM on August 10, 2002


Your automobile produces several orders of magnitude more toxins and air pollution than my cigarette. I'll stop smoking if you'll stop driving.

Deal?
posted by Fezboy! at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2002


What if their silence comes from fear of losing their jobs?

Oh, BS. You don't become a bartender for love of pouring liquids into glasses -- you know all about bars before you ever learn to mix your first drink. If you aren't prepared for the secondhand smoke you don't enter that trade. Bartending is hardly a career that requires an incredible amount of schooling and preparation.
posted by Epenthesis at 4:29 PM on August 10, 2002


In the last 24 hours, I've had an epiphany, to wit: all smoking bars and restaurants, clearly labeled as such would be a preferable idea to the heavy-handed legislation at issue. But in exchange, smoking would be banned on all streets in New York City. And all multiple dwelling structures, unless each unit in such dwelling was certified as being completely smoke isolated.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:42 PM on August 10, 2002


I must say, though there is a ton of disagreement here, I am thoroughly impressed with the fact that not one smoker has found it necessary as of yet to type something along the lines of:

*blows smoke in foo's face*

Who says things aren't getting better here?
posted by adampsyche at 5:04 PM on August 10, 2002


The most right belongs to the owner of the establishment -- he wants to run his business in the most profitable way possible.

And that's exactly why this sort of mandate can exist - when it's money on the line, you can bet most bartenders are thinking (if they're not smokers themselves) that they can happily risk the whole "supposed" illnesses one can get from second hand smoke many years from now. In a country where one can't even legally kill themselves, do you seriously expect that a business owner has a legal right to slowly poison his customers?

I keep seeing mention of, "If it offends you, go elsewhere." There is a difference between something that's merely offensive and/or annoying. Humming, that's annoying. Whistling, flatulence, even shouting ethnic slurs. None of these things however actually have direct life-shortening, serious illness-causing potential.

Cigarette smoke is not merely offensive. It is dangerous in concentrated amounts over prolonged periods of time, to the smoker and (more importantly) to others. It's that fact that'll put smokers in the "less right" category almost every time. I'm amazed that more smokers aren't ecstatic that legislation isn't passed which leaves them having to huddle in their homes or in designated areas to puff their poison death sticks. (I say that with much levity and snickering.)

Seriously, though. I don't understand the pride and belligerence attached to the whole smoking thing. It's like, "Don't try to tell me this is unhealthy, I KNOW that my potential for having to talk through a trach increases with each puff I take, I've SEEN what this is doing to my lungs, I KNOW how many people die from these things, I know I'm stinky, blah blah, whatever. I know and I don't care, you self-righteous bum. I KNOW I'm killing myself, and I just might be killing you! ...Now, give me my RIGHTS damn, it."

Doesn't actually seem very sane, when you think about it.
posted by precocious at 5:16 PM on August 10, 2002


precocious - Are you really expecting addicts to be rational about the object of their addiction?
posted by NortonDC at 5:30 PM on August 10, 2002


After having spent a large part of my life, from late teens on, in bars and clubs, as both a patron and employee (my first club DJ job was at a place I wouldn't have been old enough to get into as a patron), I really can't see the bartenders, DJs bouncers, and barbacks uniting to eliminate smoking from the workplace. In fact, the closest thing to a non-smoking bar employee I think I've ever met are those who limit their smoke intake to things that can be purchased legally at the corner store.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:09 PM on August 10, 2002


Your automobile produces several orders of magnitude more toxins and air pollution than my cigarette. I'll stop smoking if you'll stop driving.

Deal?
posted by Fezboy! at 4:28 PM PST on August 10



Driving in bars and restaurants? O.K. Promise I won't. Deal, dude.
posted by Quixoticlife at 9:11 PM on August 10, 2002


Quixoticlife: Not really the point, but sure. I guess that's a start.

Folks on this thread rail against the idiocy of smokers who refuse to face the lifetime of clinkers for lungs but blithely drive around town spewing noxious fumes of their own.

What's smog, ozone alerts, acid rain, and global warming when there's second hand smoke in some bar we can get our panties in a wad over? It's not your [generally speaking] health concerns I'm on about, just the hypocrisy. I think your health benefit per unit of effort would be much greater if you [generally speaking] were to address something other than second hand smoke in a bar. That is, if health concerns are the motivation here.

Or, heck with the health considerations, we can hash this out on a different level. Folks are all up in arms over the positive reek of smokers. I've just to ask what's so bad about the reek of car exhaust when there is the sweet smell of burning cloves to natter on about? I bike to work every day and if you motorists knew how bad your cars stink, you'd think twice about firing up your lead sled. I just smoke to cover up the smell of exhaust on my clothes.

Well, that's not really true. Actually I don't smoke every day. Hell, I probably smoke less than once a month. However, there is little in life that compares to a clove, good company, an adult beverage, and some poorly lit tavern. What sadistic bastard wants to deny me this infrequent pleasure?

On the other hand, I don't live in NYC, so what do I care after all?
posted by Fezboy! at 10:46 PM on August 10, 2002


And that's exactly why this sort of mandate can exist - when it's money on the line, you can bet most bartenders are thinking (if they're not smokers themselves) that they can happily risk the whole "supposed" illnesses one can get from second hand smoke many years from now.

Indeed, and I think that such bartenders should be able to make that choice.

Also, what kellydamnit said. The last restaurant I worked in was completely non-smoking except for the patio area, but almost everyone on the staff smoked, and those who didn't spent an awful lot of time outside of work in smoky places.

In a country where one can't even legally kill themselves, do you seriously expect that a business owner has a legal right to slowly poison his customers?

Well, I think that people should be legally allowed to kill themselves. And in terms of the business owner poisoning the customers, I think you're assigning the agency in the wrong place. The owner is not secretly slipping toxic ingredients into the drinks. The customer is not trapped in the bar. The question is, do some of the customers have the right to poison themselves in the bar, in front of god and everybody else, and in effect to potentially poison the other customers, who are there with the full knowledge that they may be affected? I think the answer is yes.

There seems to be a vibe from some of the non-smokers on this thread that just because some of us are against this ban, and bans like it in other cities, that we feel we have the right to smoke in any location, under any circumstances. Speaking for myself, this is not true at all. I never smoke in non-smoking establishments. When I am indoors with friends, or in someone else's home, or in any situation in which there is any kind of ambiguity about what kind of place I'm in regarding the smoking policy, I always ask before lighting up.

But when someone owns or controls an area that other people are not compelled to enter, especially a business designed purely for leisure like a restaurant or a bar, I think it is at that person's discretion whether or not smoking is allowed. I do not have a desire to force anyone else to breathe my cigarette smoke. But I do think that the owners of bars and restaurants should be allowed to decide whether or not customers are allowed to smoke there.
posted by bingo at 12:51 AM on August 11, 2002


Folks on this thread rail against the idiocy of smokers who refuse to face the lifetime of clinkers for lungs but blithely drive around town spewing noxious fumes of their own.

Related, but still seperate. If you want to take up that issue, there are a buttload (no pun intended) of threads in which to do so, and you can start your own. Besides, at least the emmissions, and I agree that they should be cut dramatically, are out in the open so that you aren't locked in with it, and that is what the difference is. No one wants to tell smokers not to smoke outside.

The last restaurant I worked in was completely non-smoking except for the patio area, but almost everyone on the staff smoked, and those who didn't spent an awful lot of time outside of work in smoky places.

But that was their choice, where they spent their offwork hours. I guess the majority of smoking waitstaff should subject non-smoking waitstaff to their lifestyle? Nice.
posted by adampsyche at 6:24 AM on August 11, 2002


adampsyche, i think you're being deliberately obtuse now. The non-smoking waitstaff doesn't care whether they are around smokers in genral; that's my whole point. Then they were on break, they hung out with the smokers and breathed our second-hand smoke of their own volition.
posted by bingo at 4:01 PM on August 11, 2002


Bartending is hardly a career that requires an incredible amount of schooling and preparation.

Oh, right. I love to drink at those bars, right before I go out to dine at the restaurants where the chefs have minimal amounts of schooling and preparation.

Unfortunately, there are lots of bad bartenders, but as with any other line of work, bartending is a career that requires great amounts of learning and preparation ... if you want to be any good at it.
posted by chuq at 10:09 AM on August 12, 2002


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