Smoked out

Yesterday’s Seattle PI had a great article about the growing possibility of Seattle’s bars going smoke-free in the near future.  No offense to any smokers who read my daily blatherings, but this would be a very good thing, if ya ask me…anyone who goes out drinking & dancing in Seattle comes home smelling like they’ve been rolling around in rotting cigarette butts all evening.  A girl quoted in the story likens her post-club experience to showering down after a nuclear blast, and she’s exactly right.  The first thing I do when I get home from a bar/club is strip down and rinse out my hair and wipe down my face, arms, and neck — sometimes I actually jump into the shower to clean off before going to bed.  No matter how tipsy I am, I go through all this trouble because I detest the smell of smoke and I don’t want to stink up my house and my bed with it…but I’m forced to breathe it and surround myself with it if I want to go out for a drink with friends or whatever.  What else am I supposed to do?  Not go out?  Limit myself to the few boring non-smoking bars?  It’s ridiculous!  For a city so obsessed with fitness and earthy concerns, Seattle sure does smoke a lot.  As one guy in the story brilliantly put it, “In this liberal, ‘be natural, vegetarian, climb a mountain, herbal, don’t step on a bug, my dog is my child’ city, I can’t believe they suck that poison into their bodies.”  Hah!

Yeah, smokers complain about how unfair it is that they’re being pushed outside to suck on their little tobacco sticks.  They bitch about their freedoms being encroached on, they whine that they’re being singled out for their habits, blah blah blah.  What it comes down to is that most smokers don’t care if you have to breathe their nasty, carcinogenic air.  “You can leave if you don’t like it!” they say.  “It’s my right to smoke wherever I want, even in enclosed spaces with nonsmokers!”  Oh, really.  What if I walked around and sprayed everyone in the bar with a can of novelty Fart Spray?  Or how about tossing some lovely streptococcus bacteria into the air during your meal, or while you chatted with your friends?  Extreme example, but it’s the same principle.  When your addiction begins to affect the health and enjoyment of others around you, be a good sport and take it outside.  Up in Vancouver BC, the bars have separate rooms for smokers, and it seems to work great…the smokers I saw there didn’t seem to feel their freedoms were being snatched away, or that they were being treated like second-class citizens.  They were just smoking and talking, having a good time.  When they were done, they left the smoking room/area and joined the rest of the bar for a drink.  No big deal.  Why can’t we do that here?

So no, I have no problem with these bars going smoke-free.  The times are a-changin’, and apparently not in favor of smokers.  If California can do it and survive, if an entire country like Ireland can do it for the workplace and not collapse into chaos (yet), I think a single city can ban smoking for its bars or make other accomodations for smokers.  Really, we’ll manage.

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  1. Yea, they recently passed a similar ban down in Austin, Texas and those were the same type of arguements the smokers used. “They don’t have to come in if they don’t want to smell smoke!” “It will kill the live music industry!” Oh please, if anything now I’m more likely to go downtown to see a show now that I don’t have to die coughing because of it.


  2. We’ve had bans on smoking in Mesa and Tempe, AZ for quite some time now. The only real problems encountered that I’ve heard of are business related… such as the problem of creating an outdoor smoking area to try to keep the smokers going to the bars in Mesa and Tempe so they don’t just go down the road to Scottsdale because there’s no ban there. Some places have no room to create a “smoking patio” I don’t know how it’s effected businesses in Mesa and Tempe, but as far as I can tell, they seem to be doing OK…


  3. Oh yeah, I was living in Mesa back when they passed the anti-smoking law. They tried to legislate against smoking outside anywhere, even just walking down the street, which is ludicrous… I don’t mind dealing with smoke if I’m standing in line at a movie or something, but to be in an enclosed area with smoke for long periods of time borders on intolerable.


  4. Here in Delaware, we have an indoor smoking ban statewide… several nightclubs have been forced to close, but most seem to have adapted. As a smoker, I do understand how non-smokers feel; but something other than an all-or-nothing approach would be nice. Kinda like the Vancouver idea of separate rooms, or perhaps a bar could have the option of being a “smoking” bar, provided notices are prominently displayed. I don’t mind the ban during the warmer months, but over the winter I stay home.


  5. I’m not a smoker myself-never have been. But the issue here isn’t smoking. It’s freedom, pure and simple. Cigarettes are legal-they shouldn’t be, but they are. Yet a government can go in and tell a property owner (such as a bar owner) “Hey you can’t allow this on your own property even though it’s legal.” What’s next. They’ll be telling us what we can do and how we can behave in our own homes? Seems a little too 1984 for my taste. Why don’t they just make cigarettes illegal so that people won’t smoke them in public places? Money-tax money for the government from cigarettes. Basically by making it illegal in bars but not in general is a slap in the face by the government.


  6. Bars, cafes, restaurants, etc, went smoke-free in New Zealand in December 2004. As in Ireland, the general result seems to have been a small downturn in revenue, though smaller rural hotels are reported to have been hit hard.
    My regular downtown watering hole has a stack of cards on the bar for patrons reading (roughly) “Please leave my drink – I’ve just gone outside for a smoke”.


  7. I smoke, but I would RATHER go outside to smoke. I don’t like the idea of blowing smoke in people’s faces and I feel a bit guilty about it. I don’t go to any of the bars in Tempe or Mesa, but if I did I would prefer to go there instead of a nasty smoky bar because even the smell of smoke bothers me in that concentration. As long as the bar provides an area for smokers to go, I’m perfectly happy with going there when I need a drag.


  8. All fine and good. The EPA study that suggested second-hand smoke is bad for you was thrown out by federal court as being statistically insignificant. (USDC NC). EPA said, based on that flawed study, 3,000 a year die of second hand smoke. American Heart Association inflated that wrong, totally fabricated number to 50,000 a year. And now we’re all scared based on statistically insignificant numbers. Talk about basing a society on paranoia and lies. Yes, smelling like smoke blows. Endangering the lives of others? It doesn’t.
    Case from US District Court North Carolina Middle:
    Osteen [judge] added that EPA’s findings were based on insufficiently rigorous statistical tests and were therefore invalid. EPA, he noted, “disregarded information and made findings based on selective information . . . ; deviated from its risk assessment guidelines; failed to disclose important [opposition] findings and reasoning; and left significant questions without answers.”


  9. Okay, let’s try a little exercise here. Suppose that instead of an outright ban, certain clubs might advertise as being open to smokers. You could even call them smoking clubs, so you’d no what to expect. Now if you have a choice between a club that is smokers only, or a club that is smoke free, you have the ability to avoid smoke outright. And really, if you are a non smoker going into a smoking club, what will you expect but to smell like smoke when you leave?
    Also, it’s highly hypocritical that you want to go out and get drunk on your drug of choice, but don’t see why the smokers should be free to use their drug. Some folks here enve suggested making smoking illegal. Yeah, that worked during prohibition for your precious alcohol, dinnit? You claim that your rights are more important than their rights, so instead of opening your own smoke free venues, you whine to ban other people’s behavior. Then you accuse the smokers of whining after you’ve gone whining yourself.
    And more importantly, ask yourself why it is that a smoking ban is easy to put in place, but the toxic emissions by corporations are allowed to unleash on all of us are being expanded to include mercury, a poison that cannot dissipate or leave the environment. What about the levels of the fuel additive EDTH in Austin’s drinking water supply, a count that is rising every year? What about it’s link to both cancer and birth defects? It’s in your water, and it’s absobed through skin. So you don’t have to drink it to get it, you just have to shower in it. But that threat from cancer and birth defect that the gorvernment mandated goes into fuels is ignored for a cigarette ban.
    Sure, those may be problems that not only kill people but also cause birth defects and hundred of serious medical conditions. But first, let’s get rid of the real menace to society, that guy at the bar who just wants to drink a screwdriver, smoke out his frustrations from yet another shitty day, and hit the dance floor to work out some aggression. Rather than go after real pollutants and real offenders, you go for the fluffy easy target. Exactly how is that victory again?


  10. I live in Norway; here there is a ban on smoking in any business area, bar, restaurant, and basically any other places other than a private home or outside. And I have to say it’s quite lovely! Ever sit with your smoking friends at a café? They used to sit and “pump” money into Mr. Marlboro mans pockets, but now they go out once in a while, shielded by heating lamps in the white months, and do their business. Almost all my friends, smokers and non-smokers, are in favour of this new life.
    And it’s a lot easier to quit smoking, if all you have to do is not go outside.


  11. for 28 yrs. i went to dodger stadium and all but the last couple of years smoking was allowed everywhere…..the main arguement in favor of continued smoking was that if smoking was banned, attendance would suffer….finally, they banned smoking (except in designated areas)…guess what?, ..their attendance is setting new highs, and the fans love it and there doesen’t seem to be as many drunks now….plus, it’s a lot more pleasant without all of that smoke in your face….


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