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.