Have Restaurant Smoking Bans Gone Too Far?


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Have Restaurant Smoking Bans Gone Too Far?

In “The Rediscovery of Tobacco,” writer Jacob Grier argues that it’s become too difficult to find a place to smoke

by Monica Burton  
 

A black and white photo of a man and a woman in old fashioned clothes at a restaurant. The man is lighting the woman’s cigarette. The days of finding an ashtray on every restaurant table are long gone.  Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Restaurants have changed in more than a few ways over the past 50 years. But the biggest shift, the one that has fundamentally changed what it’s like to eat in a restaurant or spend time in a bar, might be the switch to smoke-free dining rooms — These days, being asked to choose “smoking or non smoking” is something of a novelty. The transition to smoke-free bars and restaurants began with the rise of the anti-smoking movement in the 1960s as the dangers of cigarettes became clear and advocates argued on behalf of restaurant and bar employees, who had no choice as to whether or not they would be inhaling secondhand smoke. In 1975, Minnesota enacted the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, becoming the first state to limit smoking in most public spaces, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s state-enforced smoking restrictions ramped up, expanding to include bans on smoking indoors in most states and even parks and public plazas in some.

 

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I do miss having the ability to go out and have a nice covered area where I can smoke a cigar. In the old days, I did refrain from smoking when patrons nearby were eating, and always asked the restaurant/bar/cafe if it was permissible to light up. Usually, we'd be told smoking in the outdoor area was allowed or allowed after a certain time (eg 10pm). I recall a great steak restaurant in the CBD where the downstairs area allow smoking indoors. You could have a well cooked meal, then sit back with a fine Scotch and light up your cigar. Nowadays, even bars with an outdoor "smoking area" ask you not to smoke cigars, as they may annoy other smokers. :wacko:

Fortunately we have found a few spots in Sydney that still welcome cigar smokers.

 

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I've ran into this on cruise ships recently. I'll be in the cigar lounge, which is sometimes the only place permissible to smoke cigars, and people will come in to smoke cigars and complain about my cigar smoke. Takes all restraint in myself to not let them have it.

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Still a few spots in Atlanta where you can have a smoke before, during or after your meal. Or all three!

Come to town I'll take you to one!

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2 minutes ago, Habana Mike said:

Still a few spots in Atlanta where you can have a smoke before, during or after your meal. Or all three!

Come to town I'll take you to one!

I'll be there in April, sadly just for a layover. I love Atlanta 

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it would be nice for a few places to have separate areas away from the main part to allow smoking but to be honest, if they were used by cigarette smokers, i'd not go near them. 

that is one of the things that does really antagonise me - smoking areas that do not allow cigars. i remember being in the business lounge in Chile at the airport for Lanchili or whatever they call themselves. coming back from Cuba and had a long stopover at the airport. had saved one big hamlet for the stopover. no one else in the smoking area and only about three people in the entire lounge - it was a smaller one for these flights i think. lit up. staff woman went nuts - only for cigarettes. she was not having a cigar! there was much unpleasantness. and i carried the extinguished cigar from one end of the lounge to the other. several times. she wanted to ruin my day, i was sure as hell going to ruin hers and make the entire place stink of just-out cigar. 

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5 minutes ago, Hadroxity said:

Where in Atlanta? PM me please.

Thanks!

No need to PM. 

The Club at Chops, Cabernet Steakhouse in Alpharetta (minutes from my house), Porter Beer Bar, Monticello, Fellaship to name a few.

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Cigars are a niche thing. When people make legislation, they don't usually consider small groups. Laws are for the masses. I think we are lucky to have cigar lounges in the US still, at all. Hopefully forever. They serve many purposes other than just a place for people to smoke cigars, too.

But I do think it's a tragedy that the law cannot encompass some small exceptions, like allowing a steak house to have a smoking room for after dinner; or a smoking section at a ballgame. It's just not right. People are insane with secondhand smoke! It triggers the OCD and hypochondria in neurotic people, who think they or their kid is going to get cancer if they even smell a whiff of smoke.

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Just last night I was having dinner at a steak place (they have an outdoor seating area at the back). While waiting for the rest of the party I was having a pre-dinner Vigia.

This dude came into the restaurant and asked for an outdoor seat as he thought the weather was good. After they sat him down outside, he kept complaining to his lady friend about the cigar smoke. "I CAN'T STAND THE SMELL OF CIGARS", "I SIMPLY CAN'T EAT WHEN THERE'S CIGAR SMOKE". He emphasised a lot on the word "cigar" and made sure it was loud enough for the entire patio to hear, and demanded the restaurant to reassign an indoor seat to them.

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You should be able to define your bar as smoker friendly and put a sign on your door without the requisite of selling cigars or having X income produced by tobacco. People can choose where the eat drink, they are the one responsible for where they choose to eat/drink, not the business. Id choose non smoking bars most of the time, but at least business would have a damn choice.

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13 hours ago, Meklown said:

Just last night I was having dinner at a steak place (they have an outdoor seating area at the back). While waiting for the rest of the party I was having a pre-dinner Vigia.

This dude came into the restaurant and asked for an outdoor seat as he thought the weather was good. After they sat him down outside, he kept complaining to his lady friend about the cigar smoke. "I CAN'T STAND THE SMELL OF CIGARS", "I SIMPLY CAN'T EAT WHEN THERE'S CIGAR SMOKE". He emphasised a lot on the word "cigar" and made sure it was loud enough for the entire patio to hear, and demanded the restaurant to reassign an indoor seat to them.

If this happened in HK, it doesn't surprise me.  We've had people sit down next to us (large group with probably 6-8 cigars going on at once), at 11:30pm, at outdoor bar, with blasting music, and they asked us to put out our smokes because they had a baby with them......

Next time, you should start loudly complaining that YOU CANT SMOKE WHEN THERE'S SOMEONE BEING A LITTLE *****

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12 hours ago, BoliDan said:

You should be able to define your bar as smoker friendly and put a sign on your door without the requisite of selling cigars or having X income produced by tobacco. People can choose where the eat drink, they are the one responsible for where they choose to eat/drink, not the business. Id choose non smoking bars most of the time, but at least business would have a damn choice.

Well that sure makes too much sense.

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No. To be honest, the old days of going to eat and having a smoking section and a "non-smoking section" which was....the table literally right next to you was freaking horrible. More than a handful of meals were pretty much ruined or substantially decreased in pleasure because a chimney was also eating. If it's a separate room with a sealed door, other entrance, with proper air filtration, then why not. But the reality of it is that most places were never built with the consideration of getting smoke out of the air. 

As much as I love cigars (hate cigarettes) smokers are still in the minority, and it's not cool for our hobby to negatively impact a lot of people and their health. 

Dedicated smoking establishments is the way to do it, with proper ventilation.

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14 hours ago, BoliDan said:

You should be able to define your bar as smoker friendly and put a sign on your door without the requisite of selling cigars or having X income produced by tobacco. People can choose where the eat drink, they are the one responsible for where they choose to eat/drink, not the business. Id choose non smoking bars most of the time, but at least business would have a damn choice.

Then it's the whole "servers being around 2nd hand smoke" and "dangerous work environment".  I use to go to a bar in Singapore that the servers would not go into the smoking room.  You to meet them on the other side of the glass door to get your drink...

Where I live, you can't even smoke on the beach!

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55 minutes ago, BrightonCorgi said:

Then it's the whole "servers being around 2nd hand smoke" and "dangerous work environment".  I use to go to a bar in Singapore that the servers would not go into the smoking room.  You to meet them on the other side of the glass door to get your drink...

Where I live, you can't even smoke on the beach!

Well the owner/managers would need to make it clear and possibly sign something prior to hiring. I'm just saying this a restriction on freedom of choice issue.

  • It's the owners choice (should be a "right") to define their business model as they wish.
  • It's the employee's choice to apply/work there.
  • It's the customers choice to patron or go elsewhere.

I don't understand the logic of removing this choice for public health purposes because of that choice factor. I remember when all bars had people smoking, but I don't think we'd ever go back to that. Most businesses would probably opt to be non-smoking or only vape friendly. There's a bar by me that sells enough cigars to be a "lounge" and you can smoke there. All the wait staff  are fine with it. Unfortunately, most people go there because it is a bar that allows both cigars and cigarettes, which is nasty, so I don't go there ever.

Yeah, we have a town here that Boulder and you can't even smoke at an empty park. I have to go there for work every now and then. I have drive to the next town over to find a place to smoke. I hate that town.

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Honestly, I'm not unhappy that you can't smoke in restaurants. But I do believe it should be the left up to the owners of the establishment. Also, the very few times I've eaten (a real meal) and smoked while doing so was something I did not enjoy. I always get a kick when I see cigar smokers crapping on cigarette smokers, when I imagine that to the general populace the stink is the same...

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1 hour ago, Colt45 said:

Honestly, I'm not unhappy that you can't smoke in restaurants. But I do believe it should be the left up to the owners of the establishment. Also, the very few times I've eaten (a real meal) and smoked while doing so was something I did not enjoy. I always get a kick when I see cigar smokers crapping on cigarette smokers, when I imagine that to the general populace the stink is the same...

I agree with you Colt.

 

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5 hours ago, BoliDan said:

Well the owner/managers would need to make it clear and possibly sign something prior to hiring. I'm just saying this a restriction on freedom of choice issue.

  • It's the owners choice (should be a "right") to define their business model as they wish.
  • It's the employee's choice to apply/work there.
  • It's the customers choice to patron or go elsewhere.

I don't understand the logic of removing this choice for public health purposes because of that choice factor. I remember when all bars had people smoking, but I don't think we'd ever go back to that. Most businesses would probably opt to be non-smoking or only vape friendly. There's a bar by me that sells enough cigars to be a "lounge" and you can smoke there. All the wait staff  are fine with it. Unfortunately, most people go there because it is a bar that allows both cigars and cigarettes, which is nasty, so I don't go there ever.

Yeah, we have a town here that Boulder and you can't even smoke at an empty park. I have to go there for work every now and then. I have drive to the next town over to find a place to smoke. I hate that town.

It doesn't matter if the employees are fine with working in a dangerous environment; they'd need to wear protective gear or the employer would be in an OSHA violation (all in jest).  We are too litigious and establishments don't see any upside by trying to include smoking.  Is it worth it?

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On 1/15/2020 at 7:12 PM, FireMedic said:

I'll be there in April, sadly just for a layover. I love Atlanta 

Shame they shut down the smoking bars and lounges a couple of weeks back. Hope your layover is short!

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Yes, they have. Let people decide with their dollars on where they eat. If too smoky, they will go somewhere else. Im sure there would be a market for both smoking and non smoking restaurants 

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