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The Great Debates Smoking in
Restaurants


Reader Feedback:
I've just read your article on smoking in restaurants. Your piece was put together wonderfully, unfortunately I do not agree with your potion on no smoking at the bar. As a smoker I will go out and smoke a butt while having dinner even though I spent several dollars on a meal. To me that is the cost of my habit. The reason why I take myself outside after dining is because 1) it's not legal to smoke in a restaurant 2) I do feel uncomfortable if I spoil someone's dinner by smoking.

If you found yourself in a bar/rest that was casual and no one was smoking at the bar you hit the jackpot. I've never seen it and hopefully I won't (and I've been in the restaurant biz since I was 12 years old.) Taking away the right to smoke at a bar is ludicrous and obscene. Hey, while you're at it perhaps you can get liquor banned also, because I find it very offensive when I have to see a drunk, beer smelling person throwing up in the bathroom and I have to wait in line while he spreads his germs all over the sink!

Hey, like it or not restaurant owners will get around this silly rule and you know it. Just look at all the new cigar bars that are popping up. The way I see it if you want to go to dinner you can do it smoke free but when it comes to a bar and a casual theme restaurant you should expect more than two people smoking.

Hopefully smokers at one point or another will ban together and boycott the restaurant industry. I'd love to see how crazy owners will get when on Friday and Saturday it's not peaking the way it usually does. Politicians would be getting phone calls to change the law and rethink about banning smoking at bars. Sadly I know this won't happen because it is a losing battle since we all know smoking is no good for the smoker and the people around the smoker.

Good stuff Bob.

Sincerely,
Jeff Fallas


**Next Post

I enjoyed you piece on smoking in our restaurants. As a non smoker, I too would like a smoke-free environment. However, can't we have it both ways? How come we discuss trends in kitchen equipment, computer equipment, innovation in bar technology, but not air filtration technology? I believe that if we spend money on state of the art air-filtration technology, we can have it both ways. I wouldn't mind going to a restaurant that allows smoking, if once I sat down next to a smoker, the smoke went straight up and not across to me.

I look at it as a marketing advantage. Maybe you can point us all to state of the art, air filtration systems being used at the growing number of cigar bars, as an example of how smoke and dining can go together.

It's not people that smoke that bother me, it's the smoke. Lets get rid of the smoke, not the people who are our customers.

Tom Dudchik


**Next Post

Smokers now seem to be in the minority, so the idea of non-smoking establishments makes a lot of sense. Non smokers should not have to have their meal ruined by others less considerate. I do feel however that smokers have rights as well, but these rights should be tempered with a little consideration for others. There is room for both smoking and non-smoking restaurants and bars,just as long as there is clear signage at the entrances advising customers they are entering an establishment where smoking is permitted. Any non smoker enters at their own risk and should not try to throw their weight around. Perhaps if they had inquired about the smoking policy before ordering would have been a more intelligent approach.

I've been in the bar & restaurant business for 33 years now and do-gooders never fail to amaze me. Speaking as a smoker I always ask the people I'm with if they mind if I smoke, and many times I've held off or gone outside.

Why can't we all be civilized instead of having do-gooder laws shoved down our throats.

Sincerely,
Phil Nieukirk
Lindsay, Ont., Canada


**Next Post

Having just read the second of Mr. Bradley's articles on smoking, I step out of my own, service-related battlefield for a moment. Not, however, to light one up.

Most striking to me is the tacit and cynical implication in the second piece that what will decide the fate of smoking in restaurants is money. Hardly surprising, I know, but it amuses me that cigarettes will be banned under the pretense of health concerns.

Witness another man's (Jeff Fallas, I believe) remarking on the crackdown on liquor sales we've yet to see. His point is an excellent one. Teens are gathering to sponsor smug, anti-smoking campaigns on television (unaware, apparently, of the time-honored failure following any attempt to make being wholesome 'cool' to teens); these same teenagers go through amazing contortions to drink with their peers at circuit clubs, for precisely the same pitiable, cool effect for which they attack the tobacco industry.

Liquor, it is argued, is not injurious to the health of another, nearby customer. That is, of course, ridiculous. Liquor, too, is not offensive in a public place. Again - laughable. I'd far rather be seated near to a civilized and sober smoker than the very common, increasingly out-of-hand customer waving down his server for another round. But liquor means big and tangible money to the restaurant owner. Studies can predict the changes in business by a ban on cigarettes, but no survey is needed to tell that owner how the loss of the bar would be so damaging as to be unthinkable.

I believe I could stomach better the anti-smoking dogma were it based more on genuine, albeit intrusive, health concerns. It cannot be. For the militant non-smoker has no right to demand anything of the smoker but the same moderate behavior and courtesy we all expect of the drinker. There are, as have been discussed, alternatives to an outright ban on smoking in restaurants. Personally, I fail to see why the different section approach is not ample in catering to the issue. That non-smokers seek to claim more territory, that they must remove completely that which offends them, is a highly domineering and suspicious stance. To paraphrase Fran Liebowitz, being offended is a natural consequence of leaving one's home. Provided one's sensibilities, health-related or otherwise, are being taken into consideration and accommodated (as a simple change in floor plan will do), it is unacceptable that one body of people dictate to another. In this case, as in most every other.

Jack Mauro


**Next Post

No one should have to breathe smoke to have a job. A restaurant worker should not be told, "if you don't like breathing a known Group A carcinogen, go find a job somewhere else."

No other Group A carcinogen (asbestos, radon, benzene, etc.) is allowed in a restaurant or any other workplace. Why should smoke? It kills more than all the others combined.

Joseph W. Cherner, President
SmokeFree Educational Services, Inc.
http://www.smokefree.org

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