Poll: Non-Smoking Bars?

March, 06, 2009, by Tim

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There has been a lot of back and forth amongst readers over non-smoking bars, so we thought it was time for a poll. How do you feel about non-smoking bars?

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  • Micah
    03/06 05:43 PM

    Ummm, what does “spare me the attitude” mean exactly?

  • miamiblue
    03/06 05:49 PM

    I agree with Micah. It seems that “spare me the attitude” could mean different things to people on all sides of the issue! What does it mean in this context?

  • DPK
    03/06 06:09 PM

    Indeed, I came here to post the exact thing about the “spare me the attitude” option.  If you’re going to do a poll, you have to make the options distinct enough so some validity can be extrapolated from the results.

  • David
    03/06 06:14 PM

    Tim says it’s the “attitude of non smokers”

  • Drew B
    03/06 06:23 PM

    where’s the “i’m happy they’re around and love going to them, but making a law about it is total bullshit” option?

  • tc
    03/06 06:23 PM

    The way I see it, I don’t mind stepping outside if I feel the desire to smoke, unless it’s a major hassle to do so, like say it’s an incredibly crowded place and it’s difficult to go out/get back in.  I don’t smoke usually, but when I drink, particularly liquor, I occasionally want to.  However, if the establishment is a bar first, not a restaurant with a bar, then I think it’s a little odd when people become so righteous in demanding you “spare their lungs”.  I mean, it’s a bar, and not exactly a bastion of healthy living.  I do empathize with those that want to enjoy a drink without smelling smoke, especially pipe-smoke, cigars, and clove-type cigarettes, which are particularly noxious, but at the same time, I don’t see why people shouldn’t be able to smoke a cigarette while having a drink.  Long story short, I don’t have a problem with a bar being non-smoking, as long as they don’t make you jump through hoops just to have a cigarette.

  • smitty
    03/06 06:58 PM

    Enjoy it while you can, smoking bars are going away.  Maybe this is a good opportunity to quit.

  • Micah
    03/06 08:45 PM

    The way I see it, and I work in the field, smoke really doesn’t have to be a problem in a bar.  With proper HVAC design (with emphasis on the “V,” VENTILATION), as well as adherence to National codes for number of air changes per hour, a bar can be virtually smoke free, even if every patron is having a smoke at the same time.  I have seen very few bars with even close to proper means of dealing with smoke.  Most of this is due to both inexperienced HVAC technicians, and owners that are unwilling to shell out a few thousand more dollars for proper make-air and energy reclaimation ventilation systems.  Even the duct design in a lot of spaces is horrible, and most times not even close to the industry standard “Manual D” rules.  I see a lot of bars that are probably running 25% or more make-air into their spaces (great!), but provide no means for that made-up air introduced into the space to escape! Pure HVAC tech inexperience. Some of these same bars do not run their circulation fans 5 months out of the year (when there is no need for heating/cooling)...NO make-air when they do this!  There are some bars with giant smoke filtration systems in place (Smokeeters), but they are rarely properly placed or serviced, so they do not work.  There is a new and alarming trend of those HIDEOUS looking ceiling fan charcoal filter rings that attach to ceiling fans (a la Landmark).  First, they don’t last long before they have to be replaced (which never happens), and secondly, all they do is throw the air through a charcoal filter, which only removes the smell and hardly any of the actual SMOKE!  I wish I had time on the side to start a HVAC consulting business on the side (again).

  • Betsy
    03/07 12:07 AM

    Don’t Buy the Ventilation Lie

    The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers)  has unanimously adopted a position document on secondhand smoke that reaffirms that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; that ventilation and other air cleaning systems cannot eliminate all the health risks caused by secondhand smoke exposure; and that secondhand smoke does not belong indoors. 
    You can see the details of it here:
    http://www.no-smoke.org/getthefacts.php?dp=d20|p106

  • Betsy
    03/07 12:08 AM

    There’s no ventilation system that can reduce the health risks of tobacco smoke.  You can get the facts here: 
    no-smoke.org/document.php?id=268

    You can learn why Big Tobacco promotes “ventilation” tactics here:
    no-smoke.org/document.php?id=275

  • Betsy
    03/07 12:08 AM

    Whoops, sorry—

    There’s no ventilation system that can reduce the health risks of tobacco smoke.  You can get the facts here: 
    http://www.no-smoke.org/document.php?id=268

    You can learn why Big Tobacco promotes “ventilation” tactics here:
    http://www.no-smoke.org/document.php?id=275

  • Betsy
    03/07 12:12 AM

    Whenever communities promote smokefree measures, Big Tobacco pushes ventilation instead.


    Problem is, it just won’t work.  That’s because secondhand smoke is classified as a cancer-causing agent with no safe level
    of exposure.

    Ventilation may reduce the sight or smell of secondhand smoke, but it does not protect your health.
    http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/houstonchron.pdf

  • Micah
    03/07 12:20 AM

    Tobacco smoke is not healthy, that is not the argument I make.  Oh, and I haven’t been a member of ASHRAE for years for several reasons and various stances they have taken over the years, and they certainly don’t speak for all HVAC technicians and engineers.  I am just stating an argument that the level of smoke inside a building can be dramatically reduced, almost to the point that it isn’t even noticeable to the average person.  I have personally done it in two buildings.  Many of the smoking bars in Raleigh (and everywhere!) have it wrong.  Jackpot, Landmark, Alibi, Fayetteville St. Tavern, Rockford, Borough are just a few of them.  The Smoking Times has gone a few steps further by at least maintaining that room at a negative pressure so that the smoke doesn’t flow into the other side of the bar so readily.  Personally, I don’t mind a low level of smoke when I am at a bar, but I would much rather it be non-smoking. I would also rather there not be gasoline and diesel fumes right outside the door of the bar, but I digress.

  • Betsy
    03/07 12:39 AM

    It’s not a question of making smoke odor and particles unnoticeable.  That doesn’t reduce the carcinogens and toxins, as the links I posted make abundantly clear.  Yes, air in a bar can smell as if there is no noticeable smoke, but that doesn’t reduce the health risk. 

    I would also respectfully point out that according to the laws of physics, maintaining one side of a room at a lower air pressure (what you term a “negative pressure”) than the other side is simply impossible. 

    No doubt you can do a very good job of making the perceived smokiness (odor, haze) go away. but the best, simplest, and cheapest way to make a room smoke-free is to eliminate smoking in it.  It works perfectly!

  • Micah
    03/07 01:13 AM

    I understand all your points, and I don’t disagree with the fact that tobacco smoke (all kinds of smoke!) are bad for you.  My point is fairly clear, but I have to point out two problems I have with your argument.  If the air in a bar smells as if there is no noticeable smoke because there actually IS less smoke, then it is not AS BAD for you as a really smokey room.  Proper air changes will reduce the actual smoke, and reduce the health risks.  I never said they would be eliminated all together. The second thing I have issue with is your attempt debunking my argument about “negative pressures” in a room.  Respectfully, I have 25 years experience as an HVAC engineer.  I don’t think you understood what I was explaining.  Of course, it is fairly difficult or impossible to maintain a negative pressure in part of a completely open room space, but the Raleigh Times has the smoking in one room, with only an 8 X 9 foot opening between that room and the next.  The HVAC is separate in each room.  I am not 100% certain, but it is highly probable that the HVAC in the main bar is running at a positive pressure (by introducing legally mandated make-air from outside), and the Smoking Times is probably running at a negative pressure (by exhausting air and not making it all back up).  In fact, nearly all public spaces are normally run at slightly positive pressures due to make up air introduced with little exhaust. Some, like places of assembly in our area (churches, arenas, auditoriums, and movie theaters), are normally run with between 10% and 25% make-air from outside.  The primary exceptions are commercial kitchens.  They are normally run at slight negative pressure, for obvious reasons.

  • Brian Smith
    03/07 02:40 AM

    Just returned from San Francisco. Saw a live show at the Mezzanine and went to several bars, all smoke-free. Really wonderful experience and I can tell you that no one suffered. Everyone was still drunk, laughing and having a great time.

  • Thomas
    03/07 02:57 AM

    Betsy actually there have been no studies of second hand smoke danger, only estimates. I’d prefer hard science not   politically biased guesses.

    I’d prefer the poll have and option “Let the owner decide”. I’ll pick a nonsmoking bar most of the time, but it’s their property not mine.

  • smokin'
    03/07 05:22 AM

    I totally agree with Drew & Thomas. 

    “where’s the “i’m happy they’re around and love going to them, but making a law about it is total bullshit” option?”

    Whatever studies show, we all know it is bad for you… but so are a lot of things.

    Let the business decide.  We live in America.  Everyone has a choice to go to smoking or non-smoking bars.  We need both.

  • Betsy
    03/07 10:24 AM

    The “let the businesses decide” idea is a smoke screen being pushed by Big Tobacco under the guise of “property rights.”  You can read about how they push that option here (see item 3): http://no-smoke.org/document.php?id=241

    The fact is, it’s a health issue.  We don’t let restaurants serve dirty food in salmonella-laced kitchens, and then “let the customers decide” whether to patronize those establishments.

  • Betsy
    03/07 10:29 AM

    Micah,

    Thanks for acknowledging that no filtration or ventilation system can actually remove the health hazards of secondhand smoke.  That is very responsible of you as a ventilation professional. 


    Unfortunately, there are still some disreputable firms that claim they can eliminate smoke with the right combination of equipment and setup.  Maybe that’s because there’s quite a living to be made selling restaurants and bars expensive, but useless, ventilation and “filtration” equipment.


    Of course, there’s always the free and 100% effective approach:  eliminate smoking.

  • Betsy
    03/07 10:30 AM

    As you can see here, the fact that the air SEEMS clean doesn’t mean that any of the health hazard has been reduced: http://www.no-smoke.org/document.php?id=268


    Unfortunately, a lot of customers will conclude that if they aren’t bothered by smell or haze, their health is also being protected—which is not the case.

  • Betsy
    03/07 10:34 AM

    Thomas,

    You said “actually there have been no studies of second hand smoke danger, only estimates.”

    Sadly, “it’s only estimates” is a standard tobacco-industry talking point.

    You can see the studies that you claim are non-existent, and the science on second-hand smoke, here:
    no-smoke.org/document.php?id=215

    and here:
    http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/SHSBibliography.pdf

    But fair warning:  that second link contains 92 pages of listed studies.

  • mgd
    03/07 12:11 PM

    Ive been to many cities that have passed a no-smoking law and every bar I went to was packed and no one was walking around pissed that they couldnt smoke. 

    If you cant go to a bar without smoking then you are weak and feeble and allow an inanimate object control your life.

  • Micah
    03/07 01:32 PM

    Betsy, I never said that NO ventilation system can remove the dangers of secondhand smoke, I just admit that tobacco smoke is indeed dangerous.  There are many systems that DO remove nearly all suspended particles, including smoke, in one pass through the system. It is ignorant to call all ventilation/filtration systems “useless,” especially when you really don’t know what you are talking about. Of course, this does nothing to negate the effects of the smoke from its actual production (at the smokers table) to the point where it is processed by the ventilation/filtration equipment. It also doesn’t consider maintenance of equipment to keep efficiencies up, which I have seen is minimal in today’s world.  As I said before, no bar/restaurant that I have been to in Raleigh/Durham has actually invested in any effective equipment, only standard HVAC systems with poor duct design and nothing but a 2-inch pleated disposable dust filter for filtration.  I want to agree with you that there is much money to be made selling filtration and ventilation equipment, but there is not.  Owners will only go with what is cheapest (standard HVAC, possibly with make-air capabilities), or silly fads (like the ceiling fan smoke rings at Landmark).

    I love non-smoking bars/restaurants, but I have to agree with others here about letting it be the owners choice.  Admittedly, smoking is quickly becoming socially unacceptable, but in our area right now it is not the time to pass sweeping anti-smoking legislation.  If I own a bar, I would like to choose whether I allow smoking or not.  YOU can choose whether to patronize my establishment or not.  Simple as that. No amount of scary links from one activist anti-smoking website is going to change my mind about this.

  • Amy G.
    03/07 02:42 PM

    I agree that there needs to be an option that states “Let the owner decide”.  there are already many bars in the area that are non-smoking.  This is without government intervention.  There are smoking bars for the smokers and non-smoking bars for the non-smoker.  Everyone’s happy, live and let live.  if you don’t want to smell smoke then go to one of the many bars that are already smoke free.

  • Old guy
    03/07 06:07 PM

    I agree with Amy.  If you don’t want to breathe smoke, go to a non-smoking establishment.  No one forces anyone to enter a bar.

  • nolife
    03/09 02:05 AM

    Betsy,  Keep HOPING for your check from the government.  They will make everything better. 

    When the government puts up the capital to open up a bar like normal business owners and property owners, then they should be able to decide if that property should allow smoking or not.  Next thing you know, you will not be able to smoke (or drink or eat) in your own home.

    The sad part is the government tries to slide these bills through without even consulting property owners…uugghh I mean business owners….uggh I mean bar owners… oh WAIT, I mean anyone. Might as well move to Venezuela…Betsy, you may want to research Hugo and let us know if you think you approve of how he operates.

    Stay home if you do not want to be subjected to life.  Smoking or Non-smoking, most places clearly post what they are OR you can tell very quickly and chose to go SOMEWHERE ELSE.  Every NORMAL PERSON knows what type of bar they go to.  Everyone knows what is good and bad, but somehow we all keep going back to the bars we like, smoking or not.


    This is just one more thing we do not need the government to decide for us. 

    You are very weak if you are peer pressured into going to a smoking bar when you can not handle it. 

    YOU, as a customer, can decide with your dollars.  YOU, can VOTE smoking or non-smoking with your dollars.

    Survival of the fittest.  That is the American way, not someone telling you how to operate your business.

  • BA
    03/09 12:38 PM

    Seriously?

    It would be great to have a separate part of this poll that showed who was a smoker and who was not.

    I would love it if every public place - bar, restuarant, office, park, club - were non-smoking. It is a disgusting, addictive habit that kills you. I don’t want to have to choose to go somewhere based on whether or not there is smoking. There are places that have great music, great food, or a great atmosphere that I still go to for those reasons even though I cannot stand the smoke. I’m sure that makes me weak.

    Non-smoking should not be a question - it is not good for public health. Period. Yes, you can say that about alcohol too, or driving, or fast food, but I have control over those things - I choose when or how much. I have no choice with smoking if places choose to allow smoking and I want to frequent them. You can bitch about it all you want, but I also think it would help smokers who DO want to quit - the friends I have who want to quit but find it really hard when so many places encourage the habit.

  • Jennifer
    03/09 01:47 PM

    What about the people who work in restaurants and bars?  Get a different job?  Sure, maybe eventually when things are looking up, but even in good times it’s not easy to find a job you like and that pays well.

    Besides, we don’t make people who are exposed to hazardous chemicals or not provided with proper safety equipment go find another job.  We legislate this stuff so individuals don’t have to fight these clearly very divisive fights with their employers. 

    I feel I’d gain a lot of freedom from having all public places be smoke free.  I could go anywhere and not worry about it.  The smokers could also go anywhere with me, which would be nice because I’d rather not get rid of friends just because they smoke.

  • Amy G.
    03/09 02:03 PM

    BA wants to know who is a smoker.  I am a NON-SMOKER who opposes the bill.  If I don’t want to go to a restaurant/bar that smells like smoke, I do not have to do so.  I have never once had a hard time finding a non-smoking bar/restaurant.  Our government shouldn’t be wasting their time on this.  The market is already catering to non-smokers, so let it be.

  • Betsy
    03/09 03:03 PM

    It’s a health issue—just like all restaurants must follow health regulations when preparing food.  We don’t leave it to customers to decide whether they want to eat in a clean restaurant.

  • Amy G.
    03/09 03:45 PM

    Betsy, do you really think that all restaurants are as clean as you would like them to be?  There’s an element of risk no matter where you go and what you do.  This is life. Legislation can’t protect you from everything!

  • Michael
    03/09 04:18 PM

    That last comment is a logical fallacy. Anyway, IT’S SMOKE! Smoke from burning leaves and chemicals. I used to smoke. I used to not care if other people smoked around me, but then when they start looking like Iggy Pop and wheezing like a slow leak the writing is on the wall. It’s gross, it makes you smell like crap and it’s a passe cultural signifier of something that doesn’t exist anymore. And it makes rich bastards richer and bastardier (i.e. Tobacco Companies and the medical industry). Geez. Pass the damn law already.

  • Drew B
    03/09 06:09 PM

    I’m also a nonsmoker who opposes the bill.

    “It’s gross, it makes you smell like crap and it’s a passe cultural signifier of something that doesn’t exist anymore. And it makes rich bastards richer and bastardier”

    None of those are valid reasons for passing a law restricting what people are allowed to do on private property.

    Comparing it to sanitation regulations isn’t really a fair comparison. They are a form of consumer protection which is necessary because an individual has no way of knowing if their food was prepared properly. In contrast, it is very easy to tell if a place has smoking patrons. I wouldn’t be opposed to making the quality and maintenance of ventilation and smoke containment systems a part of the sanitation score.

    “I have no choice with smoking if places choose to allow smoking and I want to frequent them.”
    This just doesn’t make sense to me. There are many places I don’t go for a variety of reasons, and places I do go despite the tradeoffs. Smoke fits into both those categories at times. Accepting that you’ll have to make choices in life is a part of being an adult.

  • Michael
    03/09 06:38 PM

    If someone stood in the middle of a bar spraying an aerosol of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, formaldehyde etc until the air was thick with a cloud of the stuff, I’m pretty sure they would be charged with endangering the health of those around them. Why is it any different if it is billowing out of a wad of burning leaves stuck in someone’s mouth?

  • Celia Fate
    03/09 07:12 PM

    Some of us actually have health problems like asthma and acute sinusitus that prohibit us from being in establishments with any level of smoke. (including smokey ovens). With such a high number of smoking places in Raleigh, we’re basically banned from group socialization. You may be able to get a handful of your friends to go to a non-smoking place, but if you belong to organizations that go out together, you can’t go to 80% of the get-togethers because you’ll be at the Urgent Care the next day.

    A smoker might have to “step outside” for a couple minutes to have a smoke, but those of us with asthma can’t step inside in the first place. I’m fine sitting outside a bar in the summer, but in the winter, it should be the people who don’t care about their health in the first place that have to sit outside. And having a drink and meeting up with friends isn’t necessarily “unhealthy”. gimme a break. 

    Anyway, I was pleasantly shocked by the poll’s outcome!

  • bailmeout
    03/10 11:44 AM

    I am also a non-smoker that loves non-smoking bars… but think it is ridiculous to make a law that would not allow a property owner or business owner to make that decision!  Where do we live?  AMERICA!

    There are plenty of choices in NC for smokers and non-smokers.  It is not the government’s responsibility to make your social life better!  If you feel so adamant about it, open up a non-smoking restaurant with your own money!

    I am willing to bet more than 1/2 of the people reading this had parents who smoked while they were pregnant and while you were just a little baby.  Was this good?  Probably not, but we all turned out just fine!  Everyone today has to have their butts wiped by the government.  That’s part of the reason these kids turn out to be weak, have all these new allergies and we cry to the government when anything goes wrong. 

    Isn’t there something else the government can do for us besides take away property rights from tax payers and business owners?  How about a few Billion dollars to research the percentage of non-smoking homeless people that ride free transportation like the R-line?

  • pablo
    03/10 12:14 PM

    “BA wants to know who is a segregationist.  I am a NON-SEGREGATIONIST who opposes the bill.  If I don’t want to go to a restaurant/bar with coloreds, I do not have to do so.  I have never once had a hard time finding a colored bar/restaurant.  Our government shouldn’t be wasting their time on this.  The market is already catering to coloreds, so let it be.”

    Sorry. The conversation regarding property rights of owners of space open to the public reminds me of the argument used 40 years ago by the segregationist crowd.

    The results are in – 2nd hand smokes MAIMS and KILLS - do it to yourself in YOUR private space, not in OUR public places.

  • Drew B
    03/10 12:35 PM

    Pablo, Your argument is flawed. Similar arguments will come into play whenever government decides to involve itself with private property rights, and so you’re right that they sound similar. However, there is a big difference. It would be just as easy to compare the ban to legally enforced segregation in an equally inflammatory manner, but neither one is accurate.

    Calling a restaurant a public space is not entirely true. IANAL, but believe that they are mostly considered private property, with a few legal exceptions.

  • RaleighRob
    03/10 12:52 PM

    If the proportion of smoke-free bars out there even came close to reflecting the proportion of nonsmokers in the overall population, then maybe I’d buy this “let the business decide” approach.  But alas, smoke-free bars are a tiny minority of bars overall. 

    Trusting the majority of bars to eliminate smoking on their own without a ban, is like trusting the majority of pesticide companies to get rid of DDT on their own without a ban.  It doesn’t work.

  • tc
    03/10 01:24 PM

    Someone mentioned the freedom they’d gain if all bars were forced to be smoke-free.  What about the freedom you would take away from the bar owners and smokers who want to go to the bars?  (no, I’m not a smoker).  If you want to convince more bars to become smoke-free, then boycott them.  Period.  If such a majority want all bars to be smoke-free, then problem solved.  To stay in business, bar owners will have to become smoke-free.  The segregation analogy is weak.  One is a case of legally-enforced inequality, another is a case of prohibition for health reasons.  Comparing the two is degrading to those who suffered through segregation.

  • Bill
    03/10 01:37 PM

    Can I wear an asbestos suit in your bar and stand near the fan?  This smoking argument is pretty simple (let the market decide) with the exception of the employees.  Bars sell legal drugs to adults and they carry a toll for society, therefore they pay higher taxes.  Once you quit smoking yourself, it can be unbearable to work in a smoky bar.

    One of the great benefits of the non-smoking push can be seen/smelled in cities like San Francisco and NYC:  It’s easy for people to stand outside and smoke a joint without being hassled.  It’s nice to see - makes it feel like America and it can be a big savings over mixed drinks.

  • pablo
    03/10 01:48 PM

    No Drew, your argument is flawed. The Supreme Court ruled long ago that restaurants open to the public are considered public places and have to abide by rules that cannot discriminate or HARM the public.
    TC, you wrote “If such a majority want all bars to be smoke-free, then problem solved.” Well every poll in NC shows that a majority does support the ban of smoking in public places. Over half of the U.S. population live in states that ban smoking in public places. Comparing an asthmatic having to endure your cigarette smoke in OUR public places is NOT weak or degrading to those who suffered from segregation. It gives voice to non-smokers who have suffered long enough from second-hand smokers. Q.e.d. (I have a bet with a friend who could this latin acronym first in writing or conversation).

  • tc
    03/10 02:27 PM

    I never said, or implied, that I knew what the majority wants.  Just that, if it’s so overwhelming, and you suffer so much (as you’d like to compare, suffering akin to being harrassed, arrested, beaten, and murdered because of your race), then quit crying for the government to save you and boycott these heinous establishments and the majority will rule.

    Also, restaurants are public places, but are bars, where you have to be 21 to enter? 

    “let the market decide”  This is all I’m saying.

    I could care less if a bar is or is not smoke-free, I do care about the constitutional rights of business owners though. 

    “Can I wear an asbestos suit in your bar”  You could, but the owner has the right to make you leave.

  • miamiblue
    03/10 03:00 PM

    Why not regulate “smoking allowed” establishments the way we regulate establishments that sell alcohol? If a business wants to allow smoking (a behavior enjoyed by the a minority of the population, known to be a health hazard, so an exception to the rule of not having a health hazard present), then they would have to apply for a “smoking allowed” permit and be required to install, and properly maintain, the HVAC equipment Micah mentioned earlier that clears the air of carcinogens. It preserves the owners’ “rights” to let their customers poison themselves without posing as much threat to customers who don’t want to poison themselves.


    I’m a non-smoker who is in favor of a public smoking ban (lived in a state that banned smoking in restaurants but not standalone bars). I think many owners probably wouldn’t be against going non-smoking in most cases, but they have been cowed and terrified into submission by big tobacco’s scare tactics about losing business. It only takes a simple, cursory study of places like NYC, San Fran, London, Dublin, etc. to see that a smoking ban is not going to put businesses under.


    @bailmeout: My parents did not smoke while my sister and I were in the womb, nor did we grow up around smoking in the home and we have never smoked. We have no allergies, asthma or sinus issues. My boyfriend grew up around heavy smokers in the home, has never smoked himself, but continues to suffer from serious allergies and sinus problems that act up the most around cigarette smoke. Go figure.


    As for me, I am hoping the legislation passes because that will clear the air much faster than voting with my feet and money, which I already do. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to alternate legislation that would allow owners to apply for “smoking allowed” type permits to preserve some choice for owners (such as cigar bars, etc.) as long as the default for public places is non-smoking.

  • YesReally
    03/10 04:14 PM

    Science and facts have not been a favorite of some commenters here, but I’ve always thought this info is pretty amazing:

    Other places that have put in community smoking bans have seen an IMMEDIATE 19% drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks.  This is an average from a meta-analysis of eight studies done on places with bans.

    In NC, that would be about 3,900 fewer folks being admitted to the hospital or about 10 fewer people every day not having a heart attack, and possibly not dying.  This ban could avoid huge medical bills, further strain on our hospitals and EMS and major negative effects on quality of life for patients and their families.

    This outcome is seen within 24 hours of smoking bans.  Really. 

    Glantz SA. Preventive Medicine 47 (2008) 452–453

  • wineandcheese please
    03/10 04:26 PM

    Decide with your dollars you bunch of whiners.  No one forces you to go to smoking bars… and there are plenty of non-smoking bars that would love your business. 

    I am also a non-smoker, so no excuse here.  Just think it is lame that Uncle Sam has to bail everyone out.

  • Tom
    03/10 04:58 PM

    “Other places that have put in community smoking bans have seen an IMMEDIATE 19% drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks.”

    I also read a study in Wisconsin that said Drunk Driving fatalities increased with the introduction of a smoking ban.  Gotta love “independant research studies”.  They’ll give you the best results money can buy.

  • pablo
    03/10 06:41 PM

    “Decide with your dollars you bunch of whiners.  No one forces you to go to smoking bars… and there are plenty of non-smoking bars that would love your business.”

    Wineandcheese, nobody is ‘forcing’ migrant workers to put in 16hr shifts in hog slaughtering plants under brutal conditions that a spoiled brat like yourself could not grasp. We have to keep a job to feed our families. The restaurant/bar industry is one of our largest employers in the state. What part do you not get that 2nd hand smoke MAIMS and KILLS? If this what you mean about Uncle Sam bailing everybody out, as in the the words of your recent free market president, “Bring it on”.

  • Betsy
    03/10 06:46 PM

    I have to take a moment to give Drew B a shout-out for making arguments on the merits of the issue, rather than accusations of whining,  calling into question other commenters’ agoraphobic tendencies, and other irrelevant matters. 

    It shows his faith in his arguments, for one thing. 


    Although I disagree with him, it is a joy to debate an issue on the merits, civilly.  Thanks for that, Drew.

  • pablo
    03/10 08:23 PM

    I agree Betsy. Kudos Drew.

  • wine2
    03/10 11:23 PM

    “2nd hand smoke maims and kills”...Wow.  Now that is a statement.  How about Drinking Maims and Kills.  Fast food Maims and Kills.  Sex Maims and Kills.  Stupidity Maims and Kills….  Come on!


    It is a wonder any of us are able to live in this society today as we know it.  I have been around long enough with parents that smoked and have not been maimed or killed yet.  Your comments sound similar to those scare tactics that took the US to war.


    I think it is a perfectly legit argument that you can vote with your dollars, that is how you prove your point to the business owner.  Maybe New Raleigh should do a feature on all the smoking and non-smoking bars in Raleigh, so that they can improve everyone’s social life and health at the same time.


    Spoiled Brat Pablo?  Come on.  Sounds like someone did not work as hard in their early years to get ahead.  Probably smoking something tobacco related and didn’t score well enough to get that job you always dreamed about.  Keep waiting on your check and for the government to solve your problems.  The rest of us spoiled brats will pay for it one way or another.

  • Drew B
    03/11 01:23 AM

    Thank you Betsy and Pablo. It’s nice to know not everyone believes what they say about arguing on the internet.

    There have also been a couple of middle of the road suggestions that have come up during this discussion that could be of use in finding a good solution to the problem. I’ll go in order of ease of implementation…

    1. wine2: “Maybe New Raleigh should do a feature on all the smoking and non-smoking bars in Raleigh” A simple and unambiguous first step. Providing potential consumers with more information about their options for nonsmoking establishments will make it easier for people to “vote with their feet”. even if yo don’t believe that to be the solution, i have a hard time imagining any reasonable person arguing that having the option to do so is a bad thing.

    me: “making the quality and maintenance of ventilation and smoke containment systems a part of the sanitation score.” Obviously, i think it’s a good solution. Improves the life of smokers and nonsmokers alike. Doesn’t require creating completely new laws since business owners are already required to keep their facilities at a certain level of repair. Neither side would probably be completely satisfied, but I’ve heard that’s the hallmark of a good compromise…

    miamiblue: “regulate ‘smoking allowed’ establishments the way we regulate establishments that sell alcohol?” This opens up a lot of questions that would have to be answered before we could know exactly how restrictive it would be. As such, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with it. Would such locations be “members only” as non-food bars are here now? What other requirements would be necessary for this permit? Who would approve these permits and how would we ensure that their standards are reasonable? All of these questions would have to be answered, making it both a very difficult law to enact as well as more restrictive on business owners.


    How about it? Does anyone else have ideas about intermediate positions between
    “owners can do whatever they want” and “no one can smoke anywhere”?

  • RaleighRob
    03/11 09:51 AM

    Funny how people keep mentioning over and over “vote with your feet”.  Maybe…but hard to do when the acceptable “candidates” are few and far between.
    I’ve been to many bars and nightclubs in Raleigh and the smoke-free ones have for a long time been a tiny minority.  The choices are way more limited than you make it out to be. 

    Granted a few new smoke-free bars have opened.  Great.  Smoke-free danceclubs though?  Name one. 

    Forget the air for a second, I’d simply like to go listen to some music and dance without worrying about a flying lit cig hitting me in the arm for once!

  • YesReally
    03/11 10:11 AM

    Thanks RaleighRob—up until this past year, with Boylan Brewpub, Foundation and Tobacco Road there were very few non-smoking bars and NO dance clubs.  It would be good to see a list of ISTB bars/restaurants and their smoking policies.  I think one of these exists, but when I saw it, it was out of date. It’s great that most new places, but not all (Landmark), are deciding to go smoke-free from the get-go.  I think the voting with our feet idea is working, SLOWLY.  The problem is nonsmokers are still being exposed to smoke in their workplaces, and it will be years before that is no longer a problem if it’s left to the market.

    The idea of a compromise, with smoking permits, or HVAC systems is coming from a good place.  However, it all seems pretty complicated, would create more redtape and administrative costs, and would still end up with some workers stuck breathings smoke on the job. Not smoking inside would be so simple.

  • Wine2
    03/11 10:38 AM

    Sorry guys,  I can name more than a handful of bars that are non-smoking off the top of my head that have been open for more than a few months.  I will spare you the list, but for dance clubs specifically:  Mosquito is non-smoking…  Mosaic is non-smoking….Solas, I think they are too.  I am sure there are more.  Maybe you should get out a little more. 

    Vote with your dollars, the government is not responsible for your smoke free social life.

    New Raleigh, please put a list of smoking and non-smoking places.  I think this excuse of not of enough smoke free bars is thin.

  • tc
    03/11 10:44 AM

    “Maybe…but hard to do when the acceptable “candidates” are few and far between.”

    But wouldn’t that just help you make your point?  It requires a little more sacrifice from you, but it would make your point that much clearer, as only a few places would be seeing overwhelming success.  Considering people are being maimed and killed left and right, isn’t a little more sacrifice worth it?

    “The problem is nonsmokers are still being exposed to smoke in their workplaces, and it will be years before that is no longer a problem if it’s left to the market.”

    I don’t have the stats on this, but I would guess that the overwhelming majority of workplaces are smoke-free.

  • YesReally
    03/11 11:00 AM

    Bars and restaurants are work places.  I don’t think any people should have to be exposed to smoke because they need to earn a living.

  • Amy G.
    03/11 11:14 AM

    According to the health department, there are 585 smoke free bars/restaurants in Wake County.

    http://wake.digitalhealthdepartment.com/smokefree.cfm

  • tc
    03/11 11:41 AM

    “Bars and restaurants are work places”

    Yeah, I know, I didn’t say that there aren’t workplaces where smoking is allowed.  This doesn’t refute the statement I made.

  • miamiblue
    03/11 02:54 PM

    I also would love to see a comprehensive, easily searchable list of non-smoking bars and restaurants for this area. The Wake County site that Amy G. posted does list non-smoking restaurants; however, it is not easily searchable at all. It lists every chain location that is non-smoking, which adds a LOT of fluff to the results. So if McDonalds has gone non-smoking as a corporate policy, then every Micky D’s in Wake county is listed on there, and you have to wade through all of that to find the good stuff (there are about 4 pages of McD’s on there). I’ve tried using the advanced search as well, but there is not a good way to search, but no “non-smoking” search parameter is available. Not to mention, it does not list places such as Mosquito or Mosaic.

  • BA
    03/11 03:27 PM

    miamiblue: thanks for pointing that out. I don’t really consider Micky D’s my fave late-night hangout. Not to mention I would like to see how many of these are actually in downtown Raleigh as opposed to Cary, etc.


    I’m still also opposed to the “vote w/ your feet/dollars” argument for 2 reasons:

    1. Location, music, atmosphere, food, cost. Some places have what I want in one or more of these categories and may still allow smoking. I find it hard to ‘vote’ when there is not a good alternative.

    2. Friends. Sure, call it peer pressure, but I am often not the only one w/ any opinion on a weekend night and it would be nice if there were more non-smoking places so that there didn’t have to be a big discussion about not wanting to go somewhere b/c of the smoke. And I still think those who want to kick the habit would find it easier to do if there were more places that were non-smoking.

  • RaleighRob
    03/11 04:51 PM

    miamiblue read my mind.  That site Amy lists is probably 80% fast food chains.

  • ssd
    03/12 03:59 AM

    BA/miamiblue/RR, Get your friends, gather your money, and buy a bar and make it non-smoking PERIOD.  or start a non-smoking clinic…  As several have noted here, It is not the Government that is responsible for making your social life better.  that is what the internet is for…


    This argument and poll are dead.  Spare my lungs…  Spare my private property. 


    If you read the bill or rules for smoke free establishments, you will probably see how parks will be affected and that to be considered smoke free, you can not smoke within 25ft of the door.  No fluff in the results on the site, they could add a lot more if they actually considered many true “non-smoking” bars that do not allow smoking inside.  So most dance clubs and bars that are fun ARE smoke free, but are not listed because people go to the sidewalk to smoke…  Interesting how these simple things eliminate them from being Smoke free establishments…. 


    If you think eliminating smoking establishments are just about smoking, you are missing the point… it is about freedoms and property rights that go well beyond that; and will dictate our future.  But I guess we will have to wait to make all the smoking bars required to go non-smoking before the NON-SMOKING BARS are considered cool instead of rewarding those that are forward thinking already. 

    I’ll vote with my dollars.  Go local, no chains and non-smoking…  but I am not going to complain about the business owners that have taken their own money and decided to have a smoking bar.  It is America.  Land of the Free… 

    Amazing what we are starting to become when we can control how a business is operated without putting in any investment.  Chavez would be proud.

  • miamiblue
    03/12 09:40 AM

    ssd - Per your philosophy, we should abandon health codes and such requirements at restaurants as well. By imposing health codes, the big bad government is robbing business owners of their property rights by forcing them to comply with health regulations. They should be “free” to keep their kitchens as dirty or clean as they choose, just as you are arguing they should be allowed to keep the air in their establishments as full of carcinogens (that are harming employees as well as customers) as they choose.


    I’m all for preserving rights, and I think the right to public health (which includes employees) should be top priority. Maybe it’s just me. I like Drew B’s idea of maybe making it a sanitation score thing, at the very least. But I will still only give my business to places that do not allow smoking, period.


    Anyhow, I AM voting with my money, thereby “investing” in the local non-smoking, non-chain, downtown options that currently exist (and, there really were not many until very recently).

  • pablo
    03/12 11:30 AM

    ssd - sorry, but you can’t do anything you want at a private business that is open to the public. One requirement in our country is providing a safe environment for employees. The results are in. 2nd hand smoke clearly violates this standard. Look at the 14 other states (that contain a majority of our country’s population) that have passed similar legislation as well as the European countries. There are many countries left in the developing world where you can collect your money and move to after we pass this bill. Good night and good luck.

  • Betsy
    03/12 12:34 PM

    It’s actually 18 states that have 100% smokefree laws now, including such bastions of government over-reaching as Montana and Nebraska.

    32 states have smokefree workplace laws that include either restaurants OR bars, but not both.  (Virginia’s law passed two days ago, but has not yet gone into effect.)

    These are:
    Washington
    Idaho
    California
    Montana
    Nevada
    Oregon
    South Dakota
    North Dakota
    Nebraska
    Utah
    Colorado
    New Mexico
    Arizona
    Hawaii
    Minnesota
    Iowa
    Illinois
    Louisiana
    Ohio
    Pennsylvania
    Delaware
    Maryland
    New Jersey
    New York
    Massachusetts
    New Hampshire
    Vermont
    Maine
    Rhode Island
    Connecticut
    Florida
    Virginia

    (33 if you count Puerto Rico)

  • loser
    03/12 09:19 PM

    Great.  no difference in our argument.  Peer pressure.  Everyone is doing it.  Think for yourselves.  The government can not fix everything.  Unless you live in Venezuela.

    Vote with your dollars.  It IS that easy.

  • pbsx
    03/12 09:21 PM

    Pablo, If you want to live in europe or another country, go ahead.  There is plenty of room.

  • PaBLOW
    03/12 09:25 PM

    I agree.  All these countries that have made smoke-free bars is great.  But that is because they can not think for themselves.  Their governments have come in and made the decision for them.  That is not American.

  • Wine2
    03/12 09:28 PM

    Amen miamiblue - “Anyhow, I AM voting with my money, thereby “investing” in the local non-smoking, non-chain, downtown options that currently exist”

    I agree!  See you in Donwtown Raleigh!

  • Betsy
    03/12 11:51 PM

    “All these countries that have made smoke-free bars is great”

    ... and all your base are belong to us?

  • pablo
    03/13 10:45 AM

    LOL. Which State in Betsy’s list do you consider to be in Europe? BTW, have you ever been to Venezuela? The people are joy to be around.
    Folks, I have really enjoyed the debate and THANK YOU for participating. My goal was provide some hard hitting (even incendiary) language in order to draw more attention to the vote which will be coming up soon in the General Assembly. We have around 4 times more comments on this thread than any other at newraleigh.com. Since polls show that 75% of NC supports the bill and my local NC senator (Josh Stein) believes there is a 50/50 chance of passing the bill this year, the more people who hear, discuss, and write about it, there will be a better chance of passage. If we don’t get it this year, we’ll get it next. Thanks again for increasing the discussion and especially those who are against the bill, we couldn’t have gotten the high # of comments with out you.

  • Michael
    03/13 10:57 AM

    “...having a smoking section in a public building makes about as much sense as having a urinating section in a swimming pool.”

    http://blog.news-record.com/staff/capblog/archives/2009/01/smoking_ban_200.shtml

  • mgd
    03/13 11:20 AM

    They have been 3 restaurants/bars to open in a month downtown that I know of.  All three are non-smoking.  I think that is speaking with your money.  It is proof that a majority of people would like non-smoking bars.


    As a side note of all the people that I know that smoke NONE of them smoke in their house!  They all go outside to smoke.  Which baffles me b/c why would someone not want to some in their own house but raise a stink about being able to smoke in someone elses establishment.

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