Smoky Bars Are NOT That Gross; You’re Just Really Whiny. | New Raleigh
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April 02, 2009

Smoky Bars Are NOT That Gross; You’re Just Really Whiny.

I’m in Atlanta right now, and last night I came home to my friend’s apartment from da club absolutely saturated with cigarette smoke. It was in my hair, still is in my clothes, my purse, everything. And you know what? It’s really not that big of a deal.

Getting smoke all over you at a dive bar or a show venue is just part of the experience, and smelling it in your hair the day after, while you walk weary-eyed into the workplace, is no worse than not being able to wash that entrance stamp off the back of your hand. Everybody in your office knows you went out last night, who cares if they can smell it as well as see it?

I’m not a smoker, and I understand that sometimes you just want to go to a bar that smells and feels clean. But the sense of entitlement dripping from some recent comments on this site (ahem) reek far more than my hair did this morning. Next you people will be complaining about how you can’t do a little gardening without getting your hands dirty.

Admit it. The main reason you have the attitude of smoking as “disgusting” is because you’re a product of years of anti-smoking marketing campaigns that now saturate the media outlets. Just like so many decades ago, when smoking was cool because all the moviestars did it.

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Filed Under: Foundation, Smoking, whiny britches

  • Michael 04/02 05:28 PM

    I think it’s the deadly chemicals in your lungs part, not the stinky smoke in your hair part, that most reasonable people are concerned about.

  • kg 04/02 05:50 PM

    i think you’re right… smoking’s not *that* bad.  heck, why don’t we bring it back into the work place?

    (fumbling around, mumbling) where’s my ddt… need to kill some bugs

    first, ms. lonely-heart yesterday and now this?  wtf is going on with nr lately?

  • miamiblue 04/02 06:05 PM

    Sense of entitlement? Smoking is the exception, not the rule… If anyone can show that a majority of the population smokes, then maybe you have a point. Otherwise, I think you have things reversed.

    Everyone, even many smokers, hates the smell. But I would think most people hate emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, etc. much more. I know I do. And no one in my entire life ever told me not to smoke - I figured things out for myself at the age of 10, watching my grandmother suffer and eventually die from emphysema and lung cancer after a life of enjoying the pleasures of cigarettes. Fun stuff!

  • The Jenius 04/02 06:49 PM

    This editorial is ridiculous, bordering dumb.  As others have stated, the smell of your hair and purse are the least of anyone’s concerns.

  • Dan 04/02 07:18 PM

    Wow. It’s not even clever enough to be satirical. I guess it’s just trolling. Any more of this and the feed will be deleted from my feed reader. I used to like this feed, too.

  • DPK 04/02 07:18 PM

    Yes, because smoke in your hair is the same as cancer in your lungs.

  • smitty 04/02 07:42 PM

    Most smokers don’t even smoke in their own homes, because it smells bad.  Get over it.

  • Drew 04/02 07:50 PM

    It’s not just a smell.  It’s toxic.  There is no (longer) any debate about this fact.

    My aversion to smoking has NOTHING to do with my being “a product of years of anti-smoking marketing campaigns.” 

    I’ve had cancer.  Twice.

  • rachael 04/02 08:39 PM

    yeah, speaking of ignorant…

  • Tim 04/02 09:27 PM

    The new smoking ban is watered down. It won’t change much of anything. You won’t be able smoke at Crapplebees anymore but you’ll still be huffing secondhand at the Snoop Dogg show (and I don’t mean the sticky-icky-icky).

  • allison 04/02 09:44 PM

    I am just going to hope this is a posthumous April Fool’s post. If not, I respect your opinion (although disagree), but this type of post (whining) isn’t why I read your blog and thus will stop.

  • Brandon 04/02 09:51 PM

    If being gross was the only concern, it really wouldn’t be worth considering in the legislature, would it?

  • dt 04/02 11:18 PM

    amen brother

  • BA 04/03 12:19 AM

    At least the title of this article is appropriate….
    My respect for NR is going down daily…..hmm.

  • Raleigh Indian 04/03 12:19 AM

    Smokers can just go out for a smoke and everyone would be happy. It doesn’t take that long.

  • BA 04/03 12:20 AM

    Just to be clear - by title I meant the “Partial, Prejudiced, and Ignorant” part! I guess that’s technically the column title, but whatever.

  • Lisa Jeffries 04/03 01:46 AM

    Nope, whiny is right. Sheez, if you don’t like it, go somewhere non-smoking. Leave it up to the business (or their customers - ie: Tobacco Road blog vote) to decide.

  • RaleighRob 04/03 09:08 AM

    Good grief.  Natural gas (in it’s natural form) has no stink, but you wouldn’t want to inhale it.  It’s about the fact it’s poisoning, more than anything else.
    The smell is just the icing on the toxic cake. 

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on NewRaleigh.

  • Jenna 04/03 10:13 AM

    Huzzah, Acree! My sentiments exactly!

    To everyone out there, complaining about the infinitessimally small risk of getting cancer from second-hand smoke at bars: no one is forcing you to go there! There is no gun to your head, pushing you violently into smoke-filled rooms. Every time you go into a bar, restaurant, concert, or pool hall, you have made a decision.

    Your argument boils down to this: “everywhere I go, the owners should accommodate my preferences, because I am more important than they are. The government must force the owners to do what I want them to do.”

    How arrogant! How self-important! Newsflash: you are NOT the bright, shining center of the universe. There is no good reason that you (or anyone else) should be able to tell someone else what to do on his/her own property.

    So, YOUR home, YOUR business can be smoke free. You can attract non-smokers to your business. They can CHOOSE to patronize your establishment because it is so sweet-smelling. Other property owners can CHOOSE to allow smoking in their establishments. Different patrons can CHOOSE to do business with them.

    This is how freedom works. It is sometimes messy. People have to make choices. But I’ll take it any day over government intervention in private business.

  • Todd 04/03 10:24 AM

    The government intervenes in businesses all the time.  That’s why we have health inspectors in restaurants, fire marshals for capacity, liquor licenses, etc.  Otherwise, we would have to worry about just what’s going into our food and dying in easily preventable fires, among other things.

    It’s a serious double standard, though, because the same inspectors that could shut down a business for asbestos contamination can’t shut down a business for being filled with toxic smoke.  Both cause lung cancer, but one gets special treatment over the other.

  • Dan 04/03 10:54 AM

    I don’t really care about the smoke. I just don’t want people stupid enough to smoke in my general vicinity. I don’t want to be there when their genetic lack of mental acuity causes some other disaster. I mean, talk about being handicapped. I understand you can’t control the fact that your poor genetics have crippled your ability to make sound decisions. But I think the rest of us should be able enjoy a night out without having to be confronted with the shortcomings of the human race. No one forces me to look at pictures of deformed babies while I enjoy a nice beverage or a good set. Why should I have to be confronted with people who have an equally horrible genetic deformity?

  • Jenna 04/03 11:04 AM

    Yes, Todd, you’re right. Two wrongs DO make a right! I had forgotten. How silly of me!

    Obviously, I was wrong about Dan too - he IS, in fact, the bright, shining center of the universe. All hail, Dan! Dan, maybe we should send the stupid off to re-education camps? Or simply imprison them? That might inconvenience you less than just allowing them to wander free.

  • RaleighRob 04/03 11:09 AM

    Oh Jenna you are so right.  Freedom is always best.  The government should never tell a private business what to do…you’re so right.  I now see it your way!
    That chef shouldn’t have to wash his hands after he wipes his ass, or forced to use clean utensils. Government has no right to regulate his private business. So what if someone gets salmonella or hepatitis…it’s freedom!
    That construction company shouldn’t be made to provide hardhats to their employees…government has no right to tell them to do that.  So what if their workers die of injuries on the job…it’s freedom!
    The grocery story shouldn’t be told by the government to recall contaminated food.  It’s their business…they should do what they want….it’s freedom!
    Your doctor shouldn’t be made by the government to use a clean needle to take your blood sample.  It’s his business…let him reuse them all he wants…it’s freedom!
    Wow Jenna I’ve seen the light…thank you so much.  Freedom totally rocks!

  • Drew 04/03 11:11 AM

    Jenna, so your neighbor should be allowed to dump nuclear waste in their yard?  You wouldn’t care?  You’d be whining if you complained because it is their yard?

    Should we allow businesses to decide who they serve/employ based on ethnicity, gender, religious preference?  Businesses will always do the right thing?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have laws against this and some businesses STILL violate these principals.

    I’ll take living in a society that does the right thing for ALL over trivial personal freedoms any day.  Fortunately, for you as well, the vast majority of people in this society have the same view as I do.

  • anna 04/03 11:17 AM

    give it a rest people.  if you don’t like the way an establishment is run (whether it regard quality of food served, genre of music played, patrons to which catered, or number of cigarettes allowed smoked), DO NOT FREAKING GO.  the concept seems very simple.

  • rachel 04/03 11:26 AM

    smoking doesn’t just affect patrons, it affects the people who work in smoking establishments.  call it a job hazard if you will, but if you want to be a bartender, a smoke-filled workplace is all but inevitable.  blablabla people can choose where they want to work, whatever.

    also, my dear, a casual smoker is still a smoker.

  • Dan 04/03 11:27 AM


    Sending smokers to reeducation camps wont help. You can’t teach someone to get rid of bad genetics. Quite frankly, I hate it when smokers quit. It makes it harder to spot and steer clear of them.

    I also think prison is a bit harsh and possibly unconstitutional. If we could just discourage them from leaving the trailer park, that would be a start. Hence the ban.

  • palesunflower 04/03 11:38 AM

    Smelling like you bathed in an ashtray through the next day is now coined “part of the experience?”

    Please. I hope this is less your actual opinion, and more a ploy to get traffic onto your website.

  • palesunflower 04/03 11:43 AM

    Anna - that argument hardly holds water, and frankly I’m getting sick of hearing it. Where do you suggest a family looking to bowl should go, if they want to avoid your secondhand smoke? What about going to listen to your favorite band? People, this ban is not telling smokers they need to become social outcasts and never go out in public, just that they need to step outside to smoke. If anything, I’m sick of hearing THEM bitch about their rights being infringed upon.

    Shut up, and go outside!

  • Jenna 04/03 12:12 PM

    @RaleighRob and @Drew - the Court system/ Tort law addresses your concerns. Individuals sue for actual harm. (So people can sue for having contracted Salmonella, lung cancer, etc; but not for “smelling like smoke” or “having to look for another bar.”)

    This system worked for YEARS - it’s called common law. It was only in the latter part of the 20th century that our lives became a maze of regulations and restrictions - and we’ve very little to show for it.

  • RaleighRob 04/03 12:43 PM

    Sorry Jenna, close but not quite.  Breaking most of those examples that I gave isn’t just civil lawsuit-type stuff.  They are indeed offenses that would cause the government to shut down various private businesses, or at least fine them heavily. 
    Whether government has been regulating public health for 2 years or 2 centuries isn’t the issue.  They do it, and the argument I’m making is that burning cancer sticks and puffing toxic fumes in the air is indeed also a public health concern.  (Whether those toxic fumes “smell” or not is not the issue.  Just see what you’d think if the owner of the business you work at decided he wanted to spray radon and carbon monoxide all over the place just because he felt that it’s his business and he can do what he wants.)

  • miamiblue 04/03 12:47 PM

    Jenna, the problem with your tort law example is that it is reactionary. Harm has to already be done. Not to mention our society is litigious enough as it is, the courts don’t need to be bogged down any more than they already are.

    People aren’t asking for smoking or tobacco itself to be outlawed in this particular debate. I personally don’t care if someone wants to engage in an addictive activity that is a proven health hazard, as long as that activity has absolutely no effect on me. Unfortunately, second-hand smoke does effect everyone around the smoker, not just the person who willingly chooses to engage in smoking.

  • BA 04/03 12:48 PM

    This is hands down the stupidest goddamn thing I’ve read on this website. Now everyone can argue incessantly about who is right and who is wrong. I look forward to moving to a city that isn’t so damn stupid about their health. Wake the f up people.

  • anna 04/03 12:53 PM

    palesunflower- a family looking to bowl can go anywhere and avoid MY secondhand smoke. i do not produce any. i am not a smoker. i assume, however, your crowd (being of higher intellect and obviously more deserving) will succeed in banishing every last one of THEM to the sidewalk soon enough. come on. we are talking about a bar here, not a playground.

  • kristen 04/03 02:24 PM

    Verbatim from

    Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. Approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

    There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Studies have shown that even low levels of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful. The only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure is to completely eliminate smoking in indoor spaces. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.

    So, you can call us whiny for complaining about the smell…but do not try to call someone concerned for their own health IGNORANT. apparently thinks the threat is real and…well I think they would know better than you do!

  • Andrea O'Donnell 04/03 03:07 PM

    AMEN!! You are my new hero for writing this! Leave it up to a free market society! If Joe Schmo wants to make money off the demand for a nonsmoking anything than great!

    Don’t want to be around smoke??? Go to a NONsmoking bar/resturaunt. DON’T tell other people they don’t have the option of allowing smokinf in their establishment!!!!!!! FREEDOM

  • palesunflower 04/03 03:11 PM

    Anna - perhaps I was referring to smokers as a universal “you” instead of you specifically. More the point, bowling allies are smokey and there isn’t an option of a smoke-free bowling alley.


  • Alex Pollack 04/07 05:01 PM

    I agree with Acree, and if you don’t agree with her, you are supremely misguided!

    I’m no smoker, but I can’t stand the holier-than-thou self-righteousness of some non-smokers who want to impose their beliefs on every institution.  As for second-hand smoking, some scientists aren’t as up in arms about it as some activists.

  • maladetta 04/10 03:19 PM

    “...smelling it in your hair the day after, while you walk weary-eyed into the workplace ...”

    Good lord, woman, take a shower.

  • pablo 04/10 04:33 PM

    “Admit it. The main reason you have the attitude of smoking as “disgusting” is because you’re a product of years of anti-smoking marketing campaigns that now saturate the media outlets.”

    Yes it’s true. Why would I be reluctant to admit I make decisions based on good information? You puzzle me.

  • WiseOne 04/10 06:35 PM

    I’m don’t really give a puff about the smoking debate, but I’d like to say the reason for government regulation (e.g. inspections) isn’t about consumer protection it’s about insurance and how much it cost the certain body of government involved. That’s why there is the NCDOI. So when the analogies are tied to how regulation helps the public, I think we all miss an important point that public health is very different than personal health. Exercise your personal health and be as healthy or non-healthy as you want…you are the only one in control of it. (btw that’s the plural ‘you’)

  • arthurb3 04/16 10:45 AM

    Smoking is as gross as drinking. Many times I have tried to enjoy a movie at the Rialto or other theatres that serve alcohol and all I can focus on is the smell of the alcohol comming from the person sitting next to me!

    Downtown Raleigh, NC

  • John 07/27 09:58 AM

    As with all things social, this is more about where we draw the line.  In the past, it used to be okay to smoke in grocery stores and hospital rooms.  In the past, it used to be okay to smoke in airplanes and in your cube at work.  In the past, it was okay to smoke in movie theaters and the mall.
    NC’s latest action to curtail smoking in bars and restaurants is just another response to a constantly moving line. 
    While there is social pushing from both sides of this issue (as there is for all social issues), its direction is usually set prior to any political action.  Once the movement toward one side of the other is established, politicians usually move in the same direction.  Not only does it prove to be perceived as the right thing to do but it also proves to be the politically savvy thing to do for their careers.

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  • Michelle 02/07 10:20 AM

    I respect your opinion but I have to disagree.  I am a non-smoker and I do everything I can to avoid cigarette smoke. To a non-smoker like me who is not around it ALL the time and does Nnot WANT to be around it, the smell of cigarette smoke IS “that gross”.

    I have friends that smoke and they just don’t understand what the big deal is about it. The city of Austin does not allow smoking in public places. Rather than go to a non-smoking bar they invite me to smoking bar in a neighboring city so THEY don’t have to go outsite to smoke (I don’t go). They light up cigarettes when I’m in the car with them without asking if it’s alright with me, They leave cigarettes butts all over my patio (I don’t allow smoking in my house) after they’re done smoking despite the fact that I provide an ashtray for them. I share a cubicle with someone that smokes. When my cubemate returns from a smoke break she wreaks of cigarette smoke. It gives me a headache and makes me nauseated. Not the easiest way to get my work done.

    When I speak up for myself I’m constantly told “It’s my right to smoke”. All smokers do have the right to smoke. But that right does not excuse smokers from being respectful to non-smokers and cleaning up after themselves. 

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Raleigh's Acree Graham is

partial to... trends, spelling and grammar, electronic music, postmodernism, irony, Mexican food. Predjudiced against... stucco, pleated pants, UGGs, the CSI franchise, meat, Windows. Ignorant about... art, architecture, city planning, the Arab-Israeli conflict, where marshmallows come from, science.