Smoking Bans: Bars and Restaurants

OK , so the Boston Massachusetts smoking ban went into effect today - no more smoking ANYWHERE indoors in any bars or restaurants.

My specific questions are addressed to SDers in other cities with simliar bans:

Would it be ethical for bars and restaurants in neighboring cities who don’t have smoking bans to EXPLOIT their competitive position by advertising their allowance of smoking?

Do any restaurants in the USA use this feature in their advertising?

Are there any cities/towns who have felt they could stimulate local commerce by NOT adopting smoking bans?

I don’t want to argue the health issues: merely the commercial/economical realities of the struggling food/beverage industry, and the rights and alternatives of the good old American free enterprise system !

Factual portion: My town of New York City began a smoking ban on April 1 of this year. The first month, though, was a grace period - the law was on the books, but not enforced until May 1.

The bar I go to, Tracy J’s, was one of a few that took advantage of the grace period and made a killing. The place was packed for a month, and they didn’t need to advertise that smoking was still allowed: there wasn’t anybody standing outside smoking even on nice days, a sure sign that it was allowed indoors.

As for the ethics (more on the GD side ofthe fence): what’s unethical about it? Do you mean to suggest that (or ask if) the absence of a smoking ban is unethical, and thus it is by proxy unethical to take advantage of it? Or are you asking if it’s more kind of a suck of a deal for the guys with liquor liscences in the wrong town?

If the town next to you went dry, would you have any qualms about opening a bar right at the border? If so, why?

I don’t see what the point is of driving into the next city just to have an indoor place to smoke. I think people would prefer to go to their familiar old dives and just step outside for a two minute fix.

Las Cruces, NM banned smoking in restaurants, but not bars,
truck stops, or bowling alleys. The given reason was to limit
second hand smoke to children and children aren’t usually found
in bars, truck stops, or bowling alleys (ok, children do bowl, but
the bowling lobby was strong at the time, I suppose). A few of
the restaurants defied the ban for a while and some called themselves bars, but everything settled down after a while.

A ban on smoking in bars was put on the ballot this year and lost.

The truck stops did report an increase in business. I don’t recall
any advertising for it though. I don’t see anything unethical about
advertising the fact that smoking is allowed, they are not supporting an illegal activity. I’d rather know so I can avoid
places that allow smoking.

Remember Freedom Air? It was an airline where all seats were
smoking, created after the ban on smoking in airplanes. It didn’t
last long, if I remember correctly…

I don’t see the ethics problem unless you are concerned with enabling people to smoke. But them how many smokers really quit because their favorite bar no longer allows it?

CA has banned smoking in bars and restaurants for several years now. At first there were quite a few places that were known as “safe houses”, but they’re getting harder to find. Anyway, no one I know even thinks about it anymore. In some instances it works as a great dodge to get someone to “go outside” with you.

Smoking bans are a fad , that will probably last only a couple of years.

That being said , depending on the municipality that bans smoking may think otherwise , but there is nothing un ethical about serving a market thats there to be exploited.

Bars are neutral and will placate the paying customer , so if all smoke , then its a smoking bar , if not , its non smoking. How a place makes money should not be dictated to by the state.



You haven’t been to CA lately. The smoking bad will NOT be overturend in our lifetimes.

I agree with you on the “not being dictated by the state” thing. I’m just a realist about politics.

Thanks to all the people who say it’s not too bad to go outside for a smoke - but I’d rather stay home than go out on the town in BOSTON in JANUARY !!!

OK - so do you think I can make money by opening :

“BradWalts Bar and Grille - Great Food - Unlimited Smoking wherever, whenever you want - Interstate 3 in Podunk Massachusetts” ???

I’ll be damned if I go cuz your scenic little hamlet, with no signs to mark its’ borders that was settled in the 1680s on the back roads between Worcester and Springfield can’t even be found on a map!

Give the more politically powerful tavern owners & restauranteurs in Boston some time…even though they weren’t powerful enough to stop the ban…they’ll scream “unfair” loud enough to have the measure passed statewide, as is what happened here in NY.

I dont live in CA , nor am I likely too in the next several years , however one thing you may want to keep in mind is that people were probably saying the same thing about prohibition.

This current fad is not new , its happened several times before in several countries in the past. What would over turn it now in California would be some sort of propositon , you would have to clarify that though.

Basically it comes down to numbers , In california I believe that your climate is not so harsh that going outside is that big a deal , how ever like the original poster down in boston ,and me up in ontario , going outside is grounds for not ever going back to the bar/restaurant.

If the current majority of Californians or any local wish to stay smoke free ,thats what will happen realistically. However other locations are not so secure in what happens come election cycles and lost business.


I’m not really seeing a General Question here. Off to IMHO.

Ooops, forgot that Podunk was actually the subject of an old thread :slight_smile:

Even if it became a statewide ban , could I attact consumers/ tourists to my little old state because smoking in restaurants (and I suppose we’ll throw in casino gambling) was LEGAL and ENCOURAGED! So we could someday have a state that saved its own financial butt by ADVERTISING the legality of smoking ?

Sure, why not?

I definately think bars that allow smoking should exploit it. I would go out of my way to go to a smoking bar if it was an option (probably not more than 25 miles out of my way, but definately that far)

I visited my friend in L.A. a couple of years ago for his 21st birthday. I remember what a miserable time it made the earlier part of the day. It was the middle of June and about 100 degrees outside. You would go in and the bars would have the AC cranked so it felt like it was about 50 degrees inside. So your getting chilly holding an ice cold beer, but if you want to smoke you have to leave it on the table and hope it doesn’t get bussed or slam it faster than you want to, b/c you can’t take it outside. Then you go back outside into the miserable heat so you can have a smoke. Once done, back inside to freezing again. If I’m out paying an average of $5.00 a drink plus $1.00 tip standard per drink, I damned sure would rather be able to sit inside and puff.

All bitching aside, though, I state again I would definately go out of my way to go to a bar that advertised smoking. We just missed a smoking ban here in Seattle a while back. It can really suck here to go outside to smoke, especially since it rains well over half of the year. Sometimes it’s IMPOSSIBLE to smoke outside when it’s raining hard, which is quite often. I think a lot of neighborhood bars would suffer greatly, as they rely more on the smoking type environment. Clubs probably wouldn’t do so badly, b/c they have distractions like dancing. I think the bar I work at would go under if we couldn’t smoke there anymore.

By the way, isn’t there some clause that if you declare yourself a private club that you can still allow smoking inside no matter what?