Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« Re: The Justin Berry Story: We... | Santa=Satan »

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Smoke-free Nightlife, Cali-style

Posted by on December 21 at 14:45 PM

In an attempt to ascertain what may be on Seattle’s nightlife horizon and to follow up on this piece, I’ve asked some people in California and New York about their clubbing experiences and observations in their respective cities re: the indoor-smoking bans. For example, what are people’s attitudes about it? Is the law flouted much? Do they know any smokers who quit as a result? Do they notice a decline or increase in attendance at shows/parties? Two people have responded so far. Their responses are below. More to come later, I hope.

Tomas Palermo (SF editor/writer/DJ)

What are people's attitudes about it?

"Anecdotally, I would say that there is broad support for the ban in bars in San Francisco, but a caveat to that would be that the ban is supported stronger by older clubbers, and less by younger ones. I would say the majority of club and bar attendees over 28 and older strongly support the ban, while those younger than 28 are a little less in favor of it.”

Is the law flouted much?

"Not much, but everyone knows the 2-3 spots that still tacitly allow smoking. As a DJ, I do find it more difficult to play out at the smoking-tolerant bars. Many, many clubs and bars have adapted and created canopied outdoor areas for smokers, or use their back doors to do ins and outs for smokers.”

Do you know smokers who quit as a result?

"Not many. I would say that instead, as the primary first generation of young club and concertgoers is aging (moving from 20s to 30s), they're becoming more health conscious in general, including not smoking. But I've only heard one or two people say that the ban was a catalyst to quitting. Seems to play a very minor role.”

Do you notice a decline or increase in attendance at shows/parties?


"In conclusion, I would ad that California has some of the highest cigarette taxes in the nation, and most aggressive anti-smoking ad campaigns, leading to a decline in teen and young adult smoking. Smoking is becoming less an accessory of being a `cool' DJ or rock band musician. California is also in a bubble of health trendinessthink yogurt, sprouts, wine, organic farming, California's central valley fruit and vegetable growers, Jane Fonda, etc. There's always been higher health consciousness in CA as compared to say, Oklahoma, which means the social stigma to be a non-smoker is a lot less than in Chicago, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, etc."

Ken Taylor (SF editor/writer)

"As a non-smoker coming from Windsor/Detroit, where everyone smokes everywhere, I found the ban out here to be quite delightful. And since I never knew it any other way out here, I have no real gauge on how it's affected things, nightlife-wise. Do I think it's been detrimental to nightlife? Maybe a bit, but it's not like you even have to put a coat on to step outside in San Francisco... unlike New York, say. But I'm a bad judge as I've only been here for 2 years, and I think tons of other things have probably had more harmful effects on clubs... economy has sucked... tons of people left SF for cheaper pastures... prices drove out creative people, and a lot of good clubs went with them, so I'm told. I don't know anyone who's quit, mostly cuz of my short tenure here.

"All that said, I do have one problem with the smoking ban, and that is that now everyone just clogs up the sidewalks to smoke, so I have to inhale it when I walk to the grocery store or exercise... ; )

"However, there are a few clubs that still turn a blind eye to cigarettes, provided they're kept near the bar or out of plain sight.”

CommentsRSS icon

i just moved here from california about a year ago, and my experience was the smoking law was completely ignored all the time. not everywhere, but in a lot of dive bars, hipster bars, and san bernadino county. even the non-smoking bars (which were still in the majority) almost always had an outdoor section where you could smoke. this being california, you often wanted to sit outside anyway. that being said, i am in favor of the smoking ban for here, just wish there wasn't a 25 foot rule (enforced or no).

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).