Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Sexy, Sexy Rag Doll | Native White Son »

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Smoking Bans

posted by on October 29 at 9:18 AM

From today’s NYT:

On Jan. 10, 2005, Italy enacted a law that banned smoking in public places like offices, restaurants, cafes and bars. Smokers declared—basta!—they would never comply. Restaurateurs were certain business would flag. And politicians worried that an essential pleasure of Italy would be lost.

Nearly two years later, this is what has transpired, according to studies following the fallout from the law: People in Italy smoke a lot less and are exposed to far less secondhand smoke

In fact, the law has become very popular, with support for smoking bans increasing yearly among nonsmokers and smokers alike. Business in bars is up. A study in Turin found that the number of people brought to hospital emergency rooms after suffering heart attacks decreased after the ban (secondhand smoke could be a trigger), a finding that echoes studies in the United States.

In Italy—where laws are often enforced with a large degree of latitude and where red lights are ignored if they are deemed inconvenient—there is nearly 100 percent compliance with the antismoking statutes.

And yet in Seattle the whining goes on and on. Italy has banned smoking in bars, as have Scotland, Ireland, and now France. Smoking in public places is on its way out all over the world.

RSS icon Comments



That habeous corpus stuff they can have. I'm not doing anything wrong, so why should I care?


Posted by Lynwood 4ever!!! | October 29, 2006 9:36 AM

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but that's exactly why you should care. Habeas Corpus is what forces them to release you if you're innocent.

Posted by Noink | October 29, 2006 10:25 AM

yeah, I mean you could also call it your precious right to shoot yourself... but you have to shoot yourself in a way that does not hurt other people ;)

Posted by Nighthawk | October 29, 2006 10:42 AM

A similar ban is in place in Norway, and I've never seen anyone violate it. There are, of course, plenty of people standing out on the sidewalk smoking, just like in Seattle. If Norwegians are willing to do take their smoking outside to follow the ban, even in sub-zero weather, anti-smoking ban Seattle-ites can quit their whining, suck it up, and deal.

For all those people whining about (or thinking about whining about) the "nanny state", blow it out your ass. If I need to suck up the smoke that you're spewing out of your yellowed, discoloured mouth, you're committing assault. Until I can use your water glass at a restaurant as a spittoon for chew, don't get all holier-than-thou.

Posted by bma | October 29, 2006 11:04 AM

I (heart) BMA.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 29, 2006 11:11 AM

Now every time I walk on a public sidewalk that goes past a bar, I have to walk through a smelly cloud of smoke. If smokers were inside bars, I could choose whether to breathe their smoke or not. In BMA's terms, I have no choice about whether to be assaulted.

Posted by pox | October 29, 2006 11:31 AM

I honestly don't think that the smoking ban is that unpopular in Seattle. In fact, I think that people love the smoking ban, but that's because I'm a non-smoker who really, really loves going to bars and not coming home reeking of smoke, and I'm standing around in bars with tons of other non-smokers, many of whom used to not go out because of the smoke. Of my friends who are smokers, only one complained in the beginning, and now I think she might actually like it, because it gives her an excuse to go outside and drag me along so we can gossip about the people we came with.

Posted by Gitai | October 29, 2006 11:32 AM

FRANCE? France banned it? Well it really is over.......

Posted by Dianna | October 29, 2006 11:41 AM

I can hardly wait until the whole world passes smoking bans because maybe then Dan will shut the fuck up about it. But probably not. Seriously, this isn't beating a dead horse, it's beating a damn bottle of Elmers.

Posted by skweetis | October 29, 2006 12:29 PM

Ummm. Dan...didn't your alleged newspaper lead the attack on our ban? Sure it was just over the standing at the door issue, but walking through a wall of smoke to enter a smoke free bar was just one level of hell up from the old way.

Posted by StrangerDanger | October 29, 2006 12:32 PM

Enduring a few seconds of second-hand cigarette smoke outside a club/bar is a fair trade off for not having to inhale others' toxins for several hours inside said club/bar.

Posted by oye como va | October 29, 2006 12:44 PM

We didn't approve of the 25 foot rule, but we approved of the concept of a smoking ban. I would hardly say we "lead the charge" against the ban here—our endorsement of a "no" vote on the ban has been read both ways, as a pro and con the ban. And we've gotten greif from all sides over it. If it was that ambiguous, Strangerdanger, I don't think you can call it a charge leading call.

And I am obsessed with this issue—I'm always asking waiters and bartenders what they think. Even the smokers dig it—they want to smoke when they want to smoke, not smoke every second they're at work.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 29, 2006 12:53 PM

Redhashing ad nauseum the non issue is one of the Stranger things about the Stranger ..... I know of no other person in the city who gives a fart at this point ..... have a large circle of friends that talk incessantly about EVERYTHING .... this is so old news

Only Dan and the Stranger still making hay on last years story .... so boring and not hip ..... I am a total non smoker who has never been bothered by smokers, esp. if they are well hung .... a good way to avoid their smelly mouths, eh.

Posted by Jack | October 29, 2006 1:43 PM

Sigh, I suppose the days are now passed when one could win the affections of an Italian boy through the gifting of Marlboro reds. One more of life's cheap enjoyments taken away. Thank god for Thailand.

Posted by kinaidos | October 29, 2006 2:47 PM

I am out in Boston and though they have the ban, every bar and restaurant has a cloud of smokers in front of it as well as places of work. I am in school and all building also have said mob of smokers outside as well. I just think that WA mad e a great move in putting them a little away from the door. On Fri and Sat nights, you can't walk up the street without coughing from all the smoke.

Posted by StrangerDanger | October 29, 2006 3:56 PM

I definitely encounter more 2nd hand smoke now than I did before, due to the smokers loitering in front of every doorway. Sure, it's usually only for a few seconds at a time but it's grosser to me than going to a bar where I know it'll be smoky. Very few places enforce the 25-foot rule anyway, so it was pretty stupid to put in the law.

Anyway, other than smokers creeping ever closer to the doorways as the weather gets colder, I haven't really seen or heard anyone complain about the law. Didn't the owners of the Mirabeau even end up saying that the ban didn't hit them all that hard, that they were selling for other reasons?

Posted by genevieve | October 29, 2006 6:23 PM

I'm curious as to how it's affected Seattle. It's really neat that Italy took to it with aplomb and all, but the article largely explored Italy in a vacuum (and many of the claims weren't backed up with more than vague anecdotal evidence). How is Seattle handling it? What is the effect on the economy and the clientele? I'd like to see someone of an unbiased vain explore it not just in clubs and restaurants, but also look up the relevant statistics.

Posted by Gomez | October 29, 2006 7:47 PM

"I definitely encounter more 2nd hand smoke now than I did before, due to the smokers loitering in front of every doorway."

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You are delusional if you believe that. It sounds like more sour grapes from smokers.

Dan Savage lets us know about all the smoking bands taking place around the country and world because it works and it's the right thing to do. What I would like to see on this blog or on the Stranger's forum is one person who was opposed to the ban say, "You know, this ban wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was wrong." Fat chance.

Posted by BS | October 29, 2006 9:37 PM

It's probably not as much secondhand smoke, but when you pass from clean air to smoke-ridden air every 10 feet, you notice the difference more, whereas if you go into a bar filled with smoke, after 2 minutes you're accustomed to the smell. Until you leave, and suddenly wonder why your hair smells like a 50 year old chainsmoker.

Posted by Megan | October 29, 2006 9:49 PM

I've been in more bars in the last month than I'd been in during the two years prior to the ban. I'm sure I'm not the only person who largely used to avoid bars because of the smoke, and now frequents them more regularly. I'm sure there will be isolated bars that are negatively impacted, but I suspect in the long run, this will boost bar business on average.

For those whining about infringing on your right to smoke, get real. Nobody is telling you that you can't smoke. We're just telling you that you can't inflict employees and other patrons with known carcinogens. My right to carcinogen-free air trumps your right to smoke in a public space.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 29, 2006 9:58 PM

Not to derail the thread, but one of the changes the Mirabeau made after the ban that I felt hurt them was to close off their colorful mainroom to everything but shows, and then shunting their customers all into the dark, drab room that used to hold the smokers. It was a rather crap environment and not a lot of fun to be in. If they suffered any loss of business, that probably had something to do with it.

Meanwhile, re: BS's comment... don't be obstinate. I'll certainly attest, as someone who was against 901, that crowds have remained in the places I've been to, and definitely the air's cleaner for the most part. That said, I'd still want to see an overview of how business has impacted from ban.

Posted by Gomez | October 29, 2006 10:08 PM

Strangerdanger said..."I am out in Boston and though they have the ban, every bar and restaurant has a cloud of smokers in front of it as well as places of work. I am in school and all building also have said mob of smokers outside as well."

How do you have time to go to school when you are busy checking EVERY bar and retaurant to see if there is a cloud of smoke?

Posted by PDXRitchie | October 30, 2006 1:32 AM

"Meanwhile, re: BS's comment... don't be obstinate."

Obstinate? Look who's talking. You're the one that was on the Stranger's forum for over a year disagreeing with every pro smoking ban point and citing convoluted statistics that represent your shortsighted argument. Keep on waiting for the overview the fits your case. In the mean time, we'll keep on looking for Nicole Brown Simpon's and Ronald Goldman's killer.

Posted by Double BS | October 30, 2006 7:52 AM

Are you accusing me of every single remark by every single person who was against the ban, troll?

Posted by Gomez | October 30, 2006 9:54 AM

Is there anything that can be done about being stuck behind someone puffing away on the streets? I try to dodge and change my position on the sidewalk. I really do. But it doesn't always work. There's something really sinister here. It's as if someone is saying, "I might get cancer. It's a risk I'm willing to take, but I certainly don't care if I give it to you."

It's like casting asbestos fibers downwind.

Posted by Bauhaus | October 30, 2006 3:20 PM

Is there anything that can be done about being stuck behind someone puffing away on the streets?

i break into a run and raise my middle finger as I pass the smoker.

Posted by 11x11 | October 30, 2006 6:05 PM

It's my firm belief that the number of Seattleites still whining about the ban is far outnumbered by those who love it and wonder how we ever got along without it.

Posted by eugene | October 30, 2006 11:20 PM

Oh God -- smokers are already seeing the NWPA non-smokers complaining about being 'downwind' and breaking into runs on the sidewalk to avoid smoke, and doing the NW pretend you're talking to yourself, but you're really saying some stupid shit under your breath when you 'have to' walk by a smoker. Wah.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 31, 2006 8:24 AM


Posted by Warsaw apartments | November 15, 2006 8:04 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).