So lately there’s been a bit of a hubbub about smoking in public places here in Connecticut and New York. I know NY has had different levels of non-smoking in restaurants both in and out of the City, but I think they are smoke free for all restaurants. Right now, CT has banned smoking in all restaurants; smoking in bars is allowed until April 1, 2004, when those too go smoke-free. Do I smoke? No. Do I care? You’d better believe it.
I’ve never smoked and for the most part I don’t mind it, provided it’s not in my car or house. Yeah, I know that that will limit any number of places that I would find it, but I know a number of smokers that don’t smoke in their car or their house so, I think that’s a pretty fair restriction to live with. Even smokers admit that smoking can stink up any enclosed space, so this is a known fact. Aside from that, I don’t mind it much in restaurants and I’ve grown to expect it in bars – I’m not thrilled with it, but I expect it there, so I’ve learned to live with it.
And now there’s no smoking in eat’m up joints and soon to be none in bars, here in CT… I’m thrilled with that, actually. For restaurants, it usually means more seating – ya don’t have to wait for “non-smoking” or have that first available crap. For the bars, it will mean that I don’t have to come home and shower a 1/4 inch layer of smoking film of my body at night – that’s a nice to have, but not a requirement. I guess I’m more for these laws than against them, now that I think about it out… if smoking was an “alone” activity (i.e. something that didn’t bother anyone else) then I would have more of a balanced view, but it’s not. I choose not to smoke, so why should I have to swim in someone else’s second hand smoke, be it healthy or not?
The real issue here is that bar and restaurant owners are trying to fight back and petition their respective governments, but it’s shaping up to be pointless. Why is this under my skin so much? Because they’re fuckin’ morons. It’s just one more example of how people need to “get the right argument for their cause” bit. The owners keep saying that these laws are going to hurt business, and that’s what truly irks the shit out of me, because I don’t see how this will hurt business – it just doesn’t make sense.
Will it stop people from going to restaurants? Um, no. People have to eat – people will still go out to eat – people will go to restaurants in spite of the smoking laws. In NY, this might have been a case, where they once had different laws for smaller places versus the larger ones, but in CT it’s a universal law: all restaurants have to prohibit smoking, so it neither promotes nor hinders competition.
Will it stop people from going to bars? Hah. People go to bars to meet other people, dance, and drink. Smoking is obviously included, but it’s not the sole reason for the bar – it’s an additional activity that acts as a back drop to the rest of the stuff. I’ve never heard someone say “I’m drying for a cigarette – lets go to a bar!” People can’t get liquor in CT after 8PM so yes, if they’re dying for a drink they have to go to a bar – ciggies are sold 24/7. It just doesn’t matter.
So yes, these owners are about to get royally screwed because they’re arguing the wrong points to make their case… I don’t know what it will take for people to get a clue and learn to argue their cases better; it’s just plain nuts. Almost as much as the people that are living in NYC and complaining about getting tickets for doing things that they got away with, even thought they’ve always been against the law – they’re pissed because cops are simply enforcing the little laws (to raise money) instead of ignoring the silly shit. Almost as nuts.
Suits me fine, actually, this smoking thing… one less thing to deal with at the local bar. [Sorry Charles! (He’s a born-again smoker that has label’d this law a communist effort because it’s a pain in his ass) I won’t miss it!]