Ah, To Dine In Peace

So one of my favorite walking-distance restaurants is No Place Like Home – the food is good-not-great, but it’s cheaper than The Alcove (which I won’t link to because of its horrid auto-play music), and with its courtyard fountain filled with plastic toy dinosaurs, it’s got a great ambiance. The only problem? Smokers.

Now, I know, all the smokers out there are going to hate me for this.”If you don’t like it, don’t go there! It’s that simple!” they’ll shout, probably in all caps. “Reason magazine agrees with me! So do Penn and Teller!” But there’s nothing worse that eating club sandwich through a haze of nicotine smoke. And if all the restaurants in LA wanted to go ahead and ban smoking from their outdoor patios, that would be just fine with me.

And it looks like the city council agrees with me. As of next year, smoking will no longer be allowed in places like No Place Like Home’s courtyard, Fred 62’s sidewalk tables, or the House of Pies’s patio. And in a coup for non-smokers, another safe zone: A 40-foot radius around any food truck.

I have a feeling that last one will see about as much enforcement as the no-cell-phones-while driving rule does, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. And it’ll be a hell of a lot nicer to walk through Los Feliz village without having to pass through cloying wisps of Camel-stank. Thank you, city council.

16 Replies to “Ah, To Dine In Peace”

  1. Even Penn & Teller (and I believe Reason magazine as well) have conceded that second-hand smoke is harmful.

    They still believe that it should be up to individual businesses to decide whether or not to allow it, though.

  2. I’m a 17-year, pack-a-day smoker now in my 13th cigarette-free year (I still enjoy the occasional cigar now and again), and yeah having fallen off the wagon after long periods as a quitter I consider tobacco a once/always addiction. Coming from both sides of the smoke, I’m torn. On one hand I hate it when nanny-fied politicians feel compelled to create pretty much unenforceable legislation of common-sense. But on the other I’ve become increasingly disgusted with how smokers feel treat our world as if it’s their trashcan (and yes, I was one of them). So for me, it’s not just about forcing them to respect the air we share, but our environment, too. And anything that means less butts getting so irresponsibly pitched is a good thing.

  3. This bums me out. I haven’t smoked in 5 or 6 years, not even a cigar, but many of my friends do. There’s really no where left for them to smoke now, except at their homes, I guess.

    And if you’ve ever been a smoker, that just isn’t enough. There will now be clumps of smokers at every venue gathered as close as they can to the restaurant’s entrances.

    Once you’re addicted to smoking, it’s not like you can just choose not to. Quitting is an arduous process. Seems like people won’t be satisfied until it’s completely banned everywhere. Great, one more thing that’s illegal for there to be a “War” on.

    Sorry, eat your club sandwich inside. The smokers eat theirs outside when the weather’s crappy. This law is bullshit.

  4. I understand that quitting is a hard process, but smokers chose to pick up the habit.

    I’m happy about this law. I don’t think smokers can really tell how pervasive their cigarettes are, from the smoke wafting everywhere, the can’t-miss smell and the aftermath of butts everywhere, even when you’re outside sharing the space.

    Also, Kevin, this post makes you sound like you never eat outside of a 2 block radius. :)

  5. “Smokers choose to pick up the habit.”

    Ah, if only it were so cut and dry. Spoken like someone who has never smoked.

    I smoked for 20 years, pack and a half to two packs a day. I started at 14. I “choose” to smoke as much as I choose to not be ostracized by the almost impossible peer group I was surrounded in, in a income bracket/inner city setting, where, at the time, you kinda had to resort to all kinds of unsavory behavior just to get by.

    I worked really hard to escape that. Many never do, many keep trying anyway.

    I also “choose” to quit smoking crack before I choose to quit smoking cigarettes. No, I’m not joking.

    Is this a common story? No. There are probably as many “reasons” people start smoking as there are smokers or former smokers.

    But I bet very few of them are “just to piss you off.”

    I’m ecstatic for you that you never made a bad decision, especially one that saddles you with a lifelong addiction.

    Now, do I think smokers should be allowed to smoke anywhere? No. But an open patio is a completely reasonable compromise. Many restaurants can and do provide non-smoking patios. Unfortunately, there seems to be no desire for compromise, you seem to want all public smoking banned.

    That’s bullshit.

  6. Once you’re addicted to smoking, it’s not like you can just choose not to.

    Say what?

    Is there some other way to quit? I wish I’d known that :-)

    Seriously: I smoked for thirty years. And, yeah, I started because of “peer pressure” – but that was a choice, too. I had two brothers who faced the same peer pressure I did. Neither of them ever smoked. Because they chose not to.

    When I quit, I quit, because I chose to. It was a choice I made over and over, day after day, until I no longer wanted to make a different choice.

    It wasn’t easy. I’ll certainly grant you that. But it’s still a choice.
    There’s no other way to do it, but to make that choice. One day at a time.

    personally, I’d have supported this law even when I was a smoker. I never smoked in restaurants, because I thought it was a rude, inconsiderate, and ill-mannered thing to do. Given a choice, I sat in the non-smoking section and didn’t smoke, because even though I really wanted a cigarette, I also wanted to be able to taste the food I’d paid good money for, and not just someone else’s ghastly, reeking Marlboro Lite.

    And I didn’t think I was entitled to inflict that on other people (even though I smoked much better cigarettes!).

    When I smoked outside, I always made a real effort to stay downwind of others who weren’t smoking. I always kept an eye on where my smoke was drifting, and kept it away from open windows.

    And I never threw butts on the ground or out the car window.

    I never thought my addiction was a license to be rude.

    If more smokers felt that way, people wouldn’t be so anxious to ban public smoking. But since they don’t, I understand the bans.

    So, people who live in LA, where the weather’s (almost!) always fine, should have to eat inside if they don’t want to be subjected to the rudeness of fume-spewing drug addicts?

    No, sorry. That’s what’s bullshit.

  7. People shouldn’t be rude. Period. Smokers or not.

    I, too, made an effort to smoke downwind when I smoked, among other things. I also have the cojones to speak up when someone is being rude in public. I try to be polite, to use tact, some people, and I’m no just talking about smokers here, but it applies, don’t always realize when they are being rude, and having it politely pointed out often helps.

    I don’t feel the need to have laws passed to guarantee such rudeness can never legally occur. Or to overcome a minor inconvenience, such as having to walk past smokers to get into a restaurant.

    Indoor public bans? Absolutely. Ban on advertising, not marketing to kids? Hell yeah. Turning a segment of the populace into second class citizens for an, admittedly disgusting, habit is over legislation. Period.

    It’s bullshit.

    And no one is going to suddenly “choose” to quit smoking because they discover one day that they can no longer smoke outside Fred 62. They may keep doing it out of spite, actually.

    That “choice” you made, (which I made, too, remember) is an extremely personal thing. I have more than a little experience in this area, with many substances, working with many people, over many, many years. You can’t force it on people. It needs attraction, not promotion.

    But hey, you win. The city council had their say. The law’s apparently been passed. Doesn’t affect me, really.

    I just think it’s a bullshit law. One of many. Sad, really.

  8. Don’t assume I haven’t chosen to try smoking myself. It just didn’t turn into a lifestyle choice for me.

    Thanks for your personal history, but I see this ban on more than just curbing public “rudeness” or forcing smokers to quit. Smoking and trying to quit smoking are compelling stories, but whether you try to be polite with your habit in public or not, it’s still a habit that permeates everything.

    Yes, I appreciate my friends who try to smoke downwind or keep their burning cigarettes away from the immediate area, but it doesn’t work. The smoke/smell/taste travels, even outside in shared spaces. It’s a habit that mostly everyone isn’t really eager to share with you, just by being near you. Wouldn’t you agree in some way?

  9. No. I don’t agree with you.

    Isn’t it wonderful that we can disagree? Isn’t it absolutely amazing and life affirming that we live in a society where we can disagree and I can publicly state I don’t like a law?

    Or is my difference of opinion something that you find offensive and permeates everything?

    Look, I already said it: you WIN, the law PASSED. Is that not enough? Do I have to think like you, too?

    Amazing when some folks can be so open minded and liberal and accepting, as long as you’re open minded in the same way they are.

    Now, while it’s still legal, I’m going to go think for myself in a public restaurant.

  10. I quit more than four years ago and I loves me some second hand smoke. I’m bummed. Really, I’m not even joking.

    Now if we can just get a ban on excessive cologne…

  11. bsn5750: “Smokers choose to pick up the habit.”

    RobNoxious: “Ah, if only it were so cut and dry.”

    RobNoxious, bsn5750‘s sentence above says nothing about how difficult it is to quit once you’ve developed the habit, which is what you replied with, but that beginning the habit to smoke when you were 14 was your choice. Unless you’re blaming peer pressure or the environment in which you were raised or something, and saying it’s not your fault.

    Smokers always seem to talk about how difficult it is to quit, when there’s another issue – why they chose to start in the first place. That’s the reason why many life-long non-smokers often have no sympathy.

    And the inconvenience isn’t having to walk by smokers to get into a restauarant. It’s having to breathe second-hand smoke inside the restaurant, where non-smokers are supposed to be able to avoid it, because it gets blown in every time the door opens.

    Also, in your last post, you said you disagree with this statement:

    bsn5750: “The smoke/smell/taste travels, even outside in shared spaces. It’s a habit that mostly everyone isn’t really eager to share with you, just by being near you.”

    But you don’t explain why, and instead you chose to write some condescending stuff about how awesome it is that people are free to disagree. I’m curious, because I don’t see how such a statement is even up for debate. Do you have some secret smoke-containing powers that nobody knows about? Does every person magically enjoy breathing second-hand smoke when he’s in your proximity?

    No one is saying you have to change your mind. However, it works both ways. Freedom to disagree also means the freedom to challenge each others’ beliefs.

  12. Good God. You guys won. Who cares?

    Seriously.

    I’m gonna say one more thing before I leave this thread. Probably the only thing that was worth saying from the get go.

    There seem to be less 14 year olds picking up smoking now-a-days. This makes me happy. I strongly feel this is due to the ban on advertising aimed at kids and education, not restricting of personal liberty or ostracizing and shaming smokers. I will almost always side with education over restriction.

    I just hope those kids don’t all grow up to be self righteous about not smoking.

    But that’s probably asking too much.

  13. I don’t know how to feel about this. I never picked up the smoking habit, but that’s just about the only bad habit I never latched on to. And so many of my friends smoke–and the chemical itself is so insidiously mind-altering–that I’ve come to associate the smell with FUN. With good times. When I smell smoke I find myself looking around for the party, and feeling in a slightly better mood.

    On the other hand, I can’t handle the stuff. Just breathing a little bit of cigarette smoke makes me start to feel that asthmatic, tight-in-the-chest feeling, the feeling like I have to cough all the time. And more than ten minutes of breathing it leaves me with such a strong immune reaction that nine times out of ten, I end up developing a sinus or chest cold. It’s uncanny.

    I feel guilty, because I know it makes things difficult & inconvenient for my smoker friends, but I’m glad it’s being banned more & more places. And not just because it means I don’t have to breathe it; I’m also glad because the more inconvenient it becomes to smoke, the more incentive my friends will have to stop smoking. And I want them to stop smoking, because I want them to live a long time & be healthy.

  14. I don’t feel too bad about this, though I do have some sympathy for people who honestly want to quit smoking, and I have even more sympathy for any former addicts out there who smoke only as a way to keep their addictive behavior from driving them to something worse. I’d love it if there were free, entitlement-based methods of controlling smoking – like a free clinic or something. I’d vote for that if it came up as a ballot measure. I do hope, as Lucinda said, that it’ll encourage people to quit smoking.

    But the basic idea is pretty logically and rhetorically firm: Someone’s right to smoke is less important than my right not to have an asthma attack, or have a meal ruined, or slowly develop lung cancer through no fault of my own. That’s it. That’s the ball game.

    And I can certainly understand how smokers can feel put-upon by restrictive laws, and yeah, that sucks. But I don’t think that “it makes people with bad habits feel persecuted” is a good enough reason not to pass a law that’s in the public interest. I can’t drop trou in the erotica section of Book Soup and start fondling myself because the urge has taken me, but laws regarding public indecency shouldn’t be amended because they make chronic masturbators upset.

    (Postscript: I am not a chronic public masturbator. At least not that I know of.)

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