Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Brew Lounge Topic of the Week: Smoking Ban in Bars Round Two
My turn :-) Wow Bryan! You picked a live one here. I like to think of this problem in terms of behavior. Let's say there's a bar with two people in it. The first patron is sitting there enjoying an Alpha King from Three Floyds. The second comes in and orders the same and lights up a cigar. What's wrong with this, besides the fact that Alpha King probably isn't something you'll find in most bars? Both people are enjoying a great beer. Both are taking in the atmosphere. Both think they are minding their own business. What happens if the first patron doesn't like cigar smoke? What if it interferes with his ability to enjoy the beer? Isn't it rude for the second patron to light up his cigar without regard for the other person in the room? I think so. Face it, the behavior of the first patron is less intrusive. This scenario hits pretty close to home. Friday I was out with some friends. I brought some cigars along for the group. We asked the bartender if it was alright to smoke them. He said, "Yes, no problem." So I just lit up my cigar and proceeded to puff away. Meanwhile one of my friends asked the person sitting next to him if he minded. At this point I was already smoking (wince). He answered by saying that he didn't mind. (of course he was smoking too :-) I paused for a second and thought about how rude I was being. Then I thought what about all the other people in the room who are taking in all that smoke? I couldn't possibly feel guilty for all those people, could I? So I rationalized it and thought, "They came to the bar. The bar allows it. So it's ok." Did I say I considered myself considerate…hmmm I may have to reevaluate. I guess the crowd is what plays a huge role here. If you walk into a library and start talking very loudly wouldn't you expect somebody…um say the librarian to instruct you to be quite? I don't suppose that there are any laws against talking a library. Why is it that most people decide to follow the rules in this situation? I guess it has something to do with the expectations of the crowd, ourselves and the owner of the bar. We expect bars to be smoke filled. We have grown up with smokers around us in public. We are used to keeping the peace. This perception needs to change. How terrible would it be to have more smokeless bars and pubs here in the Philly area? Does everybody really need that smoke? Why can't we picture a smokeless night out as easily? How do you change the perception? Uhhhhh…stop fighting about it and trying to pass laws. Instead get to know the people you are trying to govern. The people who don't like smoke in bars should talk to their friends that do and ask them not to smoke inside. Talk to bar owners and suggest a smokeless Saturday or something. Our perception is shaped by our past, however, it isn't unchangeable. I guess the question is, "Can we teach manners to the masses?" Remember this, it isn't the smokers against the non-smokers. I don't think those labels help anybody. It just isn't polite or respectful to force somebody....everybody in a bar to inhale your second hand smoke. Why do we need a law to tell us that? Have we really exhausted all other options?