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DC Council Passes Smoking Ban

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Reason #56 I can't wait to move to Europe.....

(7 months +/-)

Hope you're not going to Italy, because I think they passed a ban as well. (And this shocked me, because every Italian I know smokes!)

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I guess the regulatory environment in Europe is more relaxed than it is in DC. :lol:

And Ireland...ditto for irish friends who smoke

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Hope you're not going to Italy, because I think they passed a ban as well. (And this shocked me, because every Italian I know smokes!)

While there are some towns that ignore it wholesale, the truth is that most Italian restaurants are obseving the ban fully.

And now they have speeding radar on the Autostrada! The rental car companies will enforce the speeding tickets by charging your credit card the full amount of the fine. I fear that playing pinball with Fiat Puntos (Punti) is a pastime of the past for me... :lol:

Edited by deangold

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Hope you're not going to Italy, because I think they passed a ban as well. (And this shocked me, because every Italian I know smokes!)

DCMark, I know it won't discourage you from moving, but it's not just Italy. No smoking in Irish pubs, and France, Germany, Netherlands and others have also banned smoking to one degree or another. Not that it's enforced across the board. For more, check out this article.

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I support it 100%. It makes such a difference in going to clubs in California and bars in NY now. I think all of Ontario is smoke-free now too. Love it.

There are often times where I'll want to go see a band and we'll decide not to go because because we don't want to deal with the smoke.

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It is unimaginable that one could emerge from The Raven without the reak of cigarette smoke clinging to every molecule of ones being.

So wrong, so very, very wrong.

I am an (at this point) unrepentant ex-smoker btw.

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Well I am not moving for the smoking, but its so refreshing to see fine dining restaurants in France that offer cigars with coffee reflexively and not in a special room or cigar-themed restaurant.

At Lucas Carton with my father in 1999 (on a trip to visit his WWII battlefields) I politely asked a table of locals if they minded if we lit our cigars after both tables were finished eating. They responded that they would be deeply insulted if we did NOT light up and proceeded to buy us congacs.

I guess fleeing nanny laws is pretty useless but I do fell less pressured by European society.

DCMark,  I know it won't discourage you from moving, but it's not just Italy.  No smoking in Irish pubs, and France, Germany, Netherlands and others have also banned smoking to one degree or another.  Not that it's enforced across the board.  For more, check out this article.

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There is nothing that ruins my meal faster than a lit cigar near where I am eating.

With regard to the ban, I see good and bad. As a former chain-smoker, I find the ban appalling and improperly restrictive. As a non-smoking diner who prefers eating at the bar, I welcome the idea of not being concerned that the inconsiderate person next to me will light up the moment my meal arrives. But, that is an inconvenience I could live with if it really meant survival of more smaller, independant restaurants (I am not positive that it does, however).

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Every American has a God-given right to a cigarette, a martini and an affable bartender after a hard day at work. This is fascism.

Particularly galling is the fact that the trend toward smoke-free is gaining so much momentum without the moronic DC City Council getting involved, that it appeared that everyone would soon have a reasonable choice.

Bastards.

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Understood. But there is nothing that ruins my meal more than being forbidden to enjoy a cigar after my meal. And I never lit up in a non-smoking area or without the expressed permission of those around me.

Legislation or common courtesy?

There is nothing that ruins my meal faster than a lit cigar near where I am eating. 

With regard to the ban, I see good and bad.  As a former chain-smoker, I find the ban appalling and improperly restrictive.  As a non-smoking diner who prefers eating at the bar, I welcome the idea of not being concerned that the inconsiderate person next to me will light up the moment my meal arrives.  But, that is an inconvenience I could live with if it really meant survival of more smaller, independant restaurants (I am not positive that it does, however).

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Understood.  But there is nothing that ruins my meal more than being forbidden to enjoy a cigar after my meal.  And I never lit up in a non-smoking area or without the expressed permission of those around me.

Legislation or common courtesy?

I would much prefer common courtesy. I just wish more people had it.

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I would much prefer common courtesy.  I just wish more people had it.

Common courtesy is like common sense: the word they share is the thing they're lacking. :lol:

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But, that is an inconvenience I could live with if it really meant survival of more smaller, independant restaurants (I am not positive that it does, however).

I've been to restaurants countless times where I've seen many smoking tables filled with people who are clearly done with their meals and are hanging out just smoking for a nice, long while. I would imagine that eliminating that sort of loitering would benefit businesses by making it possible to seat incoming parties more quickly - and I suspect that improved turnaround might be what accounts for the post-ban increase in business that's been seen in other jurisdictions.

To the folks decrying the "nanny state" this sort of legislation represents, I would posit that if smokers (or cell-phone-using-drivers, for that matter) could consistently demonstrate the kind of courtesy that the smoking members of DR have - a clear understanding that maybe the rest of the world isn't interested in reaping the negative consequences of their habit - then these kinds of bans wouldn't be necessary.

Edited by Principia

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As a former smoker(sometimes backsliding) and father of two I can say that having a bunch of cigarette smoke around my meal sucks. However, I am perfectly capable of not going to an establishment that alows smoking in the dining room as opposed to just the bar(CB is set that way). If you do not want to be inconvenienced by smokers, you can go to an establishment that doesn't allow smoking.

Why not let the market bear out what restaurants allow smoking, if indeed "turnover" of tables who don't loiter is really significant in increasing sales as postulated earlier, those restaurants will flourish while the others will wilt and die.

PS-I've loitered for far too long, with or without nicotine....

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I've been to restaurants countless times where I've seen many smoking tables filled with people who are clearly done with their meals and are hanging out just smoking for a nice, long while. I would imagine that eliminating that sort of loitering would benefit businesses by making it possible to seat incoming parties more quickly - and I suspect that improved turnaround might be what accounts for the post-ban increase in business that's been seen in other jurisdictions.

To you, loitering. To others, savoring a meal and becoming infused with the kind of warm glow about an establishment that brings one back. One that I am, personally, happy to enjoy in the bar after the meal, FWIW.

Different argument -- a lot of people like to linger/loiter after a meal whether or not they're smoking, a lot of people think having a check dropped and getting the bums rush is poor reward for dropping a couple hundred bucks on food and wine.

That's why I never go to a certain steakhouse :lol: ...(kidding Landrum, kidding! -- for the love of Pete put down the knife!)

Edited by Waitman

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I can't think of many [reasonably nice] places in DC that still allow smoking at the dinner table. I'm not talking about, say, a smoking section at Denny's.

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DC Council Passes Smoking Ban

I'd love to hear what folks think about this.

Personally, I think it's a good thing.  But, I do accept and recognize that when I go out to certain types of establishments smoking is to be expected.  That being said, it's always a pleasant experience to go to places that opt to be smoke-free - such as Restaurant Eve....

Let's hear what all of you think - diners and industry types alike!

We've been smoke free at Mendocino Grille and Sonoma for quite some time and are glad to see DC finally moving in the direction of large cosmpolitan cities and states (NYC and CA), as well as countries.

Our decision to go smoke free was based on public health concerns, economics, and finally, the oft-mentioned contradiction between serving seasonal, organic food and excellent wines, and an activity which dulls one's senses to both. Especially for those who experience smoke second-hand.

There were passionate arguments on both sides before we made our decision. I, personally, quite firmly believed that it would hurt our business. And as one of the co-founders of Tryst, I felt there was something just "right" about enjoying espresso, or a drink, and smoking; it seemed awfully puritan to cut out yet another sensual pleasure from our carb and fat obsessed culture.

But I also recall changing our first art exhibit - behind each large frame was the original wall color, protected from the smoke. Around the now-empty frame spaces were the darkly discolored and yellowed walls. To think we had spend significant sums painting the place was depressing.

Last year I performed a large email survey of fellow independent restaurateurs - including many of the most well-known in the city/area. The survey actually confirmed the opposite of my "business" argument: those that had gone smoke-free had seen no decrease in business, and usually were showered with gratitude and new diners, ESPECIALLY families.

Once my personal and business arguments were demolished - to say nothing of the public health ramifications - I realized that there was really no reason to allow it. It had truly become a situation in which a very small, vocal minority was determining every other guest's experience.

In the weeks before opening Sonoma, we were besieged with requests to remain smoke-free, and word on the pub and smoke-heavy Hill spread quickly once we opened, with guests coming specifically for that reason.

In short, there is really no longer any debate on the issue. Smoking at this point is a liablity to the independent restaurant in many ways - most diners do NOT smoke - and I'm glad we'll no longer have to "defend" being smoke free at Mendocino and Sonoma and future restaurants.

Best,

Eli

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In every jurisdiction I have seen numbers for, sales tax revenue goes up after the passing of a smoking ban. There is a shift from bar to restaurant of a few points but the total effect is more food and beverage based business.

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We've been smoke free at Mendocino Grille and Sonoma for quite some time and are glad to see DC finally moving in the direction of large cosmpolitan cities and states (NYC and CA), as well as countries.

Our decision to go smoke free was based on public health concerns, economics, and finally, the oft-mentioned contradiction between serving seasonal, organic food and excellent wines, and an activity which dulls one's senses to both.  Especially for those who experience smoke second-hand.

There were passionate arguments on both sides before we made our decision.  I, personally, quite firmly believed that it would hurt our business.  And as one of the co-founders of Tryst, I felt there was something just "right" about enjoying espresso, or a drink, and smoking;  it seemed awfully puritan to cut out yet another sensual pleasure from our carb and fat obsessed culture.

But I also recall changing our first art exhibit - behind each large frame was the original wall color, protected from the smoke.  Around the now-empty frame spaces were the darkly discolored and yellowed walls.  To think we had spend significant sums painting the place was depressing. 

Last year I performed a large email survey of fellow independent restaurateurs - including many of the most well-known in the city/area.  The survey actually confirmed the opposite of my "business" argument: those that had gone smoke-free had seen no decrease in business, and usually were showered with gratitude and new diners, ESPECIALLY families.

Once my personal and business arguments were demolished - to say nothing of the public health ramifications - I realized that there was really no reason to allow it.  It had truly become a situation in which a very small, vocal minority was determining every other guest's experience.

In the weeks before opening Sonoma, we were besieged with requests to remain smoke-free, and word on the pub and smoke-heavy Hill spread quickly once we opened, with guests coming specifically for that reason.

In short, there is really no longer any debate on the issue.  Smoking at this point is a liablity to the independent restaurant in many ways - most diners do NOT smoke - and I'm glad we'll no longer have to "defend" being smoke free at Mendocino and Sonoma and future restaurants.

Best,

Eli

:lol: Right on, bro!

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The survey actually confirmed the opposite of my "business" argument: those that had gone smoke-free had seen no decrease in business, and usually were showered with gratitude and new diners, ESPECIALLY families.

Hmmm... so the next big battle is to get restaurants to have "no children" sections. :lol:

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Agree mostly, but I must say that great bourbon tastes better when sniffed through a wisp of someone else's cig.

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Legislation or common courtesy?

I'm convinced that nearly 90% of DR members who smoke would exercise common courtesy and ask permission to light up. I'm convinced that nearly 100% of non-members who smoke would not. Seen it. Been there. Done that.

I love cigars. I'll smoke 'em outside.

I don't buy the "let the market figure it out" argument either. If someone has a business meeting and the boss says "we're going to it at such and such restaurant" that allows smoking, do you think the underling is in any position to choose to breathe the smoke or not? So they should find a new employer? That's more extreme than the ban. Bring it on.

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Once my personal and business arguments were demolished - to say nothing of the public health ramifications - I realized that there was really no reason to allow it. It had truly become a situation in which a very small, vocal minority was determining every other guest's experience.

I'd suggest that the experience of your restaurant -- and a growing number of others -- disproves your own statement. You controlled the argument, the majority of the diners won, pretty much everyone seems happy. Without a law. Why not let other restauranteurs and customers make their own decisions, now that real choices exist?

In the weeks before opening Sonoma, we were besieged with requests to remain smoke-free, and word on the pub and smoke-heavy Hill spread quickly once we opened, with guests coming specifically for that reason.

See? Everyone happy.

In short, there is really no longer any debate on the issue. Smoking at this point is a liablity to the independent restaurant in many ways - most diners do NOT smoke -

But most diners aren't vegetarian, lactose intolerant or on Atkins, either, and restaurants work to accommodate them. Smokers accepted segregation and ever-smaller corners of establishments in which to quietly pursue their vice. Legislation designed to hurry what appears to be a natural trend toward extinction are posturing by craven politicians.

Mainly, I'm pissed about the bars, though -- all the ones I go to have those "ban the ban" signs up. Why not let them make their choice and prosper, or not, as people respond?

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