Can't wait till 2009 - How about a list of bars that are switching over early?

Albert Kaufman

So, 2009 is when bars have to end smoking in their establishments. I'm wondering if anyone else would like to see if we can get them to start switching now? I have a hard time understanding why we need to wait for good change for so long (Greg Brown has a great line in one of this songs - why does bad change come so quick and good change take so long...). So, to this end - I'm open to suggestions on how we might encourage bars and restaurants that still have smoking to make the change sooner rather than wait for the last minute. Smokefree

My main idea is a website that lists non-smoking establishments and then highlights those who've recently made the switch cause they see the writing on the wall. My sense is that bars that do switch will not suffer and may actually have increased clientele - for instance, people like me, who won't go in a bar that has smoking. I'm also a performer, and won't play smokey bars.

So, please bring it on - your ideas, that is - how to affect this change if you agree that it might be a good thing for people to take on. Could be a sticker that the bar gets - some sort of recognition that they're doing the right thing early. Heck, I'd write them a personal thank you note if that's what's needed :)

Welcome to Autumn!

Not sure how this might be tied into Measure 50, but perhaps there's a way to help that along, with such an effort.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Albert -- Great idea! In fact, it's such a good idea that the American Lung Association of Oregon has already done it!

    SmokeFreeOregon.com/bars

  • Albert Kaufman (unverified)
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    Thanks, Kari. That seems like a helpful effort, but it's not fully what I have in mind. I'd like a way to celebrate those bars that are switching - publicly! I think the ALA of OR's site can be a useful lobbying tool, but does not serve the whole purpose. I will contact them and see if they'd be willing to make it a bit more proactive - but I'm thinking something a bit snarkier, edgier - that gives bars that switch some public recognition.

    For instance, when a bar switches early - working with them to announce - and encourage a flock of people to show up to celebrate - ribbons, horns, door prizes... yes, brainstorming in action...

  • Eric Berg (unverified)
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    It's already happening. I've seen a few 'Now Smoke Free'-type signs around Puddletown the last few weeks.

    Here are a few establishments in Portland that will get more of my hard-earned dollars before Jan. 1, 2009 if they go smoke free:

    Moon and Sixpence. Biddy McGraw's. The Bullpen. Slabtown. Park City Pub.

    When the Moon and Sixpence goes smokeless, I expect you'll find me there having a Guinness or Smithwick's after work very, very regularly.

    I was in Ireland a month before pubs in the Republic went smoke-free in 2005. By the way most people talked, (granted, mostly in pubs) you would have thought it was going to be the end of life as they knew it. When I went back in 2006, I didn't hear anyone complain about it. Added bonus: you could i.d. good spots by how many people were outside smoking. Here in the Northwest, you'll know it must be a good place if there will be 15 or so smokers in the cold rain 10 or more feet away from the door.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Are you thinking of a website such as this?

  • seepeesate (unverified)
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    If it were in the economic interests of bars to become nonsmoking, then they wouldn't need a law to force them to do it. They would have already done so long ago.

    I, for one, will protest this overbearing law by not going to any bars where smoking is forbidden. I will specifically support any bars that violate this unfair and overbearing law, and will strongly agitate others to do the same.

    I know quite a few nonsmokers who agree with me on this. Yes, that may mean that we no longer go to bars and nightclubs at all. So be it.

  • Michael (unverified)
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    Oh, Jolly Roger, please switch over soon. Please.

  • Albert Kaufman (unverified)
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    James X - yes, am thinking of a website like that - but one that moves the ball forward quicker.

    Eric - thanks for the info. Perhaps I just need to get some stickers printed up and start handing them out!

  • (Show?)

    I'd second that vote for the Moon & Six Pence. Wandered in there with some friends recently and not only was the beer list a huge disappointment, but the place was one big ashtray.

    However, anyone who has been paying attention here in Portland knows that the options for non-smokers are huge, and probably far superior to those diehards who have yet to give up their smokes. Since the first brewpubs appeared in the 80s and established a tradition of being non-smoking, most of the best pubs in the area have followed suit. Pubs with a great beer selection and great atmosphere (cough) that also allow smoking, like the Horse Brass, are rapidly disappearing on their own.

    I'd have preferred it if the legislature had let nature take its course, and let the dwindling supply of smokers stink each other up without interference. My non-smoking options around here are endless.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: seepeesate | Sep 21, 2007 11:28:39 AM

    Look, a moron.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    Al, you seem to be ignoring the most obvious factor at play here. If going smoke free now is determined to be in the best interest of the bar owners bottom line, then that's probably what will happen. If not, then they'll wait until it's mandated by government and the playing field is leveled. This concludes today's course in Capitalism 101.

  • Albert (unverified)
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    Hey Brian, actually, I disagree. I think we all swallowed a bunch of Econ 101 once upon a time. It's in my best interest to save every penny for retirement, but do I do it? No, I go buy some sneakers, instead. People do the status quo a lot of the time rather than think ahead. If many businesses thought long-term, or outside the box, they might have greater success. My sense is that a bar in my n'hood that switches early, will have great business and their employees will be healthier. That's my 101 for ya, and I'd like help in turning the wheel towards progressive change faster. Have a good weekend!

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    I suspect that all of you are younger and much more innocent than I am, but have any of you considered what it will be like to watch a 42 year old Meth-addicted slightly-overweight mother-of-four "dancing" naked at 3 in the afternoon WITHOUT the benefit of a thick cloud of blue smoke?

    Let's not rush things here.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    See your point, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

    Full disclosure, I'm a reformed smoker who does not frequent bars and hate the smell of smoke that permeates me on the occasions that I do. If I had my way, most bars would be non-smoking but I respect their right to set the rules of their domain rather the heavy hand of government. Then again, I'm a firm believer in the free market and letting people make their own choices.

  • (Show?)

    I'm with Bluenote LOL

    Seriously though, I tended bar at MacKenzies in Bend in the 80's and my boss had the courage to go smoke free. Wow what a relief for employees! You noticed it right away. You slept better and your clothes didn't stink. Bar owners should do it now for their employees.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    I think McCormick & Schmick deserve a shout out for taking all their properties smoke free in the interests of their staffs. There were all sorts of regulars yelling that places like the bars at the two Jakes would lose all sorts of regular and tourist biz if smoking was banned and they did it anyway.

    I don't know factually whether they've had a loss in business, but if they have you wouldn't know it from going there. And they have a whole lot of non-smoking employees who no longer wake up coughing and hacking.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    I think McCormick & Schmick deserve a shout out for taking all their properties smoke free in the interests of their staffs. There were all sorts of regulars yelling that places like the bars at the two Jakes would lose all sorts of regular and tourist biz if smoking was banned and they did it anyway.

    I don't know factually whether they've had a loss in business, but if they have you wouldn't know it from going there. And they have a whole lot of non-smoking employees who no longer wake up coughing and hacking.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    I think McCormick & Schmick deserve a shout out for taking all their properties smoke free in the interests of their staffs. There were all sorts of regulars yelling that places like the bars at the two Jakes would lose all sorts of regular and tourist biz if smoking was banned and they did it anyway.

    I don't know factually whether they've had a loss in business, but if they have you wouldn't know it from going there. And they have a whole lot of non-smoking employees who no longer wake up coughing and hacking.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    I don't know about 3 shout outs.

    BlueNote, you bring up some serious concerns I don't think our elected officials considered.

  • seepeesate (unverified)
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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Sep 21, 2007 3:30:20 PM

    Stop looking in the mirror and you won't have to see him anymore.

    Seriously, that's your argument? That I'm a moron? Nice debate style you have going there. You didn't even bother to explain what is moronic about wanting to preserve and cherish freedom.

    The nonsmoking laws are, in my opinion, immoral. Protecting employees and customers? Right, like they're children and don't know how to avoid environmetns they find objectionable. You'd have to be a moron to fail to see how insulting that is.

    Besides, the argument always given for why mandatory workplace drug-testing is OK (even though it fails to discriminate between on-the-job and off-the-job activities) and not a terrible infringement of people's privacy is that they can always choose to work somewhere else if they don't like it.

    Yet, the argument for nonsmoking laws is exactly the opposite -- to protect workers because (presumably) they can't work somewhere else.

    So, which is it to be? Because if we accept one, we have to jettison the other.

  • seepeesate (unverified)
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    By the way, I don't smoke. But I do value freedom, even for those activities I dislike.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    seepeesate wrote:

    If it were in the economic interests of bars to become nonsmoking, then they wouldn't need a law to force them to do it. They would have already done so long ago.

    Not really. Every bar in town that is not smoke-free has a large number of smoking customers--many of them regulars. If that bar goes smoke free on its own, it risks losing its business to the next smoke-full bar down the street. Thus a law that prohibits smoking in all bars allows all of them to keep their regulars.

    There are some unique dynamics in making bars a smoke-free workplace, such as the fact that a large percentage of independent bar and tavern owners smoke, as do an enormously high percentage of their employees. In fact, tending bar is possibly that last job in which one can smoke on the job.

    Nevetheless, I've talked to bartenders who smoke and even they prefer a non-smoking environment.

    I can't believe the wimps in our legislature, controlled by Democrats, allowed this 18-month interim before the law kicks in. In Washington, the smoking ban came via initiative in November, 2006 and was being enforced about week after the election.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    To be honest, once my asthma got so bad I couldn't tolerate smoke (caused in part by working in places where half the people smoked inside, back in the bad old days when that was allowed), a lot of places lost money from both me and my husband. We like listening to music, but I'm not going to spend money on a cover charge and booze/food if I'm coughing, hacking and sick the next damned day.

    I'm also not very sympathetic to smokers any more because, even in outdoor venues, when politely asked to smoke away from the area where I'm in (often where I was there first), they either refuse or consider five feet upwind to be appropriate. Apparently I'm the one who has to move.

    Not sympathetic, guys. Try paying for asthma meds and being around folks who insist on smoking at bus stops and other locations. My money goes to the places that make it easy on me and my allergic lungs.

  • seepeesate (unverified)
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    "If that bar goes smoke free on its own, it risks losing its business to the next smoke-full bar down the street."

    I believe you've just proved my point. Laws are required for this bit of social engineering because there is a demand for places where people can smoke.

    I still don't understand why there has to be a law regarding this. It's a big, varied world. Certainly there is room for both smoking and nonsmoking establishments. Why in the world do people need to use force to make everyone behave as they would prefer?

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: seepeesate | Sep 21, 2007 9:35:13 PM The nonsmoking laws are, in my opinion, immoral. Protecting employees and customers? Right, like they're children and don't know how to avoid environmetns they find objectionable. You'd have to be a moron to fail to see how insulting that is.

    ...and mine workers shouldn't have any laws or regulations protecting them in their workplace either. So because work safety laws are immoral, mine workers aren't children, I am going to specifically go intentionally get black lung in the nearest unsafe mine to protest these immoral laws.

    ...seat-belt laws are immoral. I am going protest them by intentionally injuring myself in a car manufactured by a company that protests these immoral laws, because I cherish "freedom".

    ...mandatory car insurance are immoral laws, People who drive cars are not children, I am intentionally going to drive around without insurance to protest these immoral laws.

    Thus is the "logic" of your principled stand.

    You're are indeed a first class moron.

  • (Show?)

    Laws are required for this bit of social engineering because there is a demand for places where people can smoke.

    And I believe you've made the point in FAVOR of a law that mandates smoke-free bars. If there wasn't a law, some bars wouldn't go smoke-free.

    Remember: this isn't about the comfort level of bar customers. It's a health & safety issue for the workers.

  • Heals (unverified)
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    Nothing better than a bar with smoke filling the air. Come on, a handful in Portland doesn't hurt anyone. Moon and Sixpence without smoke is like a golf course without a putting green! We have to give some smokers a few venues where they can smoke. And by the way, I'm a non-smoker. Going to Ireland this year and not having the smoky bars was nice but it was odd; it sort of felt like something was missing. Nostalgic I guess....

  • Heals (unverified)
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    Nothing better than a bar with smoke filling the air. Come on, a handful in Portland doesn't hurt anyone. Moon and Sixpence without smoke is like a golf course without a putting green! We have to give some smokers a few venues where they can smoke. And by the way, I'm a non-smoker. Going to Ireland this year and not having the smoky bars was nice but it was odd; it sort of felt like something was missing. Nostalgic I guess....

  • Albert (unverified)
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    <h2>Thanks for the spirited discussion, everyone. Over the weekend, I had an inspiration - which legislative district in Oregon will be the first to have all its bars smoke-free? That would be a contest/challenge to work for. I live in the 42nd and am going to see if we can pull it off - prior to 2009! Next up, replacing lawns with vegetable gardens....</h2>

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