“yeah, like tomatoes”

More from the Colorado State Legislature:

Rep. Don Marostica is expected to introduce legislation shortly that will relax the 2 ½-year old indoor-smoking ban passed in 2006.  The bill would classify some bars, restaurants, racetracks, and portions of casinos as “cigar-tobacco” bars, as long as they own a humidor and either make 5% of their annual gross income or $50,000 a year from tobacco sales.  Additionally, all patrons would be required to purchase their tobacco from these establishments.  According to this proposed Act, these “cigar-tobacco” bars would have to apply for a special license, ban anyone under the age of 18 and advertise that smoking is allowed.  The possible relaxation of the ban follows countless complaints by bar and casino owners about plummeting business after the ban was put in place, says Rep. Marostica, and that this bill is about letting the owners and patrons determine the rules under which they operate.”

So I think I have said this last bit a million times in a million arguments with non-smokers. I like to use it as a response to the hackneyed, “I like going to bars and not coming home smelling like an ash tray.” Riiiiiight. But it wasn’t enough to keep you out of the bars when you did come home smelling like an ashtray, you lush.

Seriously, though, isn’t the whole point of owning a business making the decisions about what you do and don’t want to do in that space? Call me crazy, but it might even be where the phrase “mind your own business” came from.

As a vegetarian, I don’t go to steak houses as a rule, but if I find myself in one, I don’t expect the entire establishment to stop slinging ridiculous portions of cholesterol and saturated fat-laden, growth hormone-injected animal products. If I have to go, I expect that I will be eating mediocre pasta or salad, so I usually just don’t go. There are bars I won’t go to because I don’t like the kind of people they attract, but I don’t ask the bar owners to turn off their giant TVs and stop selling two-for-one American beers.

I don’t know if this law is actually going to pass. If it does, I’m not sure that I will seek out bars that have classified themselves as “cigar-tobacco bars.” I already have bars that I like, and I’m not sure I would make an excursion to a new place specifically to smoke.

It also seems like this caters to a specific, upscale clientèle. I doubt any of the neighborhood, family-owned bars are going to have the capital to invest in a humidor or enough tobacco inventory to constitute $50,000 in sales. Or apply for another license, because those are things that cost money, too.

I would be more supportive of a law that banned smoking in any establishment that’s not 21-and-over (so no restaurants with smoking sections) or even banned smoking indoors before 10 p.m. That’s a totally arbitrary time, by the way. I just assume that the clean-living types who don’t want to smell like an ashtray will go home to watch something wholesome on TV or play Scrabble before turning in on a weekend night.

And, sidebar, I know that I’m not the only one who’s noticed that bars smell much, much worse without the cigarette smoke to cover up the stale spilled beer, bad cologne and bathroom funk. Seriously.

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