(This law is disgusting. I'm a non smoker, but this law could be a precedent for turning New York City into an over-feminized Puritan sheepland, enforced by law. What next, strict noise ordinances? strict limits on establishment capacity? sting operations against those smoking outside establishments? a law requring all retail places to shut down at 10 PM? When will this Puritanization end? Even the Giuliani Administration wasn't this paranoid about secondhand smoke, much less noise or nightlife.)
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - In a smoke-choked Manhattan tavern, Cynthia Candiotti asked a neighbor for a light and took a deep drag on her cigarette, savoring a last barstool puff before the city outlawed smoking in bars and nightclubs.
For Candiotti, 26, the ban is a double whammy: "I can't tell you how many dates with cute guys I've gotten by looking into his eyes while he lights me up. That's as good as smoking."
With fear, loathing and lament, the city of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Philip Morris USA was ushering in the smoke-free age Sunday, one tick after midnight.
Goodbye to the cloying smell of cloves. The wispy white rings that settle into a layer of haze at bars, pubs and nightclubs. The smoker's hack and smelly clothes after a night out, whether you smoked or not. The phone number written on a matchbook cover.
"First they cleaned up Times Square, then they said you couldn't dance in bars or drink a beer in the park. Now you can't even smoke when you go out on the town," said Willie Martinez, 37, who sat, chain-smoking, in an East Village bar. "This is like no-fun city."
"There's one word for this: Ridiculous. Stalinesque. Brutal," interrupted Elliot Kovner, 48, as he added a few choice vulgarities.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (epitome of PC Evil), a former smoker himself, pushed through the ban with a zeal that angered smokers and even some nonsmokers. He stood firm even when an incensed smoker wearing a Superman suit showed up at City Hall carrying a 12-foot-long ersatz cigarette and a sign threatening him.
Health issues are a priority for Bloomberg, a billionaire who once donated $100 million to Johns Hopkins University.
"Fundamentally, people just don't want the guy next to them smoking," Bloomberg said. "People will adjust very quickly and a lot of lives will be saved."
The ban covers all workplaces, including bars, small restaurants, bingo parlors and other venues not covered by the city's previous smoking law. Owners of establishments could be fined $400 for allowing smoking and eventually could have their business licenses suspended.
A state anti-smoking law passed Wednesday is even tougher, closing a city loophole that granted an exemption for businesses that provide enclosed smoking rooms. That law takes effect this summer.
The bans have led to fears that bars will go out of business and rumors that secret "smoke-easies" will pop up — but of course, New Yorkers can be given to exaggeration.
Proprietors in California complained when a similar rule was enacted four years ago, but business did not drop significantly and polls showed most patrons backed the ban.
About 400 communities nationwide have adopted smoking bans in restaurants, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.
But none has New York's history of smoking, from the smoke-filled back rooms of Tammany Hall and the old neon cigarette signs of Times Square to the "loosie" — a single cigarette sold in bodegas for as much as $1 to customers who can't afford a $7 pack. (City and state taxes have lifted cigarette prices to among the nation's highest.)
Until the 1920s, 30 percent of all cigarettes produced in North America were manufactured in the New York metropolitan area.
Philip Morris, long headquartered in midtown Manhattan, announced a few days after the city ban was approved that it would move to Virginia by 2004. Economic reasons, the company said.
Smoking, ban opponents say, is part of the city's in-your-face, adrenaline-fueled culture.
"A ban might work in California," said Eddie Dean, who owns a club called Discotheque and a bar called Tiki Lounge. "New Yorkers are defined as a different kind of person. It's a gruffer place. It's less healthy. People are a little more aggressive. I just can't see them tolerating it."
Back at the Orange Bear in the Tribeca section of Manhattan, Cynthia Candiotti's face was obscured behind a cloud of smoke.
"Smoking and boys have sort of always gone together," she said, considering her cigarette. "Smoking, I'll probably quit. Boys, that's a whole other matter."
Many people oppose this new law, which was directly proposed by Bloomberg, and for good reason. My opinion is in a second Internet petition I may let loose later:
We Condemn the Politically Correct Attack on New York City’s Nightlife, Including The Anti-Smoking Law
We oppose the citywide and statewide anti-smoking laws prohibiting smoking in all bars, all clubs, and all lounges, and even pool halls and bowling alleys in New York City and New York State. We who have signed the petition (both smokers and non-smokers) condemn this blatant violation of civil rights and blatant pandering to political correctness that has corrupted both California and Massachusetts.
Banning smoking makes no sense when the city has its share of tens of thousands of drug addicts that need treatment; the city is still recovering from a recession that threw 210,000 people out of work after 9-11, and the threat of further terrorist attacks has not fully gone away. All these factors hurt the city’s inhabitants much more extensively than second-hand smoke. Smoking is already prohibited in office buildings, public buildings, most indoor theaters, and public transportation lines, and these can stay. But to take the ban to restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, bowling alleys, and pool halls (even those with adequate ventilation and fire safety standards) just because some weaklings complained about smoky rooms , is completely absurd and unjustified.
We also oppose this prohibition, because it could also encourage the city and state governments, and the politically correct forces backing the current law, to impose other laws against its famous nightlife, requiring strict noise ordinances that are impossible for any establishment to adapt to, limiting capacity at most establishments, effectively strangling them of revenue, and even a shutdown law that could require virtually all establishments to close as early as 1 AM. That means all concerts, musicals, and even restaurants could be forced to shut down right at 1 AM, even earlier. Even the Giuliani Administration crackdown on nightlife began only after people began overdosing on Ecstasy and other drugs, and club owners did nothing to stop it.
Such restrictive laws could constrict New York’s famous nightlife and turn it into another clone of both Boston and Los Angeles, where virtually all establishments must close after 2 AM, sometimes 1 AM, there is virtually nothing, not even restaurants, to go to at those times, and where all retail places (except 7-Elevens) must shut down after 10 PM . This has the effect of stifling the city economy by limiting the number of night jobs available and driving away customers, restricting the creation of more vital jobs in a time when NY is still recovering from 9-11, is suffering a budget deficit, and overburdening our police officers and firemen who are on high alert for more terrorist attacks and the possibility of a rise in crime.
New York is not Albany, it’s not Boston, and it’s not Los Angeles. It should be none of these three. Thus we call upon the New York City and New York State Governments to reconsider the absurd laws, rescind them as soon as possible, go back to the original restrictions (which work very well), and help keep it from becoming another 9-to-5 Boston clone.
Note: The person who created this petition is a non-smoker. *
I hate smoke and hate coming home wreaking of smoke, but it's NYC and it's a bar. *Hello, don't go and don't work there...
Also, the city needs to lighten up on bars, clubs (dance and strip), etc. *NYC nightlife has been and should always be a MAJOR part of NYC. *It's why many people are here and it is one major factor that sets us apart from everywhere else.
It annoys me that a business that makes a lot of money for the city and the owners/employees is looked upon as "evil."
Damnit, I'm gonna start ranting, so...
I finally created the petition (read text above) condemning this anti-smoking ban (AND Bloomberg) onto petitiononline.com. Sign it as you see fit.
"Dear Jason M,
Thank you for using our free petition hosting service.
Your "We Condemn the Politically Correct Assault on New York City's Nightlife Including the Unjustified Smoking Ban" petition is now live online at www.PetitionOnline.com, and it will be considered for linking from the PetitionOnline.com directory pages.
The main URL for your petition is:
(Forgive me for pressing the issue, but I feel as strongly about the smoking ban as I do about the WTC rebuilding process. And that's not all. In my part of Queens, the authorities actually closed down several bars and clubs over excess person capacity. I mean it. If this keeps up, we may even see these politicians press for a law forcing all establishments to close by 1 AM. God help us all.)
Prohibition is back without any of the fun
Sidney Zion (NY Daily News)
The smart money says that if Saddam Hussein barred smoking, no smart bombs would have been necessary - the Iraqi people would have snuffed him out quicker than a long drag on a Camel or a Cohiba.
But what Saddam would not dare to do, Mike Bloomberg, the Lord Mayor of New York City, accomplished in a year. And George Pataki, El Jefe of the state, did in a day.
Just like that, our leaders vanquished the great tobacco lobby and the powerful restaurant and tavern owners, who only yesterday were seen as holding our politicians as so many pawns in their monied hands.
And here we are, in the freest city in the world, in the greatest state, left to live with prohibition. "Wonderful nice," as my daddy would have said, irony peeling from his lips. But of course, he came from another era, when men and women thumbed their noses at the Puritans whose only concern was that somebody somewhere was having a good time.
Nobody missed a drink in those days, certainly not in New York. Jimmy Walker was our night mayor, Al Smith our wet governor. Speakeasies sprang up like flowers in May.
The prohibitionists put their game over by insisting the devil rum was destroying the health of the American family. It wasn't just the drunk who was hurt, it was his children and the economy - no boozer could work hard in the factories and offices of the nation.
Bloomberg says today that he is protecting bartenders and waiters from the devil weed. Kill yourself if you will, but not the innocent workers who are forced to inhale your cancer sticks.
Pataki not only agrees, he rushes through the Legislature an even harsher law. He can't get a budget passed, but this he does in a day, together with the Democrats in the Assembly and the Republicans in the state Senate.
Of course, neither Lord Bloomberg nor El Jefe asks the bartenders and waiters. I never met one who wants this law. Most of them smoke. I know some who are in their 80s, and they don't even cough. But what do they know? In the Brave New World, the government knows what's good for you.
The sad thing is that few fight it. The tobacco people and the restaurant people threw down their arms like the French Army on the Maginot line. They refused to challenge the fake science on second-hand smoke, thus allowing the full-scale brainwashing of the public. The smokers complained, but they were seen as whiners against the New Order.
How did the sons and daughters of the fighters against government control of our lives turn into supine followers? The health fascists got to them. Reporters and politicians who used to hang together at saloons in Manhattan and Albany now go to gyms. They don't know what people like me are talking about. If you don't drink and don't smoke, you can't imagine what the problem is - there is no problem.
One night at the Players Club in the 1920s, a member called and asked that they send him a case of Scotch. It was Christmas Eve, and the club was in full drinking force.
But who to deliver it to this member at his party? "We got the cop on the beat to run it over," said the president of the Players.
Saddam would do the same, or like the head of the Players, he'd be deposed.
Originally published on April 2, 2003
Looks like the war on tobacco just saw its first casualty:
Bouncer Dies, and Family Blames City's Smoking Ban
All right. I've had it up to here with this ridiculous ban. I condemn both the killing of the bouncer (the killers will most certainly be imprisoned for a long time) and the stupid law that led to it. How many more fights must erupt before people wake up to this politically correct trash that Bloomie's promoting?
The first petition condemning the smoking ban was deleted for some reason, so I've revitalized it in a new link: http://www.petitiononline.com/nycsm619/
Please sign it. We need to get the message across that this PC trend has to be stopped before either more people die in fights like this or new laws destroying the city's nightlife are passed.
(Edited by Agglomeration at 11:01 am on April 14, 2003)
The smoking ban is non-sense. I hate smoking with a passion, but this ridiculous. I wish those nannies just shut up. Someone needs to treat them like terrorists.
A Better Smoking Law
To the Editor:
New York City's antismoking law (news article, April 18) could have been parlayed into a big money-maker for the city if enacted differently.
A smoking permit should have been offered, for a price and renewable once a year, as an option to businesses that desired it. The fee would be based on the business's seating capacity. Bars and restaurants would have to display a sign that smoking is permitted, giving the consumer freedom to choose. The operative word is freedom.
Bardonia, N.Y., April 18, 2003
Has anyone been hanging out in the bars since the smoking ban took effect?
From what I can tell, business really seems to be down. The Economist reported that it's down by at least 20%, but I would be surprised if it were that little.
The bars seem the same to me, except for more people smoking out on the sidewalk.
I've also not noticed any significant change. In fact, I'm surprised at how transparent it's been. It will take time to
determine if this is successful or not. The same things were said years ago when smoking was banned in office buildings. It's pretty much taken for granted now.
I stopped smoking before there were any anti-smoking laws, but smoking was not permitted in my workplace (electronic equipment). This helped me considerably. During this time, two places were off limits, poker games and bars. It was a rough six months.
If you believe tht 2nd hand smoke is a health hazard, then smoking sections that are not closed off are ridiculous. There are conflicting reports on this subject, but that same debate raged concerning smoking.
I can't make a judgment on the fairness of the law, since it
makes no difference to me; however, none of my friends who smoke are complaining.
I'll certainly complain. I used to go out about three times a week and have been out twice since the smoking ban, both times to places where I'm legally allowed to smoke. I reckon that I've saved myself quite a bit of money, but I'm going a bit stir-crazy being inside.
(This really pisses me off. If this keeps up we may soon start seeing a proposal for injunctions shutting down the city after 1 AM :angry: ! Sorry if I sound angry but this health zealotry by Bloomberg is getting out of hand. Please sign http://www.petitiononline.com/nycsm619/ and feel free to spread the word.)
SMOKE-BAN ENFORCEMENT BEGINS ISSUING FINES
By STEPHANIE GASKELL (NY POST)
April 30, 2003 -- The city dished out 71 warnings for illegal puffing during the first month of Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban - and starting tomorrow, bar owners will face fines if they let customers light up.
May 1 will mark the end of the Health Department's one-month "grace period" that helped New Yorkers get used to the law, which bans smoking in all bars and restaurants. During the past month, owners faced only a warning.
But beginning tomorrow, businesses caught violating the law can be fined $200 for the first offense, and face increasing penalties after that.
Three violations within 12 months could cost them their license.
The department has 100 inspectors combing the city for violators, plus an extra dozen who will work night shifts to hit bars and restaurants.
In the past month, inspectors visited more than 3,000 businesses, including unlikely places such as day-care centers, according to spokesman Greg Butler.
They cited 71 establishments, including 65 bars and restaurants.
The city is not citing smokers themselves, just the business owners.
The city law allows smoking in cigar bars that earn more than 10 percent of their revenue from the sale of tobacco products, single-owner operated bars and special smoking rooms. An outdoor cafe may permit smoking in 25 percent of its seats.
But earlier this month, Gov. Pataki signed into law an even tougher smoking ban, which supersedes the city law.
The state law, which takes effect July 23, allows smoking only in cigar bars.
Rob Bookman, president of the New York Nightlife Association, said he doesn't anticipate a large number of bars being shut down because of enforcement of the law.
"It would be hard to see it getting to three tickets," he said. "That would just be stupid."
Bar and restaurant workers agree and say they're ready.
"We began enforcement of the law from Day One, so May 1 doesn't really change anything for us," said Ian Duke, general manager of Prohibition on the Upper West Side.
"People have been very respectful and tolerant of the law."
Jimmy Rodriguez, who owns Jimmy's Downtown on 57th Street, said he's expecting a shipment of big ashtrays today to put out on the sidewalk for smokers who are forced to go outside.
"I've just told my employees to ask people to smoke outside and to be as kind as you can to the guests," he said.
David Rabin, co-owner of Lotus nightclub in the Meatpacking District, is handing out written notices informing his customers of the ban.
"We are very grateful for your business and hope that you will continue to patronize Lotus despite our need to enforce the ban," the letter reads.
The letter also lists e-mail addresses for Pataki, Bloomberg and other politicians so that customers can write to ask them to lift the ban.