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A Smoke-Free Vacation

March 19, 2009 Smoke Free, Travel 23 Comments

On Monday I returned from a 9-day trip to the states of Washington & Oregon.  Both are states with bans on smoking in public places. Most of the trip was spent in the City of Seattle.  Going out to eat was never a chore of having to wade through various lists of non-smoking restaurants as I do here.  Instead we could focus on the location, menu and price.

One day was spent visiting the small mountain town of Granite Falls, WA and the bay side town of Poulsbo, WA.  Granite Falls is not a tourist town.  It has only a few restaurants.  Without the smoking ban they few restaurants in town would have all had smoking.  This would leave persons with no choice but to endure the smoke if they wanted to eat out.  Poulsbo, on the other hand, does cater to the tourist crowd so some of its places might have been non-smoking without the ban.    As with Seattle, we could select our dining options based on factors other than smoking.

Saturday we drove to Portland for an overnight stay.  Our downtown hotel was across the street from numerous gay bars.  We visited three that night.  All were very busy.  Gay bars are notoriously smokey.  But these were smoke-free thanks to Oregon’s smoking ban.  We met up with friends for lunch on Sunday but our first choice had a long wait so we went to another restaurant.  If business was hurt by the smoking ban you couldn’t tell.

Smokers outside a Portland gay bar huddle under an umbrella to get out of the rain.
Smokers outside a Portland gay bar huddle under an umbrella to get out of the rain.

Having to seek out non-smoking places is a major hassle.  Not having to worry about finding non-smoking places truly was a vacation.  I’m established here in St. Louis but if I weren’t I’d consider relocating to a state that placed greater importance on the health of the public. I personally don’t care if someone wants to smoke cigarettes (or marijuana) in their home.  I just don’t want to be forced to inhale their smoke while in establishments serving the general public.


Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. john w. says:

    It rains in Portland?

  2. Jimmy Z says:

    As you noted, both these states have statewide bans – smokers don’t have the option of going a mile (or ten) to find someplace that “welcomes” them. I wouldn’t object to a statewide ban here; the problem with one in just the city is it would place our small businesses at a potential significant competetive disadvantage. Where I live, the city limits is maybe a mile away. If I were a smoker, going to Maplewood or Shrewsbury would be a no-brainer. And, as a non-smoker, my relativelty-small universe of smoke-free bars (Royale and Schlafly, to name a couple) are more than enough to meet my needs. I vote with my wallet and it seems to be working . . .

  3. Melissa says:

    I know the feeling — I was just trying to find a smokefree place to watch Mizzou tomorrow night. It would be nice if I could just go to the local sports bar. It is a chore. The social norm has changed and Missouri has to wake up and face the fact that more of us are more concerned about our health than someone’s bad habit. And everyone should be able to work in a smokefree workplace. It’s a requirement for me per my doctor.

  4. joe h says:

    My friends and I just had the same conversation. No good places to watch all the games without smoke. Any suggestions?
    Or… if you’re looking to start a business to meet an unmet demand, think smoke-free sports bar.

  5. Equals42 says:

    Can’t we put it on the state ballot or something? I don’t generally like initiatives as they are often too complex for voters to make informed decisions but this is dead simple. For or against a statewide smoking ban in public places. Since 3/4 of us don’t smoke you’d think it should be an east decision.

    I’ll wait for the normal whiners who place value on a persons’ “right” to do something so patently stupid it harms their health as well as mine for no benefit other than their pleasure.

  6. John M. says:

    Steve I am glad you had a good vacation. I am also happy that you have found a resolution by encouraging a voluntary ban, imposed by the owners themselves. But this continued rant is wearing thin and uninteresting. I get it already. No disrespect meant, I have said more than once how much I appreciate the obvious time spent informing us of issues in Downtown, But this fixation on smoking in public is turning into a very boring crusade. How much more can we be enlightened?

  7. Tim says:

    While I generally find smoking repulsive, I will still argue that smoking on the sidewalk is more “public” than smoking in a bar will ever be. I can walk past a smokey bar without too much trouble, but it is a little more intrusive when all the smokers are out in front of the bar in the pedestrian walkway.

  8. Steve, neither the air of St. Louis nor Portland is smoke-free or clean. Breathing urban air 24/7 carries about the same risk of lung cancer and heart disease Surgeon General Carmona claims people suffer living with a smoker. If you are worried about a little smoke in a restaurant, why do you live downtown?

  9. john w. says:

    Again, useless and stupid analogies. There is a plethora of contributing factors to the noxiousness of urban air, many of which cannot be easily identified, while vehicle exhaust is obviously among the biggest contributers to urban air pollution. The nearly singular mode of transit ANYWHERE, let alone in cities, is the gasoline-powered vehicle and so to live in a developed society is to be exposed to (and ulimately make use of) the externality vehicles. Stagnancy levels of air pollution vary from location to location due to regional wind patterns, topographical forms, climate, etc, and is certainly affected by the density of population.
    To escape the externalities of vehicle use is to move away from the connectedness to jobs, education, commerce, personal relationships and cultural enrichment that is obviously the lives of many, many people. This is what you are suggesting that Steve P. and other city dwellers consider doing presumably based upon the construct of ‘choice’. To weigh equally the choice to live in civil, urban society and the choice to smoke cigarettes or not to smoke, or to be exposed to smoke, is plainly as ludicrous as whatever counter-scientific arguments to continue to present that you hope will neutralize the arguments of common sense. Smoking is stupid. The choice to smoke is stupid. Continuing to defend smoking while attempting to compare its risks to the everyday exposures to urban air pollution only demonstrates the desperation of your losing argument. You are going to lose, so I’ll just offer the same choice to you that you suggested Steve P. consider: Move out of the city, and go somewhere that you can flick your Bic freely and move a day closer to Emphysema.

  10. Occasional smoking in a bar is not stupid. It provides a lot of pleasure in exchange for a little risk. Living in the city also provides a great deal of pleasure in exchange for certain increased risks. I simply wondered why the tiny, tiny possible risks of brief exposure to smoke in a restaurant consumed his attention while urban living that subjected him to much more dangerous quantities of smoke didn’t concern him. I didn’t suggest that Steve move anywhere.

  11. john w. says:

    Occasional smoking anywhere is indeed stupid, as addictive substances lead to addictive behavior and in the case of tobacco use also leads to disease. There really can be no credible defense of smoking, but I’m sure you’ll continue to try and try. Your question to Steve about why he lives downtown was of course a challenge to the personal choice he made to live there, and implicity offered as an alternative the choice to vacate if he is so bothered by ‘smoke’. I can personally attest to the effects of direct exposure to cigarette smoke in enclosed environments, but don’t recall any instances of scorched lungs and choking cough after walking the streets or simply living in the city. I certainly donte recall the need to immediately wash all of the clothes I was wearing while in such an enclosed, smoky environment, including jackets, hats, gloves, etc., rather than leave them in a laundry hamper because the stench of the stinkweed is too powerful.
    Several years ago, I discovered a sexy little burn hole in an expensive coat that I had recently purchased, after having been at a bar, and I’m pretty confident that walking in the city air didn’t leave such a mark.

  12. Tony Palazzolo says:

    I’m always a little stunned at this conversation. 40% of St Louis establishments are completely smoke-free. A vast majority of the rest either restrict it and/or ventilate it. There are plenty of choices for people who hate smoke, people who smoke and those that don’t care.

    I would be a rarity to have to deal with smoke in a dining area St Louis Restaurant.

    [slp — I’ve listed before a long list of places I used to visit. Eating out for me is now a major challenge except for the same 10 places.]

  13. constant change says:

    I smoke, and would vote for a restaraunt ban, but, gimme a little covered area inside the ropes at the bar, where I can take my beer and kill myself in peace. Can we add a clause that bans it if you are IN the parade too?

  14. Brian S. says:

    Does that 40% figure include every single McDonald’s, Subway, and every other fast-food restaurant? I’m guessing it does. The pool of smoke-free bars and restaurants from which to choose would be much smaller when the numerous, multi-location fast-food joints are taken out of the equation.

  15. Equals42 says:

    I love the argument the car exhaust kills you too. Cars serve a purpose for transportation. We may argue there are better alternatives but they DO something useful. What does smoking do beside give some selfish pleasure while inflicting danger and discomfort to others? Drinking can be done right next to me without chance of liver damage.

    Smoking is stupid. Smoking in public is reckless and selfish. Do what you wish at home but leave the rest of us clean, smoke-free environs.

    Steve should continue harranging smokers. It is an issue that has not been fixed yet.

  16. Tony Palazzolo says:

    Here is a the problem with a ban. I was leaving the office max last year on Chippewa. I was making a right off the side street onto Kingshighway. Directly across the street there are two bars side by side. Both of them dive bars. Bars that most of you wouldn’t go into (I could be wrong). I’d bet that nearly all of the customers smoked. If a ban comes to St Louis a place that none of you would go, a place that all the customers smoked would either have to do one of two things. They would have to illegaly allow people to smoke or follow the law and ban it. The second option would at the least hurt their business and most likely would kill it. Before you jump me about everyone would just go outside which is partly true. Some of the customers would just stay home. In Columbia, bars lost on average 11% of their business.

    I guess the question is – are you for a ban in places you would never go. Or is it acceptable for their to be “smoking” bars and restaurants.

  17. John M. says:

    Equals 42: You are exactly what I now expect from this discussion, self righteous indignation towards smokers. I am sure everything you do is so pure in comparison to the poor loser lighting up. For the record I am all for not subjecting you to the ghastly carcinogen in your womb like existence.
    However it is this pompous display of self adulation that I despise. Everyones mark in this world is so insubstantial to its effect, that only the smoker dooms the masses with this paltry by comparison impact the other 75% have. Sure that is true, because there are no other problems in this world than a hint of smoke disturbing the unadulterated liver submersion process you must all be seeking.
    I am not against the issue, and I am rooting for it to take place, but I thought the last post on action instead of excessive pageantry or legislation was the right way to go. This post only highlighted what I characterize as posturing outside an otherwise great solution previously posed. So I called it out.
    So in light of your last thought 42, “haranguing the smokers,” is actually supportive of my criticism.

  18. k.crown says:

    there are no arguments new under the sun. let us get over and on with the inevitable – the banning of smoking in public places. let us catch up to other parts of the country or remain a backwater haven for those who insist it their right to publicily blacken their lungs and the lungs of others…

  19. k.crown says:

    oops, misspelling: publICKily, to make the bias perfectly clear.

  20. Renarl112 says:

    I visited this all inclusive resort called charlisangels and i was smoking Cigarette and it was not a problem while at the resort although there is a smoking section. I thought it was cool being able to enjoy an erotic adult vacations resort and not have to worry about smoking sections.

  21. Renarl112 says:

    I visited this all inclusive resort called charlisangels and i was smoking Cigarette and it was not a problem while at the resort although there is a smoking section. I thought it was cool being able to enjoy an erotic adult vacations resort and protecting the ones who don’t smoke although the other resorts are not like that.

  22. RV Reviews says:

    hooray so that is a smoke free vacation ahaha…

  23. zygor guides says:

    A look at public policy, urban planning and related politics in the St. Louis region!


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