My Eight Year Old Prefers Marlboro Lights(Not Really)

I recently got an email from a friend who asked if I had eaten at a new restaurant in town. I told him that I had but that I hadn’t been back. Not that the food or service was bad, but…well, I’ll let him tell you:

“Me and (his wife) and the baby were gonna’ eat there the other night but when we asked for non-smoking it was in the same room as smoking. The whole room was a cloud of smoke and we just said no thanks, we will go somewhere else! I mean at least put those of us that choose not to expose ourselves and our 4-month old to floating cancer in another room!”

I understand where he is coming from. My family and I don’t patronize restaurants where we are forced to share the air with those who choose to smoke and are allowed to smoke in the same room with us. Sometimes that means driving out of the way but it is worth it not to have to inhale someone else’s airborne toxins. Certainly, any adult who chooses to smoke has every right to do so, but shouldn’t my family and I have the right, as non-smokers, to not inhale secondhand smoke? It has been well documented that secondhand smoke poses a serious health risk to those who are exposed to it. If you were at a restaurant sitting a few tables away from someone who had had several beers, you wouldn’t like if they kept walking over to your table to burp in your face. All you wanted to do was to go somewhere and enjoy a nice meal and relax and having someone blow their previously inhaled air into your personal space would not only be a bit disgusting, but would probably also diminish your enjoyment of your meal.

This is not an indictment of smokers. I once was a smoker myself. I have friends and acquaintances who smoke. Smokers aren’t bad, evil people. The habit of smoking, however, is dangerous and those of us who choose not to smoke shouldn’t have to involuntarily. Especially our children.

I hear lots of business owners, particularly owners of restaurants, who say that a smoking ordinance would hurt their business. May I ask a question? If you allow smoking in your restaurant I know that my family is not the only family who will choose not to eat there. How is that not hurting your business? My family eats out almost every night of the week, too! The city of Montgomery has a smoking ordinance which allows restaurants to choose whether they will allow smoking or not. If they do, then the whole restaurant has to allow smoking. There is no non-smoking area at all. Outback Steakhouse is a non-smoking establishment. In fact, they chose to be non-smoking well before Montgomery’s ordinance was even enacted. If you happen to drive by there on a Friday night around 6:30 or so, take a look at how many people are waiting outside for a table and you will see quite a crowd. It would appear that being a non-smoking restaurant hasn’t hurt their business at all. I might even go so far as to say it helped their business!

Has the time come for Wetumpka to consider some sort of smoking ordinance? Would any council member be willing to address this subject? Would there be a great hue and cry against such an ordinance? Is it even an issue people care about? What do you think?

12 thoughts on “My Eight Year Old Prefers Marlboro Lights(Not Really)

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  1. We've had smoking ordinances here in all places whose sales are less than 60% Alcohol (or something like that) for as long as I can remember. People get around it by allowing smoking on patios or poarches. But the argument that businesses are endangered by forcing them to comply with what is for the greater good of their patrons has always been a weak argument. Regulating businesses almost always ends up as a win-win for the consumer and the market.

  2. I don't think most people mind if a business allows smoking. I don't. I just don't want to have to sit in the middle of a cloud of it while I'm eating. When I smoked, I went outside to do it even if the restaurant allowed it. I think that Montgomery's ordinance requires that a restaurant that allows both has to have separate rooms with separate ventilation systems. Bars and places like that are a bit of a different story.I think your point that these ordinances usually work out well for everyone involved is a good one. Good post, Robert!

  3. Ok. Well I think we all know what place you are talking about. And I agree with your issue. I do not go anywhere for dinner that allows smoking. I don't want to eat it. I recently ran into the owner of that establishment and he told me the reason he was going to make it smoking was that he felt like business would pick up if he did so. I'm not in that business anymore so I can't say that's a terrible decision, but it sure seems like it to me. Wetumpka is a small town and we are very family oriented. The majority of my social activities revolve around my children and that is true for most of the people I know. I get the distinct impression that that place is intended to be a bar, not necessarily a family friendly environment. Which I honestly think is a mistake. I ate there once. I thought the food was good. I got a dozen oysters for $6.00 and one of my kids ate for free. The service was great as well. Its a shame because now I know I can't take them back.As far as it being more of a "grown-up" place to go, I don't know that allowing smoking would have much benefit if it WERE just a bar. If I want to see live music, I go to places that allow smoking OUTSIDE so that I don't have to leave there with that disgusting "bar film" of smoke and other people's body odor all over me. Saying "come to our place and when you get home you will have to leave your clothes on the porch" isn't really a selling point to me. But maybe thats just me.

  4. Welcome back, Nicky D. I couldn't agree with you more on all of your points. When I heard that this place would essentially be a restaurant until 9:00 p.m. at which point it would become a bar I knew it wouldn't get a lot of business for us. It is not at all unusual for us to still be at a restaurant eating around that time. Gigi and I actually ate at a place a couple of years ago where we literally had to leave our clothes outside. It was terrible! Excellent points!

  5. I'm sure I know the place you are talking about. I hate the smoke and the noise. Not a place for peaceful dining. If the smokers could smell the way they smell to us they would stop smoking.

  6. I believe restaurants should either be smoke free or have seperate rooms. Having it seperated in the same room is quite pointless. My husband is a smoker, I bounce back and forth with it but 99.9 percent of the time we sit in the non-smoking section when we go out and if they don't offer that we don't normally go back.

  7. The smoke doesn't know it's not supposed to float over into the non-smoking section does it? Funny how everyone seems to understand that but the restaurant owners who do this.

  8. I think we need to call the manager once a week and tell him as long as it is a smoking restaurant, we will not go there. I won't even buy gas from a station that I have to go in that allow smoking-and I am a former smoker.

  9. I think that's a good idea RR, from one former smoker to another.Betsy…thanks for reading and for the idea. Spread the word.

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