The debate over the current state of the New York City Smoking Ban got the full Sunday Styles treatment, some two months after the issue was first discussed in this space. The Times reporter went deep into the bowels of the hottest nightlife venues and decides to name names, saying they personally inhaled second hand smoke inside Goldbar and Avenue, and learned of venues like Tenjune having been cited by the Department of Health for turning a blind eye to their patrons lighting up. Both the article and Elliott Marcus from DOH portray it as another example of the privileged doing whatever they want, with Marcus saying, “it’s these high-end places for people who think that the rules don’t apply to them.” But that's an over simplified theory.
The article, one of its key "sources," and Mr. Marcus would like to make it seem like people break the law for a cheap thrill and because they think they are above it. But people are smoking in these places because: a) smoking while drinking is apparently enjoyable and, b) these venues have learned that getting caught isn't a big deal. The big losers in all of this are the people killing themselves with ciggies (first and second hand) and the City of New York, who's laws are being openly flouted and is in no position to financially capitalize on the situation.
Overturning the ban is simply ridiculous, and a trend piece every twelve months hasn't accomplished anything. It looks like our previous suggestion of creating an opt in clause coupled with stiff fines seems to be the strongest one out there. Now that the secret's out, it seems best to leave the trend pieces behind and figure out what to do about it.
· Blowing Smoke at a Ban [NYT]
· Six Years After Ban, Smoking Returns to NYC's Bars and Clubs [~ENY~]