OK, I know it’s old

April 14, 2003

OK, I know it’s old news by now, and I’m not a smoker anyway, but dammit, the “2002 New York City Smoke-Free Air Act” is pissing me off. It’s a public health hazard to allow people to smoke in bars? Why not get rid of all the alcohol in bars too? Studies have shown that alcohol use is linked to delinquency, unprotected sex, boorish behavior, and public urination and/or vomiting, after all. It’s not as if removing cigarette smoke from NYC’s air will even make it worth breathing; what with all the trash, cars, sewers, buses, subways, hippies, and other sources of noxious fumes, there are days when the smog is so bad you can’t see the Chrysler building from Hoboken.

“Career bartenders” and other such people allegedly complained heavily, and for years, about the allegedly ungodly work environments they had to put up with. I hate to say it, but that’s an occupational hazard that comes with the territory, guys. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to serve drinks in a bar, for Christ’s sake. Don’t run to the fucking government crying about a risk inherent in your career path; if a bar owner wants to make his bar smoke-free that’s one thing, but instituting quality-of-life legislation so that smokers can’t smoke near you is unreasonable.

There are plenty of jobs in NYC that are free of cigarette smoke. Bartending is now apparently one of them. There are also plenty of jobs where you get no tips from customers. Bartending is now one of those as well, since when smokers are made to feel unwelcome in bars they end up staying home and drinking and smoking freely in their apartments, wondering where the hell the strip clubs in Times Square went. Well, bartenders, you got your smoke-free workplaces by managing to greatly reduce demand for the services you provide. Funny how that works.

UPDATE — I apologize for not thinking about how this law would affect bouncers, especially since those effects are fatal. It looks like smokers who decide to go to bars anyway, and can’t smoke, become very very irritable. I’d have never guessed…

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