Govenor Perdue of North Carolina signed into law a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants which will take effect next year. I know we are not the first state to pass such a law, but it is pretty big news for a tobacco state. Personally, I think it is long overdue.
The argument against is always about the freedom of a businessman to do what he likes in his place of business, but it is a false premise. A restaurant is not allowed to keep a dirty kitchen. A bar cannot serve beer that is gone bad. No matter how you try to divide places into smoking and non-smoking, the smoke pervades. The smell persists.
In all fairness, I have no issue with people wanting to smoke if they want. I wouldn’t do it in their place, but I also don’t want to share the experience. I did see there were some provisions for cigar bars to be allowed to operate. You go to such a place specifically to smoke, so that seems fair enough. I also saw that the hookah bars did not get such a provision and that is unfortunate, as again, the clientele of such a place are there because of the smoking-related activities. I was personally open to the idea of some bars being for smokers, though it looks like that did not get included either.
However, food and smoke do not mix. Part of the enjoyment of food comes in the smell. You know how you don’t taste as well when you have a cold? Regular exposure to smoke (and nicotine especially) deadens the taste buds and lessens the sense of smell. Both will interfere with your enjoyment of a meal. I’ll go further. I like a beer. Over time, my tastes have run to the hand-crafted ales and the Belgian dubbel and tripel. Some folks say that beer and smoking go together, but in my opinion, a beer that is improved by smoking is not a very good beer.
So anyway, I am pleased by this development. I have already noticed a growth of bars with excellent beer selections in town. I look forward to trying them all out, smoke-free.