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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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Andrew / December 28, 2007 2:21 PM

I figure most bars will be pretty relaxed about smoking on New Years Eve, and a few will flaunt the law after January 1. It'll be enforced more aggressively than the foie gras ban, though.

CC / December 28, 2007 4:12 PM

I agree, Andrew. The story on Chicago Tonight last night said that venues can be reported for violating the ban three times before fines go into effect. I figure most bars will risk "strike one" on NYE in order to not have to try to get already-drunk patrons to stop smoking as of midnight.

annie / December 28, 2007 4:19 PM

I agree. I think lots of people are quitting after the 1st (myself included) and if you try to stop someone from their last night of smoking, serious brawls will ensue. Not from me, I'm a lover not a fighter.

skafiend / December 28, 2007 4:43 PM

No one will try to enforce the ban at exactly midnight. That's kind of silly. "Ok, everyone it's 12:00 and 10 seconds. Put 'em out NOW!"

I just fully expect every bar in the city to be packed January 1 and on since, you know, so many people said the reason they don't go into bars was because of all the smoking. No excuse now, right? Unless that pesky consuming of alcohol bothers you.

Also, individual patrons who smoke can be fined too, right? how many strikes do they get before they're ticketed (and I don't mean Lucky Strikes... HEY-YOOOOO!!!!)

And, yes, it will be enforced more aggressively than fois gras because more people smoke than eat fois gras so that's more cash for Daley's re-election fund.

Although it would have been cool to see people standing 15 feet away from the door of a restaurant eating fois gras.

mike-ts / December 28, 2007 5:41 PM

No one is going to stop smoking at the crack of midnight, unless it's part of a gimmick put on by the bar. I agree with Andrew and CC, no bar will have its security yanking smokey treats from its liquored-up patrons' lips once we're into 2008.

I'm all for smoke free venues, and if smoking bothers me so much, I'll choose to go to a non-smoking place instead. I hate the gubmint forcing the issue, same as helmet and seat belt laws.

It would be cool, though, to see secret smoking hotspots pop up, smoke-easy's instead of speak-easy's, where you knock on a side door, some dude slides the eye slot, and you say the magic word to get into the smoke-filled room to get a beer. Trouble is, some idiot would post the info on Craig's List, and the police would bust the place with a sting.

Amanda / December 29, 2007 5:05 PM

NO, the revelers will keep on puffin'. Although I don't understand all the hullabaloo over a smoking ban. I've been in other cities where this has been enacted (e.g. NY), and yes, for a while people are are unnerved, but I think people are underestimating the public's need to get out and drink in a public space. Somehow I don't see Joe Blow (no pun intended) avoiding public contact, huddled with the shades down with a six pack in his basement just because of a ban.

C-Note / December 29, 2007 8:14 PM

I love predicting the future... Let me see... I can't see New Year's Day, but I can see the Cubs blowing their playoff shot again. Against the Red Sox again, actually.

I liked that article about the cop swimming around Lake Michigan. I think some other cops oughta go with him. Or if they don't have enough vacation, just have 'em swim out toward the middle of the lake, as far as they can go.

Bill B / December 29, 2007 9:40 PM

You know, I thought I remembered hearing something about bars being allowed to keep smoking as long as they could prove that 65% of their revenue (or something like that) came from alcohol. I haven't heard anyone throwing around that factoid in a while though. Anyone know the deal there?

gungalagunga / December 30, 2007 2:02 AM

Trouble is, some idiot would post the info on Craig's List, and the police would bust the place with a sting.

ya know, some chumps like me rely on craigslist for info like that. sorry if it breaks up your little farty party.

M / December 30, 2007 3:57 AM

That was Chicago's law - the state law is stricter and supercedes all of the Chicago loopholes.

Brian / December 30, 2007 4:04 AM

I’m predicting Marshall McGarrity’s will see an increase in business, even if that means they have to give up their liquor license.

I'm a smoker. I can totally understand banning smoking in restaurants. Fine. I can even (maybe, but not really) understand banning smoking in bars. Fine. But some of the provisions of this law go too far. Patios and beer gardens, for instance, are not exempt. And 15 feet from doors and windows. So, I'm supposed to go stand in the middle of the street on the yellow line to smoke? Hey, gubmint, quit being our nanny.

Brian / December 30, 2007 4:07 AM

Also, why January 1? Why couldn't it be June 1? It would be nice to ease into it, rather than suddenly be forced out into the arctic cold to have a cigarette.

Brad / December 30, 2007 9:04 AM

@Brian: What I don't get is why smokers are completely unable to see the other side of things, perhaps its because you believe that smoking doesnt kill people.

Sure, you feel inconvenienced because you want to be able to smoke anywhere but what about my desire to not smoke or to not be forced to sit in your smoke to enjoy a bar.

If you want to smoke everywhere then invent a bubble that keeps the smoke only around your head. Your freedom to smoke ends as soon as it infringes upon my freedom not to. When you can control where your smoke goes then you have a legitimate argument, until then...

Leelah / December 30, 2007 10:03 AM

If it can happen in England, it can happen in Chicago!

Leelah / December 30, 2007 10:04 AM

If it can happen in England, it can happen in Chicago. I'm not sure how strict bars will be about it at midnight, though.

I am really excited about the prospect of smoke-free hair and clothes after going out!

C-Note / December 30, 2007 3:34 PM

Brad- you are correct for the most part. Yes, smoking kills people, and I'm sure Brian is aware of that. You are correct that, in general, Brian's freedom to smoke ends with your freedom not to. But your argument is valid (at least until Tuesday) only on your private property, or on public property. Not on someone else's private property.

However, what we're talking about is Private Property. At least ideally, Bars are the Private Property of the Proprietor. If the Proprietor allows his customers to smoke, and you don't enjoy it, you are free to leave, or to avoid the business altogether. You can't go into the Proprietor's business and tell his customers not to smoke, because your right not to smoke is pre-empted by the property rights of the Proprietor, unless smoking is in violation of the law. Which, of course, it will be very shortly.

Unfortunately, however, your argument will gain a degree of legal validity, albeit questionable. But the rationale does not involve your health as a patron, actually, but the health of the employees of the establishment.

This is what is called "representative democracy." Your representatives claim to represent the interests of people who haven't complained of the conduct that the representatives want to prohibit. Have you ever heard bar/restaurant employees complaining about cigarette smoke, oven smoke, fryer smoke, or any other smoke?

Brad / December 30, 2007 5:55 PM

I'm sort of amazed that someone with the intelligence to explain the legal argument to me in clear terms and great depth still thinks smoking is a good idea.

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