Smoke Free…What A Relief!
I’m sure most of you have already heard about the new bans (ok, semi-new) on smoking in restaurants that have popped up all over the country. It started out with public buildings and now it’s spreading…the mayor of NYC even banned smoking outside. Now, I don’t enjoy secondhand smoke, but even I think this is a bit silly… like taking the ship right to ludicrous speed (“they’ve gone to plaid”). I mean, how can they possibly enforce it? At any rate, the bans on smoking are popping up everywhere…and it turns out that it’s the venue owners themselves who are responsible. Bars and clubs all over are starting to go smoke free…all by themselves.
In New Orleans, the newest club to jump on this bandwagon is DBA. The owner himself had stopped going to his own club because it was too smoky, so he decided it should be smoke free. While smokers will complain about discrimination…etc, most of the owners and managers at newly smoke free venues say that the smokers don’t really care about having to go outside…they’re just mad that the rules are changing. That’s a very typical sentiment in the NOLA area…let’s just keep doing what we’ve always done because we’ve always done it, and don’t make me change anything because I’m used to this routine. It’s an ironic mindset considering New Orleans’ reputation for artistic innovation.
However controversial it may be, smoke free is good news for the people who work and play music in these places. We as musicians can breathe a little bit easier knowing that there are a bunch of smoke free places to play. That’s the one thing I always dreaded about playing out: lot’s of smoke, constant coughing, getting sick a LOT more often…well, that and the sloppy drunk people who always try to break the equipment…but I digress. It’s really just good business sense. If your employees can stay healthier, then you have fewer headaches as a business owner/manager.
To learn more about the smoke free movement and smoke free venues in Louisiana, check out www.letsbetotallyclear.org. I tried to find a good site for the national smoke free movement…but I couldn’t find one that was any good. If you happen to find one, let me know.
Happy breathing y’all!