I have a musician friend with years of experience playing in bars. Her present gig is a smoke-filled venue with poor ventilation. Throaty-sounding after a weekend of singing and swallowing smoke, she fondly reminisced about the much cleaner air in the casinos of Reno, Nevada, where she used to play.
“They had these big Smoke Eaters,” she said, referring to the extensive attention and expense casino owners paid to scrubbing the air with state-of-the-art filtration units. “And they worked!”
She makes me wonder if more restaurants and bars had made similar investments in cleaning the air, there might have been more compromise between smokers and nons.
Did restaurateurs try this and I missed it? Do I just eat and drink in the wrong places?
A big show of air-cleaning earlier in the Clean Air debate might have convinced a lot of moderate non-smokers that a compromise was possible. If the only choice is between total smoking bans or totally ignoring the comfort of non-smokers, many moderates will vote for the ban. This lack of choice has made at least some compromise-friendly non-smokers line up with the zealots who believe that cigarette smoke can travel through walls and drift upwind. This is the group that chants, “There is no safe level of cigarette smoke,” and “We pledge to end all tobacco use by (enter date here).”
I know a local tavern owner who’s kept up nights worrying about his bar being made to go smoke-free and losing his business. But he hasn’t yet installed expensive and effective Smoke Eaters. Might installing them win his position some public sympathy and head off his nightmare?
Maybe he doesn’t like to gamble. At least not at the casino.