Nobody Smokes in L.A., Even on the Patio


In news that falls in the makes-me-scream-obscenities-at-the-office category, my late, great hometown of Los Angeles has just voted to ban smoking on restaurant patios. Where, one might point out, there ARE NO CEILINGS. God, who invented both the margarita and the patio (and California), was at press time weeping for a simpler age. When, among other things, men spelled their first names right:

Photo of an angry God by Robert Gauthier, L.A. Times

Councilman Greig Smith said he proposed the measure more than a year ago after noticing that he was often choked up after being forced to walk through smoking patios to get inside his favorite restaurants — a practice that he said was particularly dangerous to children.

"We have an opportunity, folks, to extend and continue the great fight to get people out of the habit of smoking, to continue to protect the public health, which is really one of our main focuses and our responsibilities," said Smith, who added he was contacted by members of the Legislature and officials in cities who hope to adopt similar measures.

The city already bars smoking at parks, beaches and within 25 feet from playgrounds, sports fields and picnic areas. No one appeared at the meeting to oppose the extended ban. But the ordinance was roundly praised by representatives from groups including the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Assn. and California's Clean Air Project, as well as downtown resident Peggy Moore.

In related news, Southern California is being pummeled by biblical rainstorms.

Reason TV on ridiculous California smoking bans below:

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  1. Fuck ’em. This is why God also invented federalism. So people who want to live with nanny’s hand jammed up their ass can do so, and the rest of us don’t have to.

  2. Didn’t I see that lady on the Simpsons??? “Thinking of the children” justifies anything.

  3. “We have an opportunity, folks, to extend and continue the great fight to get people out of the habit of smoking… which is really one of our main focuses and our responsibilities,”

    That’s some tasty paternalism. Why does he even bother with the for-the-children lede when it’s so clearly about controlling adults?

  4. ‘noticing that he was often choked up after being forced to walk through smoking patios to get inside his favorite restaurants’…because it reminded him of a scene from ‘Steel Magnolias’ that he couldn’t be sure didn’t actually belong to ‘Terms of Endearment’.

    1. excellent comment – I was thinking something similar, although my comment would have included the phrase “squats to pee” — but that’s just me.

    2. Tell me, did people react like this decades ago when everybody (or at least about half the population) smoked? I’m too young to know life before anti-smoking regulations, but when I watch, say, Mad Men, I’m reminded that everybody used to be cool with it. Did people “choke up” back then? Did they complain about the smell, or claim to be allergic? Or did all that come about after the “risks” of secondhand smoke were made public? I’m curious.

      1. No, people had real problems to worry about back then. You know, commies, thermonuclear war, race riots, Dick York/Dick Sargent.

        1. Some people didn’t like being around cigarette smoke, and in non-public settings (offices, homes, etc.) would ask smokers to desist.

          It was handled like everyone involved was an adult. Those were the days.

      2. My memory is that some folks didn’t like the smell, and made comment about it. My parents smoked, but didn’t when we visited my Mom’s sister’s house; she asked so.
        The physical ‘responses’ seem to be hysterical reactions to the claimed dangers.
        In fact, I’ve never seen or heard of evidence that anyone exhibits clinical allergic reactions to tobacco smoke. Anybody see otherwise?

        1. Walking into a smoky room usually results in my getting a runny nose within a couple of minutes. By “runny nose” I mean “blow nose every 3-5 minutes or have mucous running down my face”. Sure, heavy-duty nasal allergies are nothing like anaphylactic shock, but it’s darn annoying. It pisses off the people around you too. No antihistamine is sufficiently effective at any dose permitted by the FDA to prevent this reaction. Maybe if they allowed you to dose by weight or severity something would work, but no joy on that front.

          Fortunately, I can avoid restaurants I know permit smoking, so I find this ban stupid.

          1. Well, that’s a smokey room. Would walking by a patio where someone is smoking bother you much?

            1. Not unless I deliberately positioned myself downwind and stayed there. Even with my severe allergies a quick pass through or around wouldn’t do anything. That’s why I think this guy is lying, there’s no way such momentary exposure causes “choking”.

      3. did people react like this decades ago?

        No. We have “evolved” into whiny little bitches. “Progressives,” if you will.

      4. No, in those days people would be considered hypochondriacs if they reacted like that. (That’s a word you don’t hear anymore, hypochondria has become institutionalized.) Nonsmokers would keep ashtrays in their house and have them ready for smoking visitors. The smell thing is a meme that has just been going around in the last few years. You never heard mention of it in the days of Mad Men. But, even in those days, it was considered very impolite to blow smoke in someone’s face, or smoke in a confined space where someone objected, and rightly so. What I find funny now is that at parties, the smokers are regulated outside, while the pot smokers light inside. Used to be just the opposite!

        1. In fairness, pot does have a much more pleasing smell.

          1. Plus you can be arrested for pot. Cigarettes, not yet.

  5. Smoked salmon contains third-hand smoke. So do most barbecue items. Sounds incredibly carcinogenically crazy dangerous to me. Why is Greig composing such lightweight legislative leaves?

    1. I think the nannyist left should really push to ban barbeque. Mainly because it would finally motivate the right to end these fuckers.

      1. Cold. Dead. Sticky. Hands.

      2. OMG, outdoor campfires. Not only do they expose nearby campers to harmful secondhand smoke (not even filtered!) but they also raise the risk of forest fires (which also produce carcinogenic smoke!).

        All truly enviromentally conscious campers only use propane burners to cook and know that the *real* camping experience is all about shivering in the cold and dark in your thermal underwear.

        1. hush you.

          this is much too possible to even mention and I like my campfires.

  6. And why do nanny-ites of a certain age insist on referring to me and other members of the great unwashed as “folks?” That really gets under my skin because of the paternalistic tone that usually accompanies it. Gad I detest what these people aspire to.

  7. I want to know how much of this is being pushed by the insurance companies. Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ has banned smoking everywhere on campus. It’s not a state law, but a rule made by the President of the college. You can be fined, and if you don’t pay the fine, they can hold your transcript. I’ll bet they get a break on insurance premiums.

    CCC is Proud to Be Tobacco-Free!

  8. Fuck ’em. This is why God also invented federalism. So people who want to live with nanny’s hand jammed up their ass can do so, and the rest of us don’t have to.

    OK. OK. I’m with that, but couldn’t the nannyphiles take, I don’t know, Rochester or something? Seriously, Southern California is too nice to cede without a fight.

  9. Sooooo what about the exhaust fumes this dick-wad is chocking on as he walks from the parking lot to his favorite smoke-free establishment.

    And here’s a question. Smoking has been banned in Ohio in public places but somehow it’s still legal to sell ciggarettes. SO, what if I wanted to open a place that was specifically for smoking and smoking alone, and I had zero employees?

    1. Would you have robots, or do you mean just You would work in the store.

      If it was just you in your store, the state would have to protect you from yourself.

      Better just include the robots in the business plan.

  10. after being forced to walk through smoking patios to get inside his favorite restaurants At gunpoint?

  11. DAMMIT. I meant choking…

    umm and cigarettes.

  12. Tim, you forgot to add your byline.

    1. I was thinking that Matt wrote this one; it seems too short to be one of Tim’s.

      1. (To be fair, Tim does have a brief post today.)

      2. This: God, who invented both the margarita and the patio (and California), was at press time weeping for a simpler age. When, among other things, men spelled their first names right: [Greig]

        really seems like something Cavanaugh would write. I could be wrong, however.

        1. You lose!

          Cavanaugh is more allusive. And funny.

          1. Shit. EJM, I owe you a beer.

          2. And nicer.

  13. Predictably, Chad/Tony/Morris/etc will be along shortly to tell us why this is a good idea.

    We are soooo fucked.

    1. Haven’t seen them lately. Suicide pact, perhaps?

      1. That would be sweet, but the deaths of only three liberals won’t make an appreciable dent in our eventual demise.

  14. I grew up in California and was around to see Calabasas turn into a completely non-smoking (in public, at least) city. In Calabasas you aren’t allowed to smoke anyplace in the city where other people may be exposed to your second hand smoke. That has even been deemed to include apartment patios/balconies as well as residential backyards.

    Therefore, none of this really surprises me. It just makes me very sad.

    Imagine my surprise when I moved to Texas and found that there were bars and restaurants that allowed you to smoke and that somehow these businesses lived in perfect harmony with neighboring businesses that didn’t allow indoor smoking. It all comes down to the choice of the individual business owner, which is as it should be.

    I genuinely loved growing up in California. It really pains me to see what has happened to my home state.

  15. I apologise up front for the length of this comment.

    We’ve had these types of bans in Australia for several years now. The interesting thing is that, smoking at public restaurants and venues hasn’t decreased as a result; It’s just gone onto the sidewalk outside the venue. Councils then removed garbage bins and ash trays to try and dissuade us smokers (who are, in the main, fasitidious about putting extinguished butts in rubbish bins)and all of a sudden, there’s a massive increase in cigarette butt litter in our cities and suburbs. They then tried to introduce on-the-spot council fines but these fell away when our local city council realised their employees didn’t have the legal right to demand personal information from a “suspect”. We can’t smoke in bars, clubs or hotels unless there is a separate, outdoor, contained area (our liquor licencing laws are very strict on alcohol consumption on the street). So, if you go out for a drink to a place that doesn’t have a designated smoking area – you have to leave your drink unattended inside while you’re out on the footpath. You can see where this is going – no one I know ever leaves a drink unattended these days. So, smokers these days don’t go to restaurants, bars and other venues that don’t provide reasonable facilities for us as smokers. It has caused a massive loss of income for the tourism, hospitality and restaurant sectors in Australia, as patrons have voted with their feet. For the last five years we’ve ensured our holiday locations won’t cramp our style with 1930’s socialist rules about “being responsible” and “not being a burden on society”. We are adults; we have always paid taxes and Medicare (public health tax of 1.5% per annum) and have top private health insurance. It’s our bloody choice to smoke! And we do!

    1. The interesting thing is that, smoking at public restaurants and venues hasn’t decreased as a result; It’s just gone onto the sidewalk outside the venue.

      Much the same thing in NYC. I haven’t heard of any loss of profitability, but now smokers have to step outside to smoke, so they congregate around the doorways, which annoys the neighbors (more noise, more people loitering on the sidewalk, more smoke drifting up into your window) and has reportedly been correlated with an increase in people walking out on their bar tabs.

  16. What about the ‘Au Pair’ State called France? They are much more likely to smoke yet the bans went into effect there.

  17. Someone with a better grasp of physics explain to me how fully grown adults, exhaling smoke, at say, an average height of 5’10” bothers children? I learned in the Government Warehouse, at an early age that smoke rises, hence my crawling out of a burning building…per the instruction from the annual ‘fire safety/prevention’ instruction.

      1. You know, I’ve had just about enough to drink to give a shit about this. Does smoke rise? Yes or fucking No, I don’t want to know what it does in a wind-tunnel in fucking Holland. If, say an average American adult, 5’10” were smoking, out of doors, would the smoke rise? If an above average American child, 4′ flat came walking by, would he breathe anything negative (from the ciggy) in? That’s the argument. That’s it?

        1. More over, is the occasional whiff of cigarrette smoke as you pass through an outdoor patio going to give you anything other than a mild feeling of annoyance?

          1. I’m with you, and when I say I’m with you, I mean, I’m with you.

            Bullshit. You want your boot on my neck. Does FUCKING SMOKE RISE? Believe it or not, that Science is Settled. If it does, then feel free to help yourself (or one’s self) to a big bowl of dick, otherwise, admit it’s about control.

            Love All of Y’All (non-smoker)

            1. Does it matter whether smoke rises or not if you’re only exposed to it for a few seconds?

              Standing around a campfire inhaling the smoke is equivalent to smoking about two packs of cigarettes. Are we going to ban outdoor campfires and backyard barbeques?

              No? What? You’re not in favor of banning campfires and barbeques? You must want people to DIE!

              1. Standing around a campfire inhaling the smoke is equivalent to smoking about two packs of cigarettes.

                Do you have a source for that?

                here’s something else you might be interested in:


    1. Please consider the physics of a fully -grown adult of an average height of 5′ 10′ exhaling smoke… while seated on a couch, next to the 4′ child. Or the physics of any fume, no matter how buoyant, contaminating all of the air, no matter how dense, in a closed room. Or the car, a special joy. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have the choice to smoke in their own homes (or stinky cars) I’m just saying that the physics argument is a sidetrack, and going anywhere near the “oh, it’s not that bad for you, stop whining” argument is silly in the extreme, rhetorically speaking. Nobody ever made points by calling the other side stupid babies.

      Personally I equate having to breathe second-hand smoke with having dip-juice spat in my mouth, but the patio ban is just dumb.

  18. I’m a little confused here. Libertarians are all about freedom, but not when it impinges on other people’s freedoms. And yet a discussion about balancing smoker’s and no-smokers freedoms devolves into snarky BS about a nanny state. What gives?

    And does anybody really want to live in the sixties when everybody smoked every where and you couldn’t take your asthmatic kid anywhere? Now that’s freedom.

    1. Property rights are at the core of individual freedom. No-one has the “freedom” to force the owner of private property to allow (or not allow) smoking, or anything else. If I have the “right” to go on to your property and dictate what you are or are not allowed to do on it, that isn’t freedom, it’s force.

      Libertarians would be just as opposed to a rule mandating that property owners had to allow smoking on their property, whether they wanted it or not.

    2. There’s really no evidence that second hand smoke at concentrations likely to be present on an outdoor patio is harmful to anyone. Most especially someone who happens to walk by an catch a whiff.

      And since there is no harm, there is no impingement on freedom. Hence, you have absolutely no right to restrict the freedom of smokers on an outdoor patio.

      I’d also argue there probably isn’t much evidence that second hand smoke even does damange indoors, assuming theirs reasonable ventilation.

      The only proven cases of someone baing harmed by second hand smoke was the case of airline stewardesses who were forced to fly in a confined cabin on an aircraft with smokers for several hours every day.

      1. It’s reassuring to find a ‘reasonable’ person on this board who is much more concerned with the actual argument instead of trying to win the “i’m the biggest arrogant asshole contest”.

        This is the crucial question — what are the effects of second handsmoke on other people? The answer requires looking at the studies very carefully and making a judgment that can be used to create public.

        I’m ok with the criticism that the judgments made by policy makers may not be based on the science, but it is by no means a “settled” finding that second hand smoke does no damage.

        To the extent that smoking impinges on other people freedom to breathe decent air, it should be a problem for libertarians (and for me). This was the point I made at the outset — it is a valid question to debate without resorting to generalizations about ‘nanny-state’.

    3. My patio. Fuck you steve.

      1. My million watt stereo played in the middle of the night. My decaying animal carcasses on my front lawn. My nuclear bomb in the basement.

        You cool with that?

        1. If I’m smoking 9000 ciggaretes at time on my patio, and its making you not be able to sit on your patio, then we’d have a problem. But thats not what is being fucking discussed here is it, so stop trying to change the god damn subject, fucknutz. I’m on my patio. You say you can’t enjoy my patio, or don’t want to work on it, because my guests are smoking. Then I say, well then get the fuck off my fucking patio, you fucking busybody.

          1. I didn’t change the subject, I responded your adolescent reply which equated to ‘I can do whatever the fuck I want on my patio’. And of course you can’t do whatever the fuck you want as I pointed out.

            Your response about the 9000 cigarettes shows that you believe that there is some point at which your behavior infringes on my freedom.
            The only difference between us is where we want to draw the line. Drawing that line may be hard, but we should draw it based on actual facts (i.e. science of smoke and it’s effects on health).

    4. I’m a little confused here. Libertarians are all about freedom, but not when it impinges on other people’s freedoms.

      The smoker is free to smoke. You are free to go elsewhere. Your requirement that everyone in your vicinity cease doing what they want is an impingement on their freedoms. People declining to cease doing what they want in your vicinity is not an impingement on your freedom.

      See how this works?

      1. So if i am a carrier to an infectious deadly disease , you say I am free to go wherever I want to, yes?

    5. yes.

      1. And your cool with me walking by your children? I wish we could test out this commitment of yours.

  19. I don’t think nanny state is the right term. It’s a p*ssy state. People in this country have turned into a bunch of p*ssies. Look at this article from 1988, and tell me, from the smoking bans to the war on terror, how many reasons would you be scared sh*tless to try something like this 22 years on? And do you think you’d be questioned and released?…..gewanted=1

  20. People walk, ride and drive thru auto exhaust but can’t cope with 98% water vapor (cigarette smoke). No wonder the tourist industry is a dying industry in CA.

    To put it into perspective: According to the Surgeon Generals’ 1986 Report on Environmental Tobacco Smoke, a cigarette puts out a total of 3 mg of nitrogen oxide (NO) and 40 mg of carbon monoxide (CO). The 1995 EPA study on airplane emissions cites a single 747 takeoff/landing at about 115 pounds of NO and 32 pounds of CO.

    That’s 52 million mg of NO and 14 million mg of CO if you do the math.

    Doing a bit more math for a typical 500 takeoffs/landings per day shows us that the nice clean smokefree air being pumped into those terminals has the CO equivalent of over 160 million cigarettes and the NO of Eight and a Half BILLION cigarettes.

  21. I’m comforted to know the Gangs in South L.A. will be the first ones to celebrate this great acheivement.The Land of fruits and nuts.This guy may be both.

  22. Dumb rule.

  23. Michigan’s smoking ban, taking effect in May, may also apply to patios– even at bars. The law does not mention banning outdoor smoking or any distance requirements, but it applys to the “licensed premises” of any bar or restaurant.

    That is currently understood to mean the patio.

  24. I find it quite striking that my suggestion that restrictions on smoking might be reasonable means that I must be a pussy who completely endorses the nanny state.

    The irony is that this kind of overgeneralization is exactly the kind of poor thinking that is routinely (and correctly) lambasted here on the site when discussing the current US government.

    For example, If X believes that global warming is real and caused in part by our activities, then X must also be a big-government liberal whose only goal is to control everyone’s life. Forget about the fact that X might be worried that global warming might ruin the environment for future generations. if X is smart, they’ll realize that there is uncertainty in the global warming data, but the potential danger of global warming is sufficient to warrant some action. X also buys car insurance even though X realizes the possibility of an accident is very low in a given year.

    So many who posts here seems to take the attitude that X must be a moron for being so easily misled, despite the appearance of the ‘hide the decline’ memos (even though these memos are not nearly as damning as they have been reported if one cares to examine them more closely).

    Please prove my point by calling me a moron.

  25. Steve, the modern world is fraught with potential dangers. Giving governments the power to legislate personal behavior to mitigate any and all of them might solve some problems, but it also amounts to a power grab away from the individual. When the government puts its boot on personal liberties in the name of public health and safety, they confirm that the “public” is the opposite of the individual. The public is always everyone but you and me, and where you might want to add to the list of things you and I can’t do to protect “them” — and raise revenue for the government to pass more restrictions — I think that to endorse even the slightest move in that direction is to blind yourself to the history of government encroachment.

    The market is perfectly capable of deciding which private establishments should be smoking and which should be non-smoking, or which organizations or people would benefit from installing fluorescent light bulbs. Bans like this mean that only persons or restaurants who have pull with political forces will allow smoking, instead of those that spent $100k and up building out patios over the last ten years.

    The infringement on liberties in the name of public health amounts to a system of pull that distorts markets and undermines individual freedoms. People who cheer the expedient of government action are the short-sighted ones; they’re cheering because they’re temporarily at the high end of a capsizing ship.

  26. What a genius idea. Dry up a guaranteed cash cow of a revenue stream (about $1.00 per pack of smokes). California is just full of great ideas, aren’t they? If this was REALLY about getting people to quit, the tax would be $10.00 per pack – or $20.00 per pack. This has nothing to do with prevention and EVERYTHING to do with trying to sqeeze every last drop of blood out of hard-working Californians (who, oddly enough, are leaving the state en masse for friendlier pastures. Is it any wonder this state is FLATASS BROKE???

  27. I think it also sucks that I can’t piss at my table too. Everyone knows that urine is sterile when it comes out, and I happen to like the smell. Besides, why should I have to get up and walk all the way to the bathroom just to make clean freaks happy?

  28. Roadsider, if a restaurant owner thinks that 20% of the population wants to piss at their table, and decides to cater to those people, it’s his property and it’s not my place or yours to stop him. I wouldn’t go there, that’s all. You shouldn’t go to restaurants where people smoke. That’s how we maintain our freedoms. Anything else is not.

  29. It is about time that smoking in a public space such as patios are, should
    be considered as a smokefree area. Just
    because a smoking addict or one who is
    so accustomed to breathing that toxin
    thinks that smokers should allowed to
    pollute their lungs and mine, is no
    reason at all for allowing them to
    continue to do it. It is not their right to ignore the enormous risk they
    are subjecting everyone around them,
    just because they are ignorant. Their wish to be thought of as being smart to object to rules such as this only
    indicates a careless lack of regard.

  30. “allowing them to continue to do it”

    …who appointed you police chief, eh? And if you sit next to a smoker, consider the risk and act accordingly, just as if you were sitting next to a bus stop or outside in a lightning storm. No one is stopping you from living in a sterile, padded room, but if you think the whole world should be turned into one, forget it. You don’t have the authority. So either grow a pair or duck out of modern life if you can’t take it.

  31. Look at the smokers outside buildings everywhere, 24/7 but importantly, when kids are going to or from school.
    Look at the same activity for long enough and, sooner or later, you will probably join in.

    Maybe, like the Jews, eventually smokers will get their own country or be allowed back.
    The medical statistics compiled soon will be bought and sold, for and against any real health gains but the State still has no choice but to tax long and probably smoke-free lives.

    I suggest you sue the smoke-free State if anyone catches cancer before long.


  33. a practice that he said was particularly dangerous to children.

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