Smokers hope to overturn smoking ban for bar patios


Hoping to amend the city's new ban on smoking for on and around outdoor patios, smokers, bar owners and their supporters have gathered 1,083 signatures to give to the City Council Tuesday evening.

After seeing the council's close 4-3 vote in favor of the new ban, regular Molly McGee's patron and cigar smoker Jim Neal was inspired to circulate the petition in the city's bars. He hopes to sway at least one member of the City Council this evening to amend the ordinance during its required second reading.

If the council votes to approve the ordinance for a second time this evening, the new ban goes into effect in 90 days and prohibits smoking within 25 feet of outdoor patios, windows or doors of workplaces, restaurants and any publicly accessible building where smoking is already banned. That covers wide swaths of the city, including most of Castro Street, where smoking would only be allowed for those walking from one destination to another. Neal said he wants the city continue to allow smoking in outdoor patios attached to bars.

Neal and signers of the petition argue that the ban will force bar patrons to go out into the street or dark parking lots to smoke, which could be dangerous for female smokers, while increasing cigarette litter and the likelihood that smokers would get cited by police for being drunk in public.

"You got adults only, 21 years old, and plus, at night time," said Rob Graham, co-owner of Sports Page, a bar on North Shoreline Boulevard. "These people are not going to stop smoking."

Graham is convinced that he will lose business that comes from visitors to local tech companies from locales where smoking is more acceptable, citing a study in Beverly Hills where smoking bans reduced customer traffic to businesses frequented by tourists. He says he has a 6,000-square-foot patio that will be completely off-limits to smokers, even though portions are more than 25 feet from the building.

"There's nothing here that will reduce exposure to second-hand smoke," Graham said, echoing Neal's assertions. "The reason most people have patios in first place is the 1998 ordinance which prohibited smoking in restaurants. All it does is move people from existing outdoor smoking areas."

While council member Jac Siegel said he based his decision to approve the ban on the effects of second-hand smoke on the employees of business, whom he said had little choice. But Graham claims that his employees do not have to go out into his patio to breathe second-hand smoke, and his customers don't either.

Neal claims that 47 percent of his petition signers were non-smokers, and 37 percent of the bar employees who signed it were non-smokers. The petition was circulated at St. Stephen Green, Fred's Place, Bert's Alibi bar, Francesca's, Sports Page and Molly McGee's.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

This is good. It's about time smokers fought back against this puerile nonsense.

Like this comment
Posted by NonSmoker Tom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Hope the ban passes. Smoking is the puerile nonsense. Give it up! Care for your body and your neighbors.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

Don't tell me what to do.

Like this comment
Posted by Sean
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

NonSmoker Tom- Maybe worry about what you are doing. I am sure you posses behaviors that the rest of us would find unbearable and foolish, what with being human and all. Most of us have the good manners to not care so much about how you choose to live, and therefore don't feel the need to demostrate our presumptive attidtude through prostilyzation or enforcing our 'education' on you. You are not the arbiter of what is best for others or their neighbors.

For your next trick, I assume you will be lecturing us all about slowing down on the freeway, or the health benefits of a macrobiotic diet. If you want to drive a Prius and graze off the front lawn, that's great, I'm happy for you. Some of us are going to make other choices, and that's ok, too.

Like this comment
Posted by Oscar's mom
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I'm looking forward to the ban passing so I won't have to walk my son through smoke clouds to get to various businesses downtown. Not to mention, it might be nice to sit outside at some of these patios with my kid as well! Not an option currently.

Like this comment
Posted by Alex M.
a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

@Oscar's Mom: You WILL have to walk through even MORE clouds now that smokers are banned from private outdoor patios, and now must pretend to walk to a destination on the same sidewalks you and your son walk on. I'm not a smoker, but this is truly a stupid ordinance.

Like this comment
Posted by HB
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Nothing like the taste of a fine cigarette, cigar or pipe after a good meal. The sensation can be euphoric, as well as a great stress reliever and good weight controller.

For all you prejudice people out there that think second hand smoke kills, your dead wrong. If that was the case my brothers and sister would all be dead at the rate our parents smoked. Moderation is the key to all good things.

Interesting facts that goes against the grain of popular thought.

Mme Jeanne Calment, who was listed as the world's oldest human whose birth date could be certified, died at 122. She had begun smoking as a young woman. At 117 she quit smoking (by that age she was just smoking two or three cigarettes per day because she was blind and was too proud to ask often for someone to light her cigarettes for her). But she resumed smoking when she was 118 because, as she said, not smoking made her miserable and she was too old to be made miserable. She also said to her doctor: "Once you've lived as long as me, only then can you tell me not to smoke." Good point! [USA Today, "Way to go, champ," 10/18/95].

When Mme. Calment died at 122 in l997, the new longevity champ became 116-year-old Marie-Louise Meilleur, of Canada. Mme. Meilleur had chain-smoked all her adult life (as her grandson said, "She always had a cigarette dangling from her lips as she worked,"--AP, 8/15/97, reported in Miami Herald, p. 2A). She did give up smoking, however, when she was nearly 100.

Search on for more famouns Centurion smokers.

Like this comment
Posted by Lina
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Oscar's Mom : You can't sit outside at some of these patios with your kids , they are for adults 21 and over. All you will do now is to walk with your kids through a lot of smokers in the street, or in the parking lots if you want to park your car , because this is what the nonsense ordinance does; move smoke from selected and dedicated places like the open patios where people have free choice to patronize if they are 21 or older ( NO CHILDREN ALLOWED ) to the public streets where children and non smokers are !!! You're getting the exact opposite of what you want, isn't that funny?

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Hi Oscar's Mom,

I'm downtown almost every day, but I never see the clouds of smoke that you are talking about. But your imaginary clouds will soon become a reality thanks to this incredibly stupid ban.

I look forward to seeing you and your son in the 21 and older only patios that only serve alcohol. It's so nice to see that you have no problem with taking your under age son to 21 and over bars and buying him drinks! :)

Like this comment
Posted by Rob Gilmark
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

What a stupid decision! Once again the authorities have confirmed their complete lack of common sense and ability to think. Why are you so obsessed with banning smoking?!! Look at your obessity, at your junk food and drinks, look at your young zombies, spending their lives behind the screens, smoking pot and drinking disguisting soda, look at your medications, at your unhealthy life styles, at thousand and thousand bad things in your life and RELAZ ON SMOKING ALREADY, there zillions of worse things in your life, JUST RELAX!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Coffeebar opens in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 5,307 views

Couples: So You Married Mom or Dad . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 876 views

Eat, Surf, Love
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 800 views

Spring College Fairs
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 797 views

The Cost of Service
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 429 views