Smoking Ban Good

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 18, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Recently I had the opportunity to take my visiting step-son to Casino el Camino for a burger. I haven't been there in a while because although I love the food, the smoke in there would burn my lungs so badly and cause my hair and clothing to reek with such a killer stench that I'd have to fumigate myself in the shower before going to bed and pay money to the cleaners to restore my poor, destroyed clothing. It just wasn't worth going very often for that reason. This last time, something was different. I couldn't figure it out at first. The place actually felt good to walk into; I could see clearer. Then I realized why – no one was smoking! This was a bar where it seemed requisite to smoke in order to occupy a space. Now there seemed to be a variety of people enjoying the food and ambience, not just the chain-smoking, multiple-pierced, heavily tattooed, leather-bound toughies frequenting the place. As I realized how awesome this bar could be with clean air, I took a deep breath and vowed to go back on a regular basis. After this experience, I feel freer and more motivated to do the downtown scene. Thank you, brave souls who supported and passed this ban. Bar owners, you're just going to have to have patience while you redirect your marketing efforts. People will come, but you've got to let them know why they should. They've been scared off by the air pollution. There are tons of smokers who frequent bars in NYC. They're quite content smoking outside the bars, and using the bar-provided outdoor cigarette disposals. These would be a very good idea to have in Austin, too.
Laine Jastram
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