While we at The Appeal do not smoke cigarettes, we will occasionally join our cancerous companions as they light up in the designated smoking room of our favorite bar or tavern.
Those rooms are nifty inventions indeed, but if your watering hole doesn’t have a smoking room now, it will never have one, under legislation working its way through City Hall.
Part of Supervisor Eric Mar’s overall tightening of the city’s anti smoking laws, this latest tweak introduced Tuesday would prohibit outright new construction of semi-enclosed smoking rooms in bars and taverns, and would also make illegal any such room built in January or February of this year.
And some smoking rooms built five years ago could be shut down, if they’re built below housing. Bars with smoking rooms in commercial buildings are expressly permitted to stay operating under the tighter restrictions; but smoking rooms in mixed-use buildings are not (neither are they expressly outlawed, either; The Appeal is waiting for explanation).
Mar had run into opposition from business owners over his first draft of the legislation, which seemed likely to unintentionally outlaw existing smoking rooms and also end the practice of allowing tobacco shops to smoke indoors. Cigar bars and tobacco shops are now in the clear; outdoor smoking patios are also a-ok.
Banning new smoking rooms is the purpose of the new legislation, that much was confirmed by a Mar aide on Wednesday.
The Appeal has contacted some bar and tavern owners around town to get their take on the situation and will update when we hear back.
Also worth mentioning: every smoking room, new or old, must be inspected by city officials from the Department of Public Health under the new law. Which means fees. Which means: jackpot! Sweet, sweet fees!