Traditionally, Buffalonians have preferred to hang out in places where they can both drink and smoke. “We have open outdoor space where we can allow smoking. So nothing has really changed for us. In fact, the Act has increased our business as we can accommodate smokers as well. People like to come to our bar where they can smoke too instead of hanging out in places where they can only drink,” said Charlie Goldman, owner of La Luna, a favorite Latino bar on Chippewa Street in Downtown Buffalo.

Chad Syler, general manager of Red Room, another popular bar in the Chippewa District, however, doesn’t appear to be happy with the Act although the Red Room too has an outdoor space with arrangements for smokers. For him, “the biggest thing is our payroll, which has gone up as we have to hire additional security to stop people from smoking.” Moreover, he feels that people are socializing more than drinking. “When the bar is crowded, people find it difficult to go in and out all the time and so settle outside, at times, for more than an hour and as such bartenders lose a lot on their tips,” added Mr. Syler. In winters, Mr. Syler fears that people will prefer to stay at home and smoke while taking in a glass of wine rather than going out to places where they cannot smoke.

Mr. Goldman also agrees that in winters he is going to suffer because of the ban as people will not have access to outdoor space and will have to do without smoking. However, while Mr. Syler is against the ban, Mr. Goldman supports the policy of non-smoking and is willing to take the financial risks.

While some of the places have put up non-smoking signs, others are monitoring non-smoking with the help of security, and still others, like the Liberty Coffee Roastery at Lafayette Square in Buffalo Downtown, have not felt the need of either; smoking has never been allowed in their restaurant and so they are not faced with that problem.

It is one month now since the Act came into force and Buffalonians appear to be not only much aware of it, but also quite cooperative. Bar patrons

“going out for a smoke” have become commonplace. This has prevented a tension in nightclubs that would otherwise have been created. “Very rarely have we had to tell people not to smoke as they have been very cooperative,” said Mr. Goldman. “People are cooperating and they walk right out for smoking,” added Mr. Syler.

However, not all feel the same way about going for a drink as Mr. Schneider. Ellen Heidrick, a third year law student at UB, does not support the ban at all. A smoker herself, she bluntly says, “I don’t like it; when I go to a bar, I like to smoke. This Act is forcing people to smoke outside taking their drinks with them. The ban is good for other public places, but not for bars. They always over-regulate smoking, but not alcohol. It is hypocritical,” She adds, “ I think alcohol is equally dangerous, if not more so!”

Establishments Hit by The New York State Clean Indoor Act Under current law established by the act, smoking is now prohibited across the board in venues previously tolerant of their smoking patrons. Some of the venues affected include; ·Bars and Restaurants ·Indoor swimming facilities ·Waiting areas in public transportation terminals ·Zoos ·Bingo Facilities ·Indoor Arenas ·Public and Private Colleges and Universities

Venues Untouched by New State Smoking Legislation There are, however, venues that have fallen under the radar within the context of the new legislation. Although many can be considered personal domains and within the realm of our personal freedoms, some are business establishments that through grandfathering and territorial issues have remained untouchable. ·Private homes, Residences, and Automobiles ·Hotel or Motel Rooms Rented to One or More Guests ·Retail Tobacco Businesses ·Membership Associations Staffed by Volunteers ·Cigar Bars (Est. Prior to January 1, 2003) ·Outdoor Patios with No Ceiling Enclosure ·Native American Owned Gaming Establishments By Vidisha Barua

The new New York State Clean Indoor Air Act has gotten mixed reactions. While some are in support, others are against. However, bar owners agree on one point — they are going to be worse hit during the winter months and Buffalo winters are anything but short!

“I like the idea of going out for a beer and not coming back smelling of cigarettes,” said Joseph Schneider, a graduate student at the University at Buffalo.

Besides the obvious health hazard of secondhand smoking to the employees and frequenters of bars and restaurants, this is perhaps the common-man approach that New York State had in mind while enforcing the amended New York State Clean Indoor Air Act on July 24, 2003. The Act prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Outdoor patios, however, cease to fall within the traditional definitions of non-smoking environments delineated within the new legislation. As such, bar owners are utilizing outdoor patio space to accommodate their smoking patrons. In fact, bars with patios are doing very well now because of the ban.