Non-smoking barometer

I left Taiwan back in 1999 a smoker. I have since become a non-smoker (over a year now, there’s no going back). As with all converts, religious or otherwise, I am a zealot–I will be the first to accost a smoker if he or she is puffing in an area where he or she shouldn’t be, especially since my wife now has asthma and other fairly debilitating health problems.* Luckily enough, the province of Ontario in Canada, where we now live, is non-smoking across the board when it comes to restaurants and bars. But this comment in another thread caught my eye:

So are non-smoking areas in restaurants in Taipei becoming popular? Dare I ask, are there any completely non-smoking restaurants or pubs? On a recent trip to Spain we found a non-smoking restaurant in Madrid, and it was completely empty while the places around it were packed to the gills–Spaniards still like their tobacco.**

*If you’re wondering: She used to be a smoker but quit years ago, and I hadn’t smoked indoors within her vicinity since about, well, 1999 or so.
**Some 2,000 people crowded the streets at the recent “swan parade” in the town we live in here in Ontario, and I recalled my astonishment at one point when I smelled tobacco smoke, it was such a unique event. The offending smoker was standing toward the back of the crowd and had a guilty look on his face. Smoking really does seem to have been relegated to the mullet demographic here.

There is actually a law here now that prohibits smoking in smaller restaurants, though it is only enforced in as far as the individual establishment sees fit. Bigger one’s still offer the usual smoking/non-smoking sections. The good news is that most of these smaller places make a point of not allowing it because their non-smoking clientelle demand it and the customer is always right, especially if you want his return patronage.

Canada has changed so much in the past 5-10 years…there has been such a strong movement towards curbing smoking and it has definitely had a positive influence on lowering the number of people who smoke. I was even surprised to find out that the Montreal airport is now a completely smoke-free environment. Used to be that there were only two things sacred to the average Quebecer: the Habs and his Export A/du Maurier nic fix.


Alleycat’s has a non-smoking policy on Mondays, which is nice. Not sure about other restaurants around town. Some have a no-smoking sign up, but the owners don’t lift a finger to stop customers from smoking. :s

Generally, if people are smoking when we walk in, we walk right out, and let the owner know why.

I’d LOVE to have a list of places that really enforce their no-smoking policy, so that we could give them our business.

I would also agree that such a list would be nice.
One safe option is usually vegetarian restaurants. Almost all of them are non-smoking. As for bars or other restaurants hmmmmm.

Nook Cafe Theatre Songjiang Road branch (the original cafe on Chengde Road is closed now) is non-smoking on the ground and smoking in the basement, but the waiters told me that in fact hardly anyone ever smokes there.

Well I’m going to chime in with another viewpoint.

Chili’s at Warner Village went “smoke-free”. I went there and when we found out it had become completely non-smoking we walked out. A couple of months later I walked by and found people were smoking in the area where smoking had been allowed and then not allowed.

I asked the manager why. They told me that the number of customers dropped so considerably that they had to bring the smoking area back. After they went back to a split smoking / non-smoking restaurant their business returned to normal. Their restaurant was already set up with smoking and non-smoking sections.

So it is a complicated issue. Dragonbones walks out or I walk out depending on the situation. However, when Dragonbones and I have dinner together I’m sure we will sit in the non-smoking section for his comfort. :laughing: (as long as he is paying). :wink:

Note, if a restaurant is completely non-smoking I most likely will not eat there but that is me. There are many who won’t eat at a restaurant that isn’t completely smoke free.

I’m glad I don’t have a restaurant. I’m just happy that there are several restaurateurs who understand the concept of ventilation.

So what is a shop owner to do? Provide adequate spaces for smokers and non-smokers in which both will feel comfortable. A tall order but …

Uh, Chili’s doesn’t understand the concept of ventilation. Its smoking section is in the front of the restaurant and the only barrier to keep the smoke “out” of the other parts is a half glass wall on one side. Swensen’s was smart to stick them in the back of the restaurant (the one on Dunhua used to have the smoking section in the front so you had to walk through the cloud of smoke before getting to your seat), but anyone sitting in the narrow corridor shared by the smoking section will be subjected to the reek of burning tobacco anyways. Friday’s smoking section and non-smoking sections straddle the stairs so you have to deal with the cloud of poison as you go to your seat. The third floor is non-smoking. Guess where the smoke rises to from the second floor…

If a restaurant wants to have smoking patrons, they should do what some of the coffee shops here do - put them in a glass cage so they don’t poison the rest of us. It doesn’t make sense to me why a smoker would refuse to patronize a place just because it cared more about ensuring the health of its customers and its workers. Seems just like the same selfish attitude that many smokers tend to show toward non-smokers. They want to poison themselves, but bitch when others complain because don’t want to be.

Would they force a vegetarian to eat red meat, just because they think it’s their God-given right to eat it themselves? Would they force others to drink because they want to? So why do they feel entitled to make us breathe their smoke just because they don’t have the self-constraint to wait until after they finish eating to have a cigarette (or in most cases, at least five over the course of a two-hour meal).

I have asked to be reseated away from smokers and if it didn’t curb the second-hand smoke drifting my way, left and told them why. As an asthmatic and a cancer survivor, I do not fuck around with my health just because someone is too inconsiderate to think of someone other than themself.