Smokers Speak Up

Editor’s note: the views expressed here are of individuals and do not reflect those of the establishments. Efforts were made to speak to owners, but we were unsuccessful. 

 

Smokers say even they don’t like secondhand smoke in bars, they want bar owners to decide smoking rules – not the government. 

Last Call’s decision to ban smoking in its club has prompted conversation among smokers. A Thursday night bar crawl saw uniformity agreement among smoking patrons of bars that while cigarettes and alcohol went hand-in-hand, the lingering cloud of smoke was a turn off. 



“I feel as a smoker, I’m an adult, I don’t want to go outside to smoke,” said Thomas Voclain. “But I don’t think non-smokers should be subjected to it.” 

The statement kicked up a conversation in Mahoney’s, among patrons about the desire for them to be able to smoke in a bar. Many agreed that they went to a bar specifically to smoke indoors, because they did not smoke in their own homes. 

One patron, Leslie Bundy, seated at a table chimed up, “If I couldn’t smoke in Mahoney’s, I wouldn’t come!” Other regulars of the bar dismissed his claim.  



Over his beer and a cigarette, Bundy said smoking within a bar was entirely about being considerate of others. He said if he knew others didn’t smoke, he would either not smoke, or sit next to a smoke eater to be courteous of non-smokers. 

A smoke eater is a machine which pulls smoke from the air. 

Bundy said he hoped laws wouldn’t step in because in his words, “Laws don’t fix stupid.” He told of when restaurants used to have smoking and non-smoking sections. At that time, he was having a meal with his family, 5 men seated nearby lit up cigars.  



“We finally got our food and they were finishing their food and, don’t you know, they light up these huge cigars. The clouds were huge, I couldn’t even see my children. You have the right to do that, but it’s just rude.” 

He said actions like that were the problem.  

Patrons at the Intracoastal Club discussed the issue as well. Some said they did not think it was fair to smokers that vaping was still allowed, but Blaine Bexter, raised his opinion, “As a former smoker, and now a vaper, when you go home, you don’t smell like it.” 



Bartenders too had opinions on the matter. Tayla Matherne, a bartender of The Pour House, said she liked not working around cigarette smoke. She said her grandmother was forced to retire because of COPD caused by her smoking and working at a smoking bar. 

During her long commute to work, Matherne says she smokes about two in the morning to wake up, but once at work she likes that she is forced not to. 

“As a smoker, I like that I work in a non-smoking bar,” she said. “It makes me have to take a break.” 



At Mahoney’s, Bryce Bourque, bartender who does not smoke, said in his opinion a bar’s purpose is to relax, for some that means smoking. 

“For some people, smoking a cigarette is their way to unwind and they should be able to do that,” said Bourque. “No one is forcing non-smokers to be here… They’re welcome to go to other bars that cater to that.”