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Smoking Ban in Restaurants

August 03, 1993

* I strongly resent your giving so much space to Elizabeth Wong's article regarding her approval of the smoking ban in Los Angeles restaurants (Commentary, July 21).

Her views were extremely sophomoric and narrow and the prominence of the article did a disservice to a subject that demands deeper understanding.

I am not a smoker and also operate four restaurants in Southern California and therefore am very sensitive to the issue. I do believe that we as a society are headed in the direction of nonsmoking in all public areas (AB 13). I also am deeply disturbed by a public attitude that says, "I don't like something so let's make a new law," without considering the financial impact, especially at such a critical time in our economy. I have been in this business my entire life and passionately work at it. I know that business would definitely decline, especially in the area of sorely needed tourism.

The truth is restaurants already provide at least 50% nonsmoking (we do 70%). This is where she should sit. As a last resort she has the wonderful option our country provides of not patronizing the restaurant. Believe me, restaurants historically respond to what the public wants.


El Cholo/The Original Sonora Cafe

Los Angeles

* I am shocked and dismayed at the tactics of a group of restaurant owners who may succeed in delaying the smoking ban in restaurants ("Smoking Ban Held; Petitions Being Checked," July 25). As a nonsmoker, I will no longer patronize any restaurants that participated in the recent signature gathering petition to overturn the ban on smoking. If they don't care enough about the health of their patrons and employees, they are not the sort of businesses where I choose to spend my money. I will go out of my way to seek out those restaurants that have had the courage and conviction to ban smoking completely from their premises.

I hope that other nonsmokers will care enough about their health and the health of restaurant employees to take a similar stance.


Beverly Hills

* Our biggest expense for entertainment outside a yearly vacation is spent on dining out. Over the years, weekend trips into Los Angeles have been great fun. Do some shopping, then have lunch or dinner and head for home. Los Angeles has changed greatly over the years. As we drive in, the amount of graffiti lets us know we are getting close to L.A. When we walk down the streets, we have learned to ignore the prostitutes on the corners and we carefully step over people lying on the sidewalks. As time has gone on, we cautiously pass by young people with spiked hair, who look totally lost in this world; we shake our heads at those who openly smoke pot. During the riots we were inconvenienced by having a play we had tickets for canceled.

My husband, who served this country in the military, can no longer enjoy a cigarette after his meal. With the passing of the smoking ban in restaurants, the Los Angeles City Council members have proven to me that they do not care for our money in their city. Those politicians who have bought into the overexaggerated hype of secondhand smoke will surely do more to hurt business than anything else I can think of.

As for returning to Los Angeles for a fun trip, all I can say is "the thrill is gone." Goodby, Los Angeles. You're not worth it any more.



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