In the Smoky Drinky Bar last night, Brigitte drew my attention to a strange report:
Frisco ordinance amended to include smoking lounges
Smoking lounges are now a part of Frisco’s smoking ordinance after a local business owner approached the city about adding one in her restaurant.
Frisco City Council approved amendments to the smoking ordinance during the March 5 meeting. The amendments include defining a smoking lounge, which is a room in a retail establishment provided for patrons to smoke. The ordinance was also amended to include hookah and other non-tobacco substitutes under the definition of smoking.
Dee Lincoln Prime, an upscale steakhouse at The Star in Frisco, is planning to add a smoking lounge. Owner Dee Lincoln said the smoking ordinance amendment is an important step to help Frisco businesses remain competitive.
“I really feel like as a new business owner in Frisco and all the competition that’s been around us, this speaks loud and clear to how much you all care and how you want to attract businesses here,” she said.
Under the amended ordinance, smoking lounges cannot take up more than 15 percent of the floor area of a business and must have a barrier to prevent smoke from escaping the establishment.
This isn’t the sort of thing I expect to read about San Francisco (aka ‘Frisco). SF is the antismoking capital of the USA. You’re more likely to read that
San Francisco mayor launches drive to evict smokers from public housing.
San Francisco issues permits to allow smokers to be shot on sight, in “self-defence”.
So what’s going on if smoking lounges are now appearing in San Francisco? Has there been some weird outbreak of tolerance there? Has Stanton Glantz died or been sent to prison?
There’s actually a very simple explanation, which only occurred to me when I started writing about it.
And it’s that Frisco is not ‘Frisco. It’s not the same as San Francisco. There’s a town in Texas called Frisco. And there’s also a town in Colorado called Frisco. Maybe there’s a town called Frisco in every state in the USA. And in one of these little towns, in some tolerant backwater which hasn’t yet been invaded by the bullies from Tobacco Control, local ordnances have been amended to allow businesses to include smoking lounges – which is the sort of thing that happens in tolerant, civilised societies.
Here’s what’s happening in the real San Francisco right now:
San Francisco voters banned all flavored tobacco sales last June, and full enforcement of that law began on January 1st. But what happens when small businesses have to pull these products off their shelves, and how is the city helping with the transition?
Janine Young, one of the Senior Environmental Health Inspectors from the Department of Public Health, arrives at a gas station in the Sunset District one chilly winter morning. She’s here to conduct one of the department’s flavored tobacco compliance checks.
As part of the transition away from flavored tobacco, the city plans to visit every store selling these products before the end of February to make sure they’re complying with the law. Today, Young is checking up gas stations, corner stores, and smoke shops.
During each visit, Young verifies that there are no longer any flavored products in the business. That includes everything from flavored nicotine vape liquids to sweetened hookahs, and even menthol cigarettes. As of January first, every tobacco retailer in San Francisco selling any of these products risks suspension of their permit.
So while in Frisco people are being given choices, in ‘Frisco choice is being taken away. And most likely when they’ve taken away all flavour choices from tobacco, they’ll probably start on removing all flavours from food and drink as well. And they’ll have Senior Environmental Health Inspectors to ensure that it happens.
I suppose that if there are Senior Environmental Health Inspectors in San Francisco, there must be Junior Environmental Health Inspectors as well, and various ranks in between, and a whole army of these busybodies patrolling the streets, on the look-out for anything menthol-flavoured or vanilla-flavoured.
But maybe in the town of Frisco, Texas, there are no Environmental Health Inspectors at all. And maybe not even any Inspectors. Because the town is probably very small, and only has a single part-time mayor, who looks exactly like James Stewart, and who runs the gas station on the edge of town.