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Smoking Ban Hits Home

The Happy Shiny Democratic Peoples Republic of Eugene has gone too far this time. In yet another attempt to deny its citizens the right to make any choices for themselves, city inspectors have declared that the covered portion of Rennie’s upstairs smoking deck no longer conforms to Eugene’s smoking ban. At first glance, this might seem to not make sense, considering that the ban was enacted in 2000. Well guess what, sucka? It’s been toughened.

The original ban defined “enclosed area” logically enough as “A space between a floor and a ceiling that is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows.” Apparently people were still dropping like flies in smoking areas which “conformed to the letter but not the spirit of the law,” because in November of last year, City Manager Dennis Green issued an administrative order requiring smoking areas to be “at least 75% open.”

The covered portion of Rennie’s smoking deck has a ceiling, a floor, and three walls. It is completely open, smoke has nowhere to stagnate, and airflow is brisk. Regardless, this draconian new definition requires them to ban smoking on that portion of the deck, forcing smokers to the uncovered edge of the deck, with only a pop-up tent for covering. Unbelievably, Rennie’s was also told that “they were lucky” that the downstairs smoking area (which has only one wall) stayed open because the wrought iron fence could constitute a wall under the new rules. That’s right, a completely permeable wall that couldn’t stop smoke from going anywhere nearly shut down most of the remaining smoking area.

This situation seems out of control. The city seems to have completely lost sight of its priorities, and is engaging in a campaign to systematically eliminate its citizens freedom to smoke in a manner that is not harming anyone. The 75% rule means that there can be only one wall in a smoking area, making it nearly impossible for bars who want to allow their customers to smoke, to create an area in which to do so which also complies with OLCC regulations which require that alcohol be served only in areas divided from the public. City government clearly doesn’t care that bars want to give smokers the opportunity to drink and smoke in such a way that prevents harm to employees and bystanders. This is not a campaign to keep non-smokers safe: it is a neo-prohibitionist assault on personal freedom, and responsible free enterprise. For shame.

  1. Timothy says:

    I could try to make some point to you about how anti-discrimination law largely violates freedom of association, but I’m going to just have to agree with T here.

  2. Mary says:

    It is considered discrimination in 7 states to not hire a person based on the fact that they smoke and in 27 states it is discrimanatory to not hire or to fire a smoker due to the increased medical costs and higher health insurance premiums that are incurred by the employer whom hires smokers.

  3. T says:

    But you’re still an idiot.

  4. Timothy says:

    Umm… It isn’t. You should be free to ask whatever questions you want in the hiring process.

  5. Mary says:

    I own a restaurant and bar and prefer not to hire smokers yet the government tells me that I don’t have the right to ask that question or to discriminate. Why is it ok to have state directed rules that favor the smoker but not ones that don’t?

  6. Timothy says:

    Hey, smoking does suppress appetite, it could be battling the obesity epidemic. Keeping risk for insulin insensitivity down by keeping even more people from becoming scary fatties.

    Or, you know, maybe it’s good enough that people like smoking. Hell, the main reason I don’t smoke is that I like it and, while I may wish cancer upon a lot of people, I certainly don’t want it myself.

    Anyway, OXR, big ups mate, you nailed it.

  7. Olly says:

    Sorry, I just saw this. I speak here as a lifelong non-smoker:

    Non-smoker: “A good analogy: imagine being in a bar and someone standing next to you with a boombox playing obnoxiously loud music. Wherever you walk, he follows you. THAT

  8. Ian says:

    You have an odd writing style. What good does your posting do? Nothing. But that doesn’t mean you should be legally forbidden to act like a moron on the Internet.

    I do not “support smoking”. But I also do not take it upon myself to declare anything I do not personally like or view as valuable as being something which is bad and should therefore not be enjoyed by others. That is their own decision, provided they’re aware of the consequences.

  9. Doomscheissah says:

    omk: I support smokers because they, like others, have the right to go to a bar and smoke. A non-smoker has the choice not to go there, even if the bar serves food that is the most amazing stuff in the world.

    I am a non-smoker, and smoking bothers me, that’s why I don’t go to certain bars that allow smoking inside. That’s my choice.

    Don’t force your fascism on the rest of us, or we may end up revolting on your ass.

  10. omk says:

    ridiculous questions YES, just like worrying about a smoking ban. an answer to my real question? what good does smoking do? NO.

    like I said before, show me anything at all, and I will not say another word.

    seriously? having smokers apologize or pay for non-smokers bills?

    you guys show me why you smoke or support smoking.

    laughable at least. thanks.

  11. Ian says:


    How would you propose holding individual smokers accountable for individual non-smokers’ medical bills? How do you prove conclusively than one smoker has caused x% of damage to a non-smoker and is therefore liable for $x of their medical bills?

    I don’t smoke, and in fact I rather dislike the smell of cigarettes. But there is not a “right to smoke” that forces private homes or businesses to allow people to smoke. Consequently, I have the ability to avoid establishments that cater to smokers and would supposedly jeopardize my health.

    I do agree, however, that government/publicly-owned establishments (such as the DMV or public schools) should not allow smoking indoors. But if I go to a privately-owned bar that allows smoking then, well, that’s my problem. If non-smoking establishments are conclusively better then there will be a healthy market for them (no pun intended).

  12. Timothy says:

    When did it become the government’s business what people chose to do voluntarily? (That is, go to bars where smoking is allowed)

    When was the last time somebody put a gun to your head and made you go to a smoking establishment?

    Why should you get to foist your anti-smoking opinion onto business owners whose establishments you’re compelled neither to work for nor enter?

    When was the last time somebody got cancer from minimal exposure to environmental cigarette smoke such as that taken in from walking down the street?

    When was the last time an anti-smoking zealot apologized for being an indignant, self-righteous prig?

    Why am I talking in these ridiculous questions?

    Are you my mother?

  13. omk says:


    “When was the last time you had a smoker following you around for blocks desperetly trying to blow smoke in your face?”

    I say: When was the last time a smoker apologized for making a non-smoker sick? When was the last time a smoker paid for a non-smokers medical bills related to smoking?

    Smoking cigarettes doesn’t just affect people in bars, it affects them everywhere.
    When did a total lack of empathy for others health and well being come into play?
    What you want to do to yourself is your own decision, but don’t make me suffer because you feel someone is stepping on your rights. Smoking harms and kills people, that’s a fact.

    No one s saying you can’t do it at all, but if you are crying about smoking in the rain or outside or being chastized in general, cry me a river… smokers do only harm and not one thing of good. If you can give me one, just one thing that smoking does that’s good for a human being, I will shut my mouth…. oh you can’t? My point exactly.

    Take it outside.

  14. Doomscheissah says:

    I hate cigarette smoke. But I want those who do smoke to enjoy what they’re doing. Which means not making them out to be social pariahs.

    So, “Non-Smoker” and “Bunch of Idiots”, allow this non-smoker to tell you to go FOAD.

  15. Smoker says:


    If you don’t want to see naked people then leave. Last time I looked strip clubs were legal and adult only. And many men, and women, pay a lot of money for this service. If you walk in and see a naked woman, not at all offensive to me, dancing to loud music, men smoking and god forbid someone drinking and this offends you leave. This ain’t church, and I don’t go asking for a lap dance during service. Do I go to your church and tell you what I think of religion? NO. I turn around and walk out. I let you live your life with others who share your beliefs and interests.

    Lets also put this into perspective. You had to go to this establishement, a businessperson started, and you physically opened the door and walked in. Almost every bar and nightclub is 21 and over. If the music is too loud or the smoke is to thick leave there is a non-smoking bar around the corner. Over 80% of the bars in Portland are currently non smoking, turn around and let your wallet do the talking. By my count there are well over 800 bars in Portland & surrounding areas that are non-smoking and 160 that are smoking. Walk a block, I am sure you will find another one. Also, some bars cater to smokers and all be darned non-smokers just don’t fit in. We go were we want to be with others who enoy smoking like us.

    You have the “victim” mixed up. Isn’t the vicitm usally the one getting picked on? Isn’t the victim usally the minority having their rights taken away? Smokers currently make up about 22% of the Oregon. I don’t recall going into a non-smoking bar and telling everyone to light’em up! This is a feelgood policy for those in office to get notice from the majority to further thier political careers.

    How healthy are the toxins from those giant SUV’s? Welll maby down the line when we have books or words that arn’t in the majorities current best interest they should just be banned. What about art? We should ban certain art becauss it may offend the current majority. This used to be America.

    P.S. When was the last time you had a smoker following you around for blocks desperetly trying to blow smoke in your face?

  16. Non-Smoker says:

    Well, personally, there’s lots of things we don’t get to do in public that are “offensive” to other people. Nudity is a good example. Smoking, on the other hand, is even worse to me. I’d much rather a naked person than a smoker next to me any time.

    A good analogy: imagine being in a bar and someone standing next to you with a boombox playing obnoxiously loud music. Wherever you walk, he follows you. THAT’S what it’s like being a non-smoker in a bar. Sure, you say, “just don’t go there.” But that’s punishing the victim. If I slap your face every time you walk into a bar, would you just go home and say “Geez, maybe I’ll not go there again” or would you get teed off and want it to stop?

  17. Smoker says:

    To “Your a bunch of idiots”

    We don’t want to be around you either. However, we do want to have a place where we can do what we enjoy in public. It is a bar stupid if you don’t like it there are 8 more on average around the corner that do not allow smoking. We only get one go around on this rock and we are going to do whatever we want. Last time I checked this is America, go to North Korea if you want to live by state directed rules. You have your rights to live your life and I have my rights to live mine. Also, smokers more than pay their way on health care they also carry the state on numerous other items in the state budget. In fact if you don’t like the smoke either get a job at another business or let your pocket book do the talking. So what are some words would you like to ban?

  18. Niedermeyer says:

    Oh yeah… what we really need is more people who believe that we can only engage in activities that our government grants us the privilege of participating in. Further, I would argue that opposing an unwarranted and overreaching extension of a ban that was adequately addressing the concerns you voice is far less idiotic than granting a quixotic government carte blanche in determining the line between your rights and privileges. But then, you didn’t actually read the post, did you?


  19. Idiots. If you think your smoking doesn’t affect anyone else then you’re delusional.

    How can anyone in 2007 deny that smoking in public affects the health of other individuals? If you want to kill yourself, go ahead. But don’t kill anyone else while you’re at it. Smoking, like driving, is a privilege, not a right. Get over yourself.

    P.S. If you really belive it’s o.k. to smoke in public, please don’t breed. We don’t need any more idiots.

  20. Niedermeyer says:

    This just in… the Emerald has come out against the ban. Score one for the home team.

  21. Andy says:

    That link is for you Brandon btw…

  22. Andy says:

    Link about microbrews
    Everyone has them, but they aren’t guaranteed to be respected. We just need to respect them. I’m pretty good at it, and so are most people, but the people who tell the government to violate peoples rights are wrong. So don’t be ‘that guy.’

  23. Niedermeyer says:

    We’re gonna be tackling this in the next issue… we’ll talk to other bars as well, because according to the city of Eugene website, there are 40 non-compliant smoking areas in the city.

    Andy: hypocrisy will end the day everyone is actually guaranteed inalienable rights… which will be the same day Jeebus comes back. Start holding your breath.

  24. Brandon says:

    Since when do liberals oppose microbrews? News to me.

  25. Andy says:

    It’s so great the liberals, “champions of self-ownership,” have decided that in some cases you do own yourself and can do whatever you want (abortions, marijuana) , but then in cases which they don’t agree with (smoking tobacco, drinking microbrews), you must submit to the might of their will. When will the hypocrisies end and we can all accept that humans have inalienable rights?? After that, then we can start defending those rights.

  26. Andy says:

    So what does that mean for Max’s??

  27. Doomscheissah says:

    What’s next?

    Free speech.

  28. Brian says:

    I’m not a smoker myself, but even I have to say that the way smokers are treated in Oregon, as well the country as a whole, is ridiculous and unfair. In Portland, the entirely-outdoors Pioneer Courthouse Square now outlaws smoking. To make it illegal to smoke outdoors in the open air of a bustling metropolis is about one of the dumbest things I heard or saw until K-Fed pinned WWE’s heavyweight champion a couple of weeks ago. At this rate, the only place that’s legally OK to smoke will be in a cave, under a rock, on Mars somewhere, all enclosed in a glass case. I don’t care if people smoke or not, it’s their lives after all. What’s next on the hippie hit list?

  29. Meghann says:


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