Bars, Smoking, and St. Patrick’s Day

ashtray.jpgWe already know that St. Patrick’s Day in general has caused quite a commotion in Hoboken. The rambunctious drunks and unruly partying that ensues every year has been a growing source of controversy.

But here’s a problem that bar owners and patrons alike will encounter for the first time since the smoking ban went into effect on April 15th last year: How to deal with the smokers?

With most bars having long lines to gain entrance on that day, how will they keep track of smokers and occupancy limits?

  • Make them wait on line each time they go out? (will never work)
  • Wrist bands? (run the risk of people sharing them)
  • Let them smoke in a bar once a year? (never gonna happen)
  • Lines to go out and smoke? Like “one at a time”? (asinine)
  • “Look the other way” if some patrons decide to light up in the bathroom? (will probably happen)

timeclock.jpgOne thing that I came up with, and it may sound convoluted, is a time-stamp system. Print a stack of paper out with the bar’s logo on it. Install a time-stamp machine by the door. Each time someone goes out to smoke, you give them a slip, stamp it, and say they have 5 or 10 minutes to get back in. Otherwise you have to wait back on line. Too bad.

However, one of the issues with this idea is that if someone decides to leave after getting their slip, the bouncers will not be able to accurately track the occupancy limits. One alternative is to have a combination system, with wrist-bands (or ID) AND time slips. When you go outside to smoke, you trade your wrist band (or ID) in for the time-card. This way they bouncers will have a way to keep track of how many people went out, and how many never came back. But you don’t want the bouncers “thinking too much” on a day where they’re supposed to be on high-alert.

I suppose one of the simplest way to control this is to have a separate area cordoned-off for the smokers to gather. But you’d have to make it in a way that prevents people from sneaking in. Who knows.

I’m not sure what plans bars have this year to deal with this situation, but I can only imagine that there will be various disturbances around town if they don’t come up with a reasonable way to handle the crowds.

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[quote comment=”14635″]Neither probability nor links do not equate cause nor fact.[/quote]

That’s not how science works. They may never be able to say, “With 100% certainty, A directly causes B.” But there’s still plenty that science can tell us, and there is scientific consensus about the risks involved, across nations and organizations.

[quote comment=”14635″]More studies are needed which set out to prove cause, and not merely point towards a direction. It’s pretty much a waiting game.[/quote]

If that’s your take on it, then the pro-smoking/anti-science side has done their job well.


I hope so, Katie. Especially since you said you may want to have a child someday. Keep trying and best of luck. 🙂


I’ll give them up – eventually. I’ve smoked on and off for 10 years. I think the total time smoking is 7.5. Obviously I CAN quit when I have a mind to, but I start back up after 6 months or 2 years (longest I quit) because I start dating a smoker or I’m bored (or studying for the bar exam). Yep, I’ll quit someday!


[quote comment=”14628″]
I’d try chew or meth, but I’m not a redneck.[/quote]

116th and Park Avenue, in Manhattan. Right across from the “La Marquetta” sign on the train tressel.
Crazy Eddie… hands down the best angel dust in the tri-state area.
That might help cure your nicotine addiction Katie.:mrgreen: 😈 :mrgreen:

Really though, you should give them up.


Katie– You said you’re disappointed that cigarettes are legal to buy but it is becoming harder to smoke. I assume you started smoking sometime in the last 20 years? If so, you had to have seen this coming. 20 years ago, some office buildings were either starting to go smoke-free or were creating non-smoking areas. Slowly but surely, more and more places went smoke-free even before local jurisdictions enacted laws mandating it. Same with restaurants–20 years ago, some places had no-smoking sections, some didn’t. Over time, places voluntarily went smoke-free, again before laws were enacted. So 20 years ago, all this was in its infancy but that’s how it all starts–baby steps. What’s in its infancy now, taking baby steps? Smoke-free apartments and condo/coop buildings. There is even a website that names buildings that have gone smoke-free (I believe its called: If you were to look at the site, you will see that very few places have taken this step at this time. As Journey pointed out, she moved because the downstairs neighbors were smokers. She certainly isn’t the only one. Many people are starting to complain to their landlords about this issue. Landlords can make their buildings smoke-free since smokers are not a protected class. Will every rental unit, condo or coop go entirely smoke-free? I seriously doubt it. What may happen is that landlords will charge more rent for smoking units, even segregate them to certain areas of the building. If you own your own home (or… Read more »