|By Neal McNamara|
On its first day, smoking ban brings frustration, fresh air
On Saturday night at around 8 inside Piazzano’s restaurant and bar in north Lansing, the Alabama Crimson Tide girls’ softball team closed a scoreless first inning against the Tennessee Vols, and bartender John DeMarco inhaled smoke-free air for the first time in many years.
“It’s a breath of fresh air,” he said of the smoking ban that went into effect just 14 hours earlier.
An added bonus for DeMarco, a nonsmoker: He no longer has to swab dirty ashtrays at the end of the night. After Piazzano’s closed early Saturday morning, DeMarco said he stacked up all the ashtrays on the bar as a sort of “shrine” to the smoking ban. As he looked at them, he pondered how he would never have to clean them again.
“It was kind of surreal,” he said.
Frustration, relief, forgetfulness and acquiescence were a few of effects felt in the area over the first day of the smoking ban.
DeMarco said that on Saturday, two people had lit up cigarettes inside (one was an employee, the other a patron), both of whom had just plumb forgot about the ban. “No smoking” signs were posted conspicuously throughout the premises.
At the Second Stage bar on State Road in DeWitt Township, Fred (he didn’t want to give his last name) expressed “frustration” over the ban. He said — and a bartender confirmed — that a couple of the bar’s regulars refused to come out because they could not smoke.
When asked if he was enjoying the smokefree air, Fred seemed to grow more frustrated.
“They should have left it up to the bar owner — he knows his business, he knows his clientele,” he said.
“It’s actually a good thing for those who don’t smoke,” he said. “My choices, someone else shouldn’t have to pay for.”
But, come the harsh cold and snow of winter, Simpson chuckled, he might complain a little.