Staff editorial: Fired up about smoking in D.C.

The ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in the District is all but assured, and passions are ignited on both sides. Smokers are understandably upset that their ability to blow smoke is being fanned out by others. Some non-smokers are upset that they have to cough through a meal and leave smelling like they were smoking themselves.

New York passed a similar ban and residents seem happy with it, and business even picked up in dining establishments. Restaurants, though, are more family oriented, and it is understandable to ban smoking there.

But let's be honest about something: smoke makes bars, well, that much cooler. After a long, hard night of throwing 'em back and rockin' out at the Black Cat, smelling like an ashtray is sort of like a trophy. We concede that smoking is deadly and that being forced to breathe second-hand smoke is just as harmful, but a smoking ban that affects bars would just be kind of dorky.

We do not condone smoking, but we also do not want to treat smokers with vitriol and as second-class citizens as some pro-ban activists have. With that said, it would be nice to have some escape from smoking when you are out on the town, most of the time.

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