Smoking Renegades: Meet the “Ghost Tribe” 

To all the ignorant restaurant and bar owners such as Bandito's Sean McClain who want to continue to run fear-based businesses, afraid of losing what little they have instead of open to receiving an abundance that they may not even begin to fathom, I have this to say (“Smoke This: List Thumbs Nose at Restaurant Ban,” Street Talk, Dec. 23):

I and all my thousands of nonsmoking friends are your ideal demographic and we've been spending our money elsewhere. We're a ghost tribe you never knew existed and for years, when given a choice, we've been walking past your nasty hovels of second-hand smoke and choosing smoke-free places to eat and drink.

Being raised in a family with two smoking parents, four smoking grandparents and growing up in a generation where smoking was allowed everywhere — including the hospital where I was born and my dentist's office — it's nice to finally see laws that are restricting the chemical fallout and protecting your employees.

Although we may be more sensitive than stoic, we come with something your smoking pals don't come with: a disposable income that we don't throw away on bad habits. We have the ability to become your loyal, dependable patrons if you'll allow us.

That you're still fighting the ban is bizarre. Studies about how cigarette bans have affected the bottom line in restaurants and bars — such as those conducted in New York City or Paris — prove without a shadow of a doubt that profits progressively increase when smoking bans are put into place.

Let's face it, God made the Marlboro Man using fiberglass insulation and tons of testosterone. If you own a restaurant and tell a smoker to go outside and smoke, he, like a private in the army, will obey the request without complaint. I've seen smokers withstand wind chill and sheets of pouring rain in order to suck their stuff amidst the elements. In fact, when two or more smokers are drawn together outside, it seems to create a force field around them which makes them impervious to God-forsaken things.

We nonsmokers aren't nearly so tolerant. Allow smoking after the ban, find a clever way around it or God forbid build a stupid nonsmoking section and we won't complain. I promise. We just won't come in — ever! We don't care because it's our money. We can afford not to care. Can you, on the other hand, continue to afford not to?

Slash Coleman
Richmond

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