Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stupid Smoking Ban? No Problem!!

At least in Chicago, where R J Reynolds is about to open a "Tobacco Lounge." As you may recall, Chicago recently banned smoking damn near everywhere--with the exception of "tobacco retail stores."

At the very moment smokers around Chicago were learning not to light up on train platforms, in sports stadiums and in some restaurants, a subsidiary of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was preparing for the grand opening on Thursday of its answer to the smoke-free set: the Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge, what its creators intend to be the nation's first upscale, luxury lounge dedicated to the smoking of cigarettes, especially a new R. J. Reynolds variety.

The timing, Brian Stebbins, a senior marketing director at R. J. Reynolds, said, was purely coincidental. And the shop, he insists, does not fall under the city's new ban since it fits the exempt category of a "tobacco retail store," even though it also sells alcoholic drinks, cheese plates and espresso drinks.

"That's incidental," Mr. Stebbins said, as he wandered the lounge on Wednesday, pointing out the dark wood, the marble bar, the cozy seats by a fireplace. "This is about a select, super premium brand of cigarettes, just like what we've seen with the super premium tier of beer, wine, chocolate and pastries. It's about elegance and having fun."


"This is not what I intended," Alderman Ed Smith, who led efforts to pass the ordinance here, said Wednesday. "I am going to have to make some calls to find out if it's really allowed."

Some antismoking advocates nationally said they worried that the Chicago store might mark a new front in the tobacco industry's efforts to market their products as glamorous, particularly to a young, cutting-edge audience, despite efforts by the industry to comply with a 1998 settlement agreement with scores of states that limits advertising.

"It's trying to get an 18-to-25 demographic here, to make smoking seem desirable, attractive, like a secret club," said Bronson Frick, associate director for Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a group based in Berkeley, Calif.

HT the hottest Law Student in Texas


Anonymous said...

Dad, Do you smoke a pipe? I think you do.
I already know it's none of my business, so don't say it.

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

A peace pipe... Heh heh heh.

Scott Carlson Teacher in Chicago at Lane Tech High School said...

Well Dad, here in Chicago, there are many ways to still enjoy food and a smoke. Many bars serve great food! Also, any restaurant with a bar area can allow smoking within 15 feet of the bar as well. Also, there are many suburbs that allow smoking. I've made a website to help us all record our favorite places to smoke and eat! Check it out!