Smoking Ban May Increase Bar Patronage

Letter to the Editors

To the editors:

I was happy to read in The Crimson of Feb. 5 that the Cambridge City Council is considering a ban on smoking in bars and nightclubs (News, “Upcoming Vote To Ban Smoking Splits Cambridge City Council”). I was dismayed, however, to see that the proposal as currently worded will likely not pass and that most of the opposition is based on fears that Cambridge bars will lose business to Somerville and Watertown, where smoking in bars is still allowed.

I think opponents of the ban are ignoring the fact that there are many of us who like to enjoy a drink at a bar without having toxic fumes wafting into our faces. For my part, I would be more likely to venture down from Somerville if the City Council passes the ban. On the other hand, if the Council votes the ban down, they’re underestimating the number of Cantabrigians who will be more likely to do their drinking and clubbing across the Charles when the Boston smoking ban goes into effect in May.

Smokers are a minority in Cambridge. If bars and City Councillors are worried about losing the patronage of smokers if the ban passes, they should be all the more worried about losing the patronage of the non-smoking majority if the ban doesn’t pass.

Benjamin I. Krefetz ’00

Somerville, Mass.

Feb. 5, 2003