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The two-year-old state law banning the smoking of tobacco in Baja’s bars, bistros, and restaurants — “Ley Antitabaco” — is being ignored by the patrons who puff. In fact, the absence of enforcement is visible through the pale purple-gray clouds that hover in the air in most drinking establishments.

Most bars started off strongly with the removal of ashtrays and posted signs that declared no fumar. Unobliging patrons were 86’ed into the streets if they dared to light up. The initial stern stance, however, has slackened since the law’s inauguration. Rebellious smokers lit up, and the statute became generally ignored by acquiescent bar-owners.

So far, owners of such renegade establishments have received mainly warnings to clamp down on puffers, with only admonitions being issued by the cigarette police.

Since the ban on butts, 273 establishments in Mexicali, 214 in Ensenada, and 87 in TJ have received such warnings, but further action can include fines, suspensions, and even closures. Three suspensions in Mexicali and one in Tijuana have thus far occurred.

Ricardo Zamarrón Guevara, director of Protección Contra Riesgos Sanitarios, says that the smoke cops are reluctant to crack down on the bars because of the economic downturn that has ravaged Tijuana, so they are inviting owners to once again comply voluntarily with the law.

Source: Frontera

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PistolPete Feb. 25, 2010 @ 8:50 p.m.

Too bad Americans don't have the balls to do this...


David Dodd Feb. 25, 2010 @ 9:06 p.m.

meh. It's a different dynamic here. First, many Mexicans only smoke when they go drinking. I know that sounds odd, but it's true. Also, if you go into a bar here, you can smoke, but if people complain about it, the owner/manager will certainly enforce the law and ask you to put it out. Otherwise, yes, puff away.

Restaurants, contrary to this article, are mostly in compliance. There are certainly some eateries that will let you light up, but most will not.


antigeekess Feb. 26, 2010 @ 12:46 a.m.

I tend to smoke when I drink, too. Otherwise, it's maybe a cig every week or two.

Yeah, of course California's own special brand of liberal fascism is way on the OTHER end of the scale, with local smoking bans in outside areas like public parks, and inside areas such as one's own apartment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_smoking_bans_in_the_United_States#.C2.A0California

It's excessive and nutty. I'm not a fan of indoor cigarette smoke and am in favor of restaurant bans in general, although a completely separate smoking section would be fine with me. An outdoor smoking section would be fine, except for the same issue of smoke wafting in from being too near the building. In public parks and other outdoor areas, I don't have a problem with it. Butt litter is a separate issue, and should be covered under littering statutes.

Also, CIGARS are a different issue altogether, AFAIC. Jeezus, they're awful. They deserve their own special category of awfulness, despite being trendy amongst supposedly heterosexual males who like to shove a big ole phallic symbol in their mouths and lip it for a while. Seems to be the balding man's equivalent of a little boy eating a bug to impress upon his friends what a badass he is. Just gross.


David Dodd Feb. 26, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

I enjoy a big, nasty phallic symbol now and then, but I wouldn't light one up in a public place unless it was filled with people also enjoying a puro. My wife hates 'em. I'm relegated to cigars in my office with the door closed.


antigeekess Feb. 26, 2010 @ 7:29 a.m.

I think writers are required to smoke either a cigar or a pipe, aren't they? :)

Back in the 80s, I persuaded a boyfriend to switch from cigars to a pipe. Pipe tobacco smells yummy, more like incense. Looked kinda funny on a 30-year-old housepainter, but he enjoyed being perceived as artsy and idiosyncratic (read "odd"), so the pretentious appearance of the thing appealed to his ego.

You're lucky Rocio lets you stay in the house with that thing. She could always build you a little shed out back with desk in it, and present it to you for your birthday. After all, writers are supposed to like a lot of privacy, right?

It's you she'd be thinking of here, of course.



David Dodd Feb. 26, 2010 @ 9:31 a.m.

Rocio calls my office, "my cave". I'm certain that if we had the room, she'd approve the expansion of a detached building ;)

Regarding writers, the best ones were notorious drinkers. Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Saroyan, Bukowski, and so on. Most of them smoked, too. As an aspiring novelist, then, I want to think that I'm in good company. But hell, the entire publishing world is in a period of great upheaval. Electronic books are turning things upside down. With my bad luck, the next generation of great writers will be tofu-eating teetotalers who never miss their yoga classes.


jerome Feb. 26, 2010 @ 9:53 a.m.

"First, many Mexicans only smoke when they go drinking" waaat...... gringo waz up wit dat......


David Dodd Feb. 26, 2010 @ 10:14 a.m.

Jerome, it's true! I smoke all of the time, but many (actually, more than many) Mexicans I drink with only smoke in the bar. I can't explain it. But more power to them. Here's another factoid about Mexicans in Mexico: Many do not drink at home, only outside of the home. Again, I can't explain it, only report it. I could make guesses as to why, but I'd rather not speculate on personal decisions. I can only say that, empirically, these are truths.


SDaniels Feb. 26, 2010 @ 10:46 a.m.

"With my bad luck, the next generation of great writers will be tofu-eating teetotalers who never miss their yoga classes."

Hmm. Not in the departments I've hung around in, and I can speak mainly about writers associated with the university, where tofu and yoga are more common to the students than faculty.

I've met plenty of teetotaling, nonsmoking writers at university. It seems these boomers got everything out of their systems in the 60s and 70s, and now ideas and intellectual productivity are their intoxicants. The black turtleneck and funky glasses are still ubiquitous, though ;)


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