The Grace Period's Almost Over, So Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

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Photo: LA Quits via Flickr

Yesterday, Gourmet took a look at that old chestnut and new taboo, the after-dinner cigarette. With the outdoor smoking ban looming on L.A.'s horizon, restaurant-going Angelenos have exactly three days to enjoy such a puff anywhere within ten feet of an outdoor dining area and forty feet from food kiosks, food carts, and food trucks within city limits. Yes, that's right! Starting Tuesday, you won't even be allowed to smoke around food trucks and food tables, no matter if the billows of smoke coming from Mexicali Taco Co.'s grill are doing your lungs worse damage. Naturally, it will be difficult to enforce a ban on sidewalk smoking, so restaurants themselves are being tasked with the job of telling people to move their skanky practices to the appropriate zone, with a possible $500 fine slapping both customer and owner alike for violations. But the Department of Public Health does have a campaign coming to inform the reported 14.3% of L.A. residents who still smoke and the restaurants they will soon be driving crazy.

You're soon going to see a ton of ads like the above photo rolling around town and on radio pitches and websites, all patting the City Council's measure on the back and gloating about the fresh air we're all to be getting soon (when it's not a heavy smog day, of course). The ads show a food item with a typical phrase along the lines of "What makes this burger better? A side of fresh air." Hard to disagree with that one, there's nothing like getting a nauseating whiff of some joker's Marlboro the nanosecond before you take a bite. There's currently a website that explains the entire campaign and shows some early glimpses of the ads to come.

The only exceptions being made in this matter are for nightclubs and buildings that are holding private events. This means they must be completely closed to the general public and only with patrons over eighteen. Perhaps a rise in private, smoking-based clubs is right around the corner? We'll see once Tuesday's ban goes into effect.