As the state waits for the Legislature to make some sort of iron-clad decision on second-hand smoke, the Haberman brothers have decided to act, banning smoking from inside the two venues they own, Ferndale's bosco lounge and the Magic Bag. The siblings have decided to declare their independence from cigarette smoke beginning this Independence Day – July 4, 2009.
Daniel Haberman, co-owner of the bosco, says the bars are challenging Lansing to act with this new rule. “We’re just tired and frustrated, watching our elected officials secure Michigan’s status as a tumbleweed relic, protecting MGM and Marlboro instead of Main Street and Michigan," he said in a statement. "We hope that our actions push Lansing to finally bring Michigan into the new millennium.”
Daniel's brother, Jeremy Haberman, co-owner of the bosco and owner of the Magic Bag, says, “It just doesn’t make any sense. Even North Carolina and Virginia have clean air and they’re the home of the tobacco industry! We find all national touring acts are shocked that Michigan still allows indoor smoking. They say that no venues, other than a couple in the rural South, still allow smoking.”
“My staff has had it with smoky clothing, itchy eyes, sore throats, and that pesky increased risk of cancer," says Daniel. "We opened the bosco to send a message to our region that we can do better. We’ve seen countless bars try to copy our every action. Maybe we’ll see this move copied, too. We aren’t afraid to make a statement if it means making Michigan stronger and our employees healthier.”
Smokers at the bosco will be permitted to smoke on the outdoor courtyard, while smokers at the Magic Bag will have a comfortable outdoor smoking area as well. Both venues vow to do their best to ensure the comfort of smokers and non-smokers alike.
EDIT: Received an e-mail from a San Franciso reader last night who pointed out that this info has it a bit wrong -- to quote the e-mail: "It would seem there's plenty of venues where one can smoke, drink and hear some moooosic" in the U.S. In fact, you can see how the country divides on the subject by clicking here (though the chart seems to indicated that "plenty" is pushing it a little bit). Nevertheless, after 20-plus years in L.A., at least 15 of which were smoke-free in bars, clubs and restaurants, I can say that I welcome going to a club and not coming home with clothes that smell like the bottom of an ashtray and inflamed lungs. Most servers probably feel the same, I bet ...even if two nurses at my doctor's office -- where I'm being treated for bronchitis for three months now (gee, thanks to that friend who infected me at Blowout in March, for crissakes) -- went "out for a smoke" behind the building yesterday...