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Raw DS Article: Smoking Ban

April 7, 2010

Before we begin this week’s article, I’d like to make a glaring admission. Sometimes writers hit roadblocks. Tonight I had one. I take no responsibility for the almost cop-out like nature of this article. Next week’s will be better! For reference, here is Delta’s safety video, and here’s 10 minutes of Deltalina’s “famed” finger wag.

On Delta Air Lines airplanes equipped with video screens (a.k.a. those that never serve Grand Forks), passengers are shown a video version of the industry-standard and government mandated briefing that instructs passengers on all of the safety equipment on-board the airplane. The video take a whole new approach to the safety briefing, blending rocking music and an incredibly attractive female flight attendant to create something that most middle-aged businessmen on their first Delta flight would pay attention to. Deltalina (as she’s come to be known amongst regular travelers and aviation nerds like myself) does a very good job outlining how to use the seatbelts, oxygen masks and where to stow baggage. Obviously, safety is serious business, especially when in a long metal tube several miles in the sky. The video itself, however, features a lighthearted approach to several things, including the fact that you cannot smoke onboard the airplane. So lighthearted, in fact, that Deltalina famously wags her finger in a very sultry manner, instructing passengers that “SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED” on Delta flights. This part of the video inherently makes me laugh, even after 20+ viewings.
Deltalina’s famous line was the first thing I thought of when news broke on Monday that the Grand Forks City Council passed a ban on smoking on bars and restaurants. The ban, effective in August, will make great strides toward better nightlife in Grand Forks. My “bar” clothing is already breathing a sigh of relief. My lungs look forward to coming home from a night out sans the inevitable burning feeling that comes from a night spent in a smoky room.

Some question why the city feels the need to take the “rights” of smokers to light up indoors away. Bars inevitably say that they will lose significant business. While there is some data to back this up, I, for one will be more willing to make my way downtown for a few drinks and will be more likely to hit bars I wouldn’t normally consider going to as a result of cigarette smoke. I’d also be more willing to spend more time and more money at one or two currently smoky bars that I normally visit.

There’s something to be said about Grand Forks moving forward with this decision as well. Having been to other cities, states and countries that have outlawed smoking in bars (including a stereotypically unlikely France), this move puts us in league with much of the rest of these places. In the end, I fully expect business to come around for the city’s bars. A lack of a place to smoke inside isn’t going to steer people clear of bars.
I, for one, commend the City Council and Mayor and thank them for a job well done.

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