Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Web Site Location - Here

SmokeFreeWorld (www.smokefreeworld.com) is now pointing to this blog.
I have no complaints about my previous host, but have decided to Go Blog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What was SmokeFreeWorld

By mid-2009 I was too busy to run SmokeFreeWorld as a business anymore.
I'll add some materal about www.smokefreeworld.com to this blog eventually.

SmokeFreeWorld was meant to be an ad-supported, world-wide business directory. Listings were free for smokefree entertainment (restaurants, bars, clubs and so on); businesses based on lodging (hotels, B&Bs, etc.) were asked to pay for listings.

There've been lots of expressions of moral support (and funny hate mail too) but it didn't succeed as a business, or at any rate, I didn't make it succeed, and it wasn't a sentimental project, so I moved on.

At any rate, on the sentimental side, I am so grateful for real change - in many parts of the world you no longer have to deal with smoke when you dine out or go clubbing or travel.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

legislative information

SmokeFreeWorld is not set up to be an authoritative, up-to-date source of information on legislation, but people (surprise) do not read FAQs, and are upset that I have not heard of the smoking ban in {name your town}.

SFW was set up to list venues which are actually smokefree. De facto, not de jure. This is because (as mentioned in the FAQ) smoking bans are often widely ignored for some time. SFW is a thank-you to venues which walk the walk. So to speak.

Many web sites track legislation (which is often contested in court). That is their purpose. For instance:
www.ash.org
ash.org.uk
www.smokefree.net
www.tobacco.org

If your town has passed a smoking ban, wonderful, please let me know. Your impressions of how the ban is actually going would be welcome. If you would like to suggest a particular venue which has led by example, I'd be happy to list it.

Please visit www.smokefreeworld.com to see sample listings.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Holy haggis, smokefree bars in Scotland

Yes I knew that Scotland had banned smoking in restaurants and bars, but seeing (breathing) is believing. Drinking, music and no smoking - at least not inside. But even sitting outside not many people seemed to be smoking. Monday night was open mic at Whistle Binkie's, a below-stairs bar and small music and dance club in Edinburgh. Nice, mellow crowd, decent music, not too loud to have a conversation. In fact Edinburgh is just really nice all around. Where else can you run into a crowd of boys randomly rehearsing bagpipe tunes? Great to my ears.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

sources of information

So how do I get the information?
At first, I gathered most of it myself. I made hundreds of phone calls, combed through newspapers for restaurant ads, inquired in online newsgroups, asked friends. Wherever I went in my travels, I looked around for smokefree venues.

I was nervous about making cold calls, but almost no one was rude. People in the hospitality business are basically polite. They are, however, busy, often underpaid, and often English is not their first language, especially in restaurants. So I kept calls short and to the point.

Later, people began sending information, and links to their own sites.

It was hard to find venues to list in the beginning. In addition to there being fewer back then, there was an inability to recognize the business or consumer side of things. For example, I would find smokefree restaurants where the manager didn't know that people might really like to know about this. Or I would contact a bureaucrat working on smokefree legislation, or an academic who had spoken at a conference on the subject, and I would ask, do you know of any smokefree restaurants which deserve to be listed on the web site? I would get the e-mail equivalent of a blank stare. There seemed to be no understanding that consumers can exert pressure in their entertainment and dining choices.

ironies

When I started the web site, the reactions were:
-Isn't it smokefree everywhere? (this in California)
-Smokefree bars - never gonna happen, ha ha, silly nonsmokers
-How dare you even ask if our town has any smokefree restaurants

Now the reactions are:
- You nonsmokers have taken over the world, you hate freedom
- Your list is out of date, mine is better
- Whaddya mean you charge for an ad

The occasional hate mails can be interesting:
"I hope to Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buda, the God of Israel, and all lesser deities, that each and every person in your organization contracts cancer and dies, and I hope your family suffers many different ways. THIS IS NOT A THREAT JUST A DREAM OF MINE. "

Then there was the (self-described) fireman who was angry he wasn't allowed to smoke in the firehouse anymore, and reminded me that the death of those poor people in the world trade center in NYC was for my freedom.