Tuesday’s lunch hour offered many smokers and nonsmokers their first taste of a smoke-free lunch.
The new state law that bans smoking in most enclosed public places went into effect Tuesday and Kyle Frette of Des Moines used the occasion to eat at a place he often avoided because of its smoky haze. "Now it’s nice to be able to choose anyplace that I feel excited for," he says. "I’m going to let my hunger decide where I’m going to eat."
Frette actually lives across the street from Francie’s, a pub known for its spicy sausage grinders. Frette says he loves the food, but couldn’t stand the smoke. Now, the establishment — by law — is smoke-free. "I’m just excited as someone who lives really close to Francie’s to be able to come here and enjoy what is really delicious and good food in a smoke-free, healthier environment," Frette says.
Out on the patio at Francie’s, Dave Stratton was celebrating his birthday with a group of friends. "We were here once before and we sat inside and (were) smoking and it just seemed like a real relaxed atmosphere and now everybody’s all uptight about the smoking," Stratton says. "We’re outside. Who in there’s going to be breathing it? At least allow us to smoke out here."
The rules drawn up by the Department of Public Health classify nearly every bar that serves hot food as a restaurant, which means no smoking on the bar’s patio. Stratton hopes that rule gets changed so he can light up on the patio at Francie’s. "OK, we can’t smoke inside. Well, if it’s nice out here, why not?" Stratton asks. "If we want to stand out here and freeze, we’ll stand out here and freeze — but we’ll be smoking."