Chris Maclean: New York bars are smoke (and choke) free

By Chris Maclean

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New york Eating

There were several aspects of bar life that I was particularly interested in. Of particular concern was the fact that New York was one of the first...

There were several aspects of bar life that I was particularly interested in. Of particular concern was the fact that New York was one of the first places to vociferously introduce their smoking ban. It was swift, pioneering and decisive. In this, the Land of the Free, how would they cope?

Well remarkably smoothly it would seem. I saw no evidence of any problems and there was not even any dialogue about it. In several bars I tried to discuss the issue but nobody seemed interested ~ whether smokers or not. It wasn't apparent who was responsible for enforcing it and I wasn't sure what the penalties might be if you transgressed.

Everybody simply adhered to the law. I kept my eye out for statutory signs and was pleased to see the bars here were considered intelligent enough not to require you to put up signs that state the obvious.

However I was amused to discover there were two signs that seemed to appear in every establishment. They may, or may not, have been statutory. One, in the "rest-room" said "Employees must wash their hands" which I found slightly odd. I am not sure what that message conveyed to the public.

I felt uncomfortable eating in a place where it felt necessary to tell employees that. Without that prompt would the chefs forget? I am not sure if toilet related contamination is a significant factor over there. It just made me feel a little queasy.

The second sign was a large diagrammatic one showing what to do in the event of someone choking in a restaurant. In text and cartoon pictures it showed what the signs were and how to respond to the situation. I was unsure about this. Without doubt Americans eat vast amounts of seemingly very messy food with their hands or, at best, with a fork only.

I thought I adapted to this lifestyle well although it seemed my wife was constantly mopping my chin. But are such eating methods inclined to make you choke? It would seem so. I saw no evidence of choking victims. No white tape body shaped outlines on the floor.

But everywhere we ate the portions seemed enormous and meaty. A sixteen ounce steak was considered lightweight. By the end I was hankering for a vegetarian meal or at least some fresh vegetables. The choking potential of their diet seems high. So employees, aware of the symptoms, could respond to the crisis.

Perhaps if the Americans used their knives and took smaller mouthfuls it might alleviate the situation but I guess it is their right. I'd need to check the Constitution.

Related topics Legislation

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