Clearing the Smoke: More on Cigs in the City

By Lola

The other day I posted something about the imminent demise of smoking in Mexico City restaurants. Here’s a bit more on the subject:

A few days ago, Francisco Mijares Noriega (president of CANIRAC, the National Chamber for the Food and Restaurant Industry), proposed that each restaurant choose whether it wants to be a smoking or a non-smoking establishment, and let the patrons decide for themselves which one they want to patronize. Seems logical to moi.

His reasoning is as follows: it would be impossible to ask the nearly 35 thousand city restaurants to comply, because many of them would be forced to shut down, thereby adding some 10 to 15 thousand mexicanos to the ranks of the unemployed. Not good.

Mijares Noriega explained that a whopping 98 percent of restaurants are micro and small establishments–mainly family businesses with single owners. He stressed that CANIRAC does not defend smokers, but that the organization would simply like a “just and equal” application of the law. He also made it clear should the ban go into effect, CANIRAC would accept the new law.

In other words: if you want tobacco with your taco, go right ahead. If not, go somewhere else–and believe me, there will be plenty of places to enjoy a smoke-free sope. We all have rights and no, I’m not a bleeding heart. But I do agree with Mijares Noriega, though, that restauranteurs–and patrons–should be given a choice.

So there.

4 thoughts on “Clearing the Smoke: More on Cigs in the City”

  1. So, is it better to have many thousand “Mexicanos” added to the ranks of people with smoke induced health problems than to force restaurants to have smoke free areas? Let us not forget that waiters, cleaning staff, etc. who work in restaurants also have to share toxic air with smokers.

    I agree that somkers whould have the right to kill themselves… alone! When I go to a restaurant, I do not want to have to go “seeking posada” from place to place until I find one restaurant where I can breath clean air.

    Also, As a societey, we should discourage smoking. The extra costs of health care for smokers in IMSS, ISSTE and SSA facilites are shared by everybody, including non-smokers.

  2. Indeed, Rodrigo – ergo the word “choice”. This way, smokers have a choice to indulge their habit and those who wish not to sup with smoke have a choice to abscond. That includes the waiters, cleaning staff, etc.

    In a perfect world, the non-smoking restaurants will have so many patrons that the smoking establishments will find it in their best interests to switch; non-smoking “mexicanos” will actively see the benefits of eating without an ashtray on their table; etc. etc. etc.

    In a perfect world.

  3. Lola, we can give up and accept the world as it is, or we can make an effort to improve it. In my view, the new no-smoking regulations in Mexico City are a daring effort to improve the environment we live in.

  4. Believe me, I do recognize the government’s derring-do in trying to tackle such a huge issue head-on. I am only stressing the importance of having choices. Good, bad or otherwise, smokers have rights, too. Whether you or I agree with what they’re doing is another thing.

    What we CAN do is take our business to the smoke-free taquerias, continue to patronize them and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the smoking joints disappear altogether.

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