Compliance With a Smoke-Free Air Act: Bars in New York City

Stephen J. Sifaneck, N.D.R.I., Inc.
Bruce D. Johnson, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Eloise Dunlap, N. D. R. I., Inc.

On March 30, 2003, New York City began the enactment and enforcement of the "New York City Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002." This law prohibits smoking in virtually all businesses and establishemts including bars, restaurants, and sports arenas. Compliance with such a law is especially problematic in NYCs' many alcohol-serving bars where tobacco (and sometimes marijuana) smoking is a prevalent behavior of many patrons. Based on systematic-observations (before and after enactment of the law) and ethnographic interviews in bars on the Lower East Side of Manhattan this paper will investigate: (1) Changes in smoking behaviors of bar patrons (frequency, cessation, sharing rituals). (2) Whether or not bar owners choose to comply or circumvent the new law. (3) Adaptive changes in bar environments (separately ventilated enclosed smoking rooms, addition of outdoor areas).

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Updated 05/20/2006