A smokeasy (also spelled smoke-easy or smokeeasy) is a business, especially a barroom, which allows smoking despite a smoking ban enacted as a criminal law or an occupational safety and health regulation. Finding a smokeasy can be difficult, since the illegal nature of the operation makes it difficult to promote. [ Smoking Ban NYC Profile - 28 days] .] The word was added to the "New Oxford American Dictionary" in 2005, ["New Words," "Chicago Tribune", June 5, 2005.] although it was used as early as 1978. [Melinda Beck, "No Smoking," "Newsweek", October 2, 1978] [ [ Wordspy: Smoke-easy] ] It is a portmanteau of the word "smoking" with the word "speakeasy."


Smoking bans have been described as a type of sumptuary law (laws which attempt to regulate habits of consumption), just like the prohibition of alcohol and drug prohibition. ["Johns-Manville Sales Corp. v. International Ass'n of Machinists, Local Lodge 1609", 621 F.2d 756, 760 (5th Cir. 1980)] ["People v. King", 102 A.D.2d 710, 712 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st. Dept. 1984) (Carro, J., dissenting)] [John C. Fox, "An assessment of the current legal climate concerning smoking in the workplace," 13 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 591, 623-624 (1994)] [William de Wiveleslie Abney, "Colour Vision", p. 140 (Wood: 1895)] [Wilhelm Georg Friedrich Roscher, "Principles of Political Economy", p. 248 (New York, Holt: 1878)] [Herman F. Selvin, "The University of California and California Law and Lawyers, 1920-1978", transcript of interview by Anne Brower, p. 35 (1976 and 1978)] ["Summary," "The American Architect", Vol. XCII, No. 1650, p. 2 (Aug. 10, 1907)] [Harvey W. Wiley, in H.S. Gray, "The Boy and the Cigarette Habit," "Education", Vol. XXX, No. 5, p. 298 (Jan. 1909)] [Lewis Lapham, "Notebook: Social hygiene" "Harper's Magazine", July 1, 2003] [Barbara Amiel, "Good luck if you've got nasty underclass tastes," "Maclean's", September 10, 2007] [David Brooks, "" (Simon & Schuster: 2000)] Such prohibitions tend to trigger underground economies.Stu Bykofsky, "'Smoke-easys' ignore the tobacco ban", "Philadelphia Inquirer", March 27, 2007] Taras Grescoe, "The Devil's Picnic: Around the World in Search of Forbidden Fruit" (Bloomsbury USA: 2005)] [ "Smokers find refuge in secret nicotine dens"] , "", May 31, 2006] "Cig-ban Scofflaws light up Ash-Toria," "The New York Post", May 8, 2006.] For, when a sector of the population is prohibited by law from consuming a certain good, or consuming a certain good in a certain way, inevitably some will flout that prohibition and provide the good or the means of consuming the good in a black market fashion. Thus, just as prohibition in the United States led to the speakeasy (establishments in which alcohol was sold in contravention of the law), so too have smoking bans led to the smokeasy..


Some smokeasy operators simply operate openly, figuring the fines they will collect is merely a cost of doing business. Others employ stealth tactics. For example, in Philadelphia, where it is illegal to have an ashtray in the workplace, smokeasy bartenders sometimes will use cups filled with some water to serve as ashtrays. A visit from the city inspector then merely requires getting customers to extinguish their smoking materials and disposing of the cigarette butts.

Because smokeasies are breaking the law, usually locations are spread by word-of-mouth; they even may involve the swearing of secrecy. Although some smokeasies are underground establishments [ "Warning over 'smoke-easy' lock-ins"] , "The Scotsman", August 29, 2006] , others are ordinary bars which in the evening covertly permit smoking.


New York City

Within one month of the passage of New York City's smoking ban in 2003, smokeasies were quickly predicted. Shortly thereafter, some bartenders began to hear word of smokeasies, and theorized that some former regulars who were smokers had switched to the smokeasies. [ [ "Sidewalk Soakings,"] "The Villager", June 25, 2003.] Today, both covert and overt smokeasies exist throughout New York City and the whole state of New York. ["Cig ban? What cig ban? City hot spots smoking again," "The New York Post", May 27, 2007] [ [ Empire State Smokeasies] , "Funkypundit Blog", April 2, 2007] [ [ "Waiting to inhale"] , "The New York Times", January 4, 2004] ["Lighting-up time: Big Apple meets Big Smoke," "The Times", April 1, 2005.] ["Gangsters will be the real winners in smoking ban," "Scottish Daily Record", January 7, 2005.] ["Smoked out?" "The Buffalo News", February 18, 2004.] ["N.Y. restaurants cutting trans fat from menus," "The Washington Times", December 6, 2006.] ["The Guide to the Guides," "The Observer" (United Kingdom), January 30, 2005.] ["A year after New York smoking ban, debate still rages over effects," "The Philadelphia Inquirer", March 31, 2004.] ["Late Night Cracks in City's Ban," "New York Post", March 4, 2004.] ["On The Run," "The New York Times", June 8, 2003.] ["Even for V.I.P.'s, Sometimes A Cigar Is Just Illegal," "The New York Times", August 14, 2004] As a result, New York City unexpectedly has had to begin a campaign of enforcing its smoking ban: in 2005-2006, the city issued 601 citations to smokeasies, including 232 in Queens, 158 in Manhattan, 126 in Brooklyn, 73 in The Bronx and 12 in Staten Island.


In Hawaii, a large number of establishments openly defy the statewide smoking ban, one of America's strictest, which went into effect on November 16, 2006.Dean Carrico, "Thank you for [not] smoking: Bartenders and bar owners continue to ignore smoking ban," "Honolulu Weekly", June 27, 2007] [Mark Niesse, "Smoking ban openly defied by some bars," "The Honolulu Advertiser", February 18, 2007] [Laurie Au, "Smoking-ban rules, enforcement coming: Bar owners OK with patrons defying smoking ban," "The Honolulu Star-Bulletin", June 30, 2007] Several bars have disclosed their defiance in local newspapers, and have invited television stations to film the unlawful smoking. [ "What smoking ban? Some bars defy new law," "Pacific Business Journal", February 16, 2007] ] As of 2008, no bar has been fined, and open defiance continues. Up to half of the bar owners in Honolulu have signed statements claiming losses averaging 30%, and expressed open concern at the anti-smoking lobby claim that it would not affect business. A claim that was later re-inforced by the Hawaii Department of Health's air quality study and Honolulu Liquor Commission sales data. As a result, proposals currently are before the Hawaii Legislature to exempt bars from the statewide smoking ban by creating a new type of liquor license which permits the licensee to allow smoking. [Mark Niesse, "Bill would allow smoking in bars: Some establishments ignore the ban and are going unpunished," "The Honolulu Star-Bulletin", February 21, 2007]


Smokeasies have become a noted phenomenon in most jurisdictions with a ban on smoking in bars and/or restaurants, including Alberta [Collette Derworiz, "City to enforce smoking ban: Bylaw officers will charge bar owners flouting rules," "The Calgary Herald", January 11, 2007] , Arizona ["Tempe wants to wipe out its 'smoke-easies,' "The Arizona Republic", August 8, 2002] , Boston ["Where there's smoke," "Boston Magazine", May, 2005.] , California [ [ "California's Ban to Clear Smoke Inside Most Bars"] "The New York Times", December 31, 1997] [ [ "The Land of Smoke-Easies, $500 Barfs"] "The San Francisco Chronicle", May 15, 1998] ["Suck It Up," "SF Weekly", January 22, 2003] , Colorado [ [ "Bars rebel against smoking ban,"] "The Colorado Springs Gazette", March 28, 2007] , Columbia, Missouri ["Tickets add heat to ban on smoking," "Columbia Tribune", March 3, 2007] , Delaware ["Smoking bans burn businesses," "Delaware News Journal", December 15, 2002] , Dublin ["Beware of complacency as 'smoke-easies' appear", "The Irish News", June 12, 2007] , Germany [ [,,2243763,00.html "'Nazi' claim as Germans rebel over smoking ban," "The Observer", January 20, 2008] ] [ [,1518,527908,00.html "German Don Quixotes Tilt against Smoking Ban", "Der Spiegel", January 11, 2008] ] , Illinois [ [ "Three South Beloit Bars Fined for Smoking Ban Violation", "WREX-TV", May 20, 2008] ] [Eric Petersen, "Three Schaumburg businesses violate new smoking ban," "The Arlington Heights Daily Herald", March, 2007] [ [ "Smoking ban holds up, despite opposition", "The Telegraph", February 23, 2008] ] , Manitoba [Michelle MacAfee, "Manitobans smoke it up," "The Canadian Press", October 31, 2004] [David Schmeichel, "Smoke cops strike: Treherne hotelier vows to fight 'fascist law,'" "The Winnipeg Sun", November 13, 2004] , Minnesota [G.R. Anderson, Jr., "Busted: The rumor and truth of one club's struggle against the smoking ban," "City Pages", February 17, 2006] , Ohio [Tracy Wheeler, "Smoking ban leaves some bars smoldering," "The Akron Beacon Journal", November 18, 2007] [Elaine T. Secora, "Smoke and fire," "Cleveland Scene", January 31, 2007] [ [ "smoke-easies, altoid tins, blue moon, janis joplin and vivid imaginations"] "Yellow Is The Color Blog"] [ [ "Smoking ban fines about to get bigger", "The Marion Star", December 27, 2007] ] [ [ "Underground smokehouses open amid crackdown on smoking, strip clubs", "Cleveland Plain Dealer", February 3, 2008] ] [ [ "Columbus bar challenges enforcement of smoking ban", "Associated Press", May 20, 2008] ] , Philadelphia ["New vice, same solutions," "Philadelphia Daily News", March 26, 2007] [ [ "Smoke-easies"] , "Fort Wayne News-Sentinel", March 28, 2007] [Natalie Pompilio, "Ban hardly a crushing blow," "The Philadelphia Inquirer", November, 2006] , Qatar [ [ "Ban on smoking openly flouted", "The Gulf Times", December 27, 2007] ] , Scotland, Seattle ["Law or no law, Seattle bars still smoking," UPI, June 1, 2006] , South Carolina [ [ "Snitches silent about county's 16-month-old smoking ban", "The Beaufort Gazette", May 10, 2008] ] , Toronto [ [ "Speakeasies? Nah, smoke-easies"] , "The Toronto Sun", May 25, 2006] , the United Kingdom [ [ "Stand-off!", "The Huddersfield Daily Examiner", January 17, 2008] ] ["Defiant bar owner finds 'loophole' to flout smoking ban," "The Daily Mail", August 3, 2007] [ [ "My local smoke-easy", "The New Statesman", February 7, 2008] ] [ [ "The Big Smoke-easy," "The Publican", February 21, 2008] ] ,Thailand [ [ Dave The Rave’s Thailand Go-Go Bars & Bargirls Guide » Blog Archive » Thailand Night Fever ] ] , Utah [ [ "Everyone Head for the Smoke-Easy"] , "Utah Statesman", December 12, 2006] , and Washington, D.C.. ["Smoke-easies offer cover from puff police; Aficionados just want a place to light up, relax," "The Washington Times", November 20, 2003]

ee also

* Smoking ban
* List of smoking bans in the United States
* Speakeasy


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