California: Clearing The Air

Clearing The Air

When Beverly Hills banned smoking in eating places last April, restaurateurs warned that the ruling would drive away their customers. They were not just blowing smoke. Since the ban went into effect, some bistro owners have lost up to 30% of their customers to restaurants in nearby towns that permit them to puff away at will. But there was a loophole in the smoke ring: bars and cocktail lounges were exempt from the law. Soon many of Beverly Hills' toniest dining spots were sporting makeshift signs proclaiming that they too were "bars." Customers who objected to the flouting of the law,...

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