So when is a smoking ban not a smoking ban? When it’s in Philadelphia, which I have decided today is the most messed up city in the USA. Don’t get me wrong…I still love Philly…but it’s still a really f’d up city.

OK…here’s the deal…Philadelphia City Council recently passed a smoking ban, but it allowed smoking to continue at outdoor cafes and restaurants. Well, some members of City Council thought that didn’t do enough so it decided to close that loophole.

As is customary in these types of things, that required a trade-off…so another part of the smoking bill was widened to allow a few more smaller neighborhood taprooms to permit smoking.

Well, yesterday, City Council hammered out the adjustments, which are scheduled to take effect January 8, and sent the bill to Mayor John Street for signing. However, there’s a catch. Once Mayor Street signs the revised smoking ban, the entire ban will be basically off the books throughout the city until it kicks in again with the adjustments January 8.

In other words, it will be smoking season again in Philadelphia…and just in time, too, because nothing spreads holiday cheer faster than second-hand smoke.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Philadelphia City Council tweaked the smoking ban yesterday, widening one loophole for neighborhood bars but closing another that permitted smoking at outdoor cafes and restaurants.

If signed by Mayor Street, the bill also would have the odd effect of sending smokers a little holiday gift: re-legalizing smoking in all bars and eateries until Jan. 8, when it is scheduled to take effect.

The adjustments have been in the works since June, when Councilman Frank DiCicco helped win the votes needed for the original ban by introducing a companion bill that would make the exemption for neighborhood bars permanent. It was the companion bill that Council passed yesterday, 15-2.

I just hope Mayor Street does not sign the bill today because I will be eating at a restaurant in the Northen Liberties section of Philly and going to the My Morning Jacket show at The Electric Factory tonight. It’s bad enough it’s going to be windy and raining outside…I don’t need to be spending my time indoors in a cloud of cigarette smoke.

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