Nicotine and caffeine
Walking into the Crazy Mocha coffee shop on Ellsworth Avenue was comparable to smelling the hamper after a night out at the bars.
Even mid-morning on a weekday, with few people sitting in the shop and none of them smoking, the smell of former puffers lingered. And within five minutes of being there, new smokers lit up, sipping from their mugs of coffee.
"Cigarettes and coffee, man, that's a combination," said Iggy Pop in the aptly named 2003 movie "Cigarettes and Coffee."
A 2003 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that young women who drink coffee are five times more likely to smoke, with 25 percent of all coffee drinkers being smokers.
But with Allegheny County Council trying to pass a bill banning smoking in most workplaces -- which would include restaurants, bars and coffeehouses -- the cigarette-and-coffee combo might be something soon enjoyed only at home -- or on a porch.
"I'd survive. I'd be sad, but I'd survive," said Justin Lauber, 28, of Shadyside, as he took a drag inside Crazy Mocha.
Even now, smoke-as-you-will coffee shops are hard to come by. One of the reasons Lauber said he frequents Crazy Mocha is that it's the only one he can find near his house that lets him light up.
"There's something about it, I don't know what," he said. "Just about everybody in this coffee shop smokes, so it's kind of hard not to."
You won't find anyone pulling out a pack of Camels at a Starbucks. Even most of Crazy Mocha Coffee Company's locations don't allow smoking. Of the seven locations, only the ones in Bloomfield and Shadyside are smoke-filled. When Crazy Mocha owner Ken Zeff bought those two locations, they were formerly coffeehouses that allowed smoking.
"That was sort of the niche of both of those shops," Zeff said, adding he didn't want them to lose that appeal. "The feel of the stores we're creating now just don't having the smoking feel to them."
The 61C Cafe in Squirrel Hill tries to appease both those who relish fresh air and those who enjoy their caffeine and nicotine together. Smokers aren't allowed to light up indoors, but many of them take advantage of the outdoor patio, employee Josh Higgins said.
Of course, with today's complicated array of coffee concoctions, 61C patrons are as likely to be smoking over a black Java as they are over iced mochas with soy milk or a sugar-free vanilla cappuccino with skim milk and no foam.
The coffee-and-cigarettes combo becomes an addiction feeding another addiction, said Tim Sedwick, so much so that his mom couldn't quit smoking without quitting coffee.
Sedwick hasn't quit either one. He enjoys his cup of joe at the Beehive coffeehouse on East Carson Street, where smokers have their own cigarette-approved rooms, complete with board games and computers.
"Personally, I find it the perfect breakfast," he said, tapping his cigarette into an ash tray. "They're complementary drugs.
Peeved about puffing
Allegheny County Council voted July 12 to send an anti-smoking ordinance to its Health and Human Services Committee. Council President Rich Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, proposed the ordinance after a similar bill failed to clear committee in the state Legislature. A majority of the county council's 15 members co-sponsored the bill.
Last month, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report detailing the dangers of secondhand smoke, stating there is no safe level of exposure. Patronizing smoke-free restaurants was recommended.
Council will be on summer break for several weeks, and the earliest they could vote on the issue would be Aug. 22. If passed, the ordinance would outlaw smoking in workplaces and outdoors within 15 feet of any entrance and fine restaurants $25 for violations.
WILL IT PASS?
Challenges for the passage of the bill include the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, which some have interpreted as saying a smoking ban only can be made at the state level. Even if the bill is passed, the county would have a new challenge of making sure the ban was enforced, Fitzgerald said.
WHO'S DOING IT?
Fifteen states have banned smoking, but the degree varies, and 40 states have at least one county or city that has banned or limited smoking.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Authorities identify 2 men killed in fiery crash in Pittsburgh
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- NFL notebook: Giants GM speaks with injured pass-rusher Pierre-Paul
- Spirit ending nonstop flights from Arnold Palmer Regional to Chicago, Las Vegas
- Pirates notebook: Trade movement confidence booster for Morse
- Pirates pitcher Burnett could return in 4 weeks
- Pennsylvania’s Class AAAA Basketball Player of the Year commits to Penn State
- Storms knock out power to more than 10,000 customerse_SClB
- Man interviewed about deaths in East Hills back in Allegheny County Jail
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries