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The Impact of Smoking Bans on Young Adults

Jim Farrell of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association said that Gabby’s Nightclub in northeast Minneapolis lost many of its customers to Anoka County, where there is not a smoking ban. According to Farrell, the patchwork of the smoking ban across the Twin Cities has had a major impact on the younger crowd, but he is not sure if the smoking ban has caused the loss of Gabby's customers because he thinks young adults may go out anyway regardless of if they can smoke or not. Therefore, has the smoking ban actually caused young adults to leave Gabby’s in favor of nightclubs that permit smoking, have all nightclubs with smoking bans lost young customers, and have other night clubs that do not have bans gained more young customers since the ban was adopted in other nearby areas?

1. Jim Farrell, executive director, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, (651) 772-0910

2. Jeff Ormond, manager, Gabby’s Night Club, (612) 788-8239

3. Leslie Bellamy, manager, BE-BOP Night Club in Blaine, Minn., (763) 754-2424
(I would talk to someone from a night club in Anoka County, which does not have a smoking ban, to find out if there has been an increase in young customers like Farrell said.)


In the end this becomes a solid story idea, and I have credited it. It probably would be a stronger pitch if you rewrote it: It reads initially as if it is going to be a focus on this one nightclub, Gabby's, which probably by itself is too local to be of interest to readers elsewhere in the Twin Cities.

At the end you mention that you would look at other nightclubs -- that makes it a solid story. The news coverage of smoking bans has focused heavily on restaurants and bars. I have not seen a focus on nightclubs in particular. Since it's under-covered, there's probably interesting material as yet undiscovered, and there's probably unsatisfied reader curiosity.

If you were really pitching this to an editor, you probably would rewrite it to make it clear that the angle is all Twin Cities-area nightclubs, and that Gabby's will just be a representative example (perhaps one that you lead with in the intro of your eventual story, unless you find a better example during your reporting.)