5 LGBT things you need to know today, July 11

1. Smoking has reportedly overtaken HIV as the biggest health risk to the LGBT community. 2. “You are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. There is a clear line betwe...
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Snuffing it out: Gay bars lead the way in banning lighting up

Smoking in Atlanta's bars

UPDATED April 26: Atlanta Eagle goes smoke-free indoors beginning Monday, April 29. Burkharts is holding a one-week trial run of smoke-free indoors also beginning on April 29.

Jeff Powell, wearing his baseball cap flipped backwards, lights up a Marlboro Light in the upstairs bar of Blake’s on the Park. It’s early on a Saturday night, so the Midtown bar is not jam-packed with people. He and his friends are tossing back beers and cocktails as drag star Charlie Brown sashays past.

“I’m a very conscious smoker,” Powell said. “I’m aware of my surroundings. I want to be conscious of nonsmokers and don’t want to offend anyone.”

Blake’s allows smoking throughout the two-story bar, but in the past few months, several other gay bars have announced they are prohibiting smoking or only allowing smoking in a designated area. Powell said he has no problem with that.