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.
After more than four decades where Rev. Paul Turner’s hand was never far from a cigarette, he finally got mad enough to quit for good.
New Year’s Eve marked nine weeks since his last cigarette.
“I quit something that I should have never have started,” Turner said.
His last cigarette came from a pack he bought in late October, and it followed an almost spontaneous decision to lay down the cancer sticks.