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Smokers? 9021-oh-oh

October 4, 2007 | 11:35 pm

Frankly, Beverly Hills, I'm disappointed in you. I thought you had more self-confidence than that.

BH has joined the smoke-out ranks, banning the devil weed in outdoor public places as well as indoor ones. It's getting clean lungs -- but is it getting cold feet too?

There's no restaurant in California where you can smoke inside, but some very chic cities, like Santa Monica, and Calabasas, and … Burbank have banned smoking in outdoor places like restaurant patios and terraces as well.

Beverly Hills just made it official too. But because hotels and restaurants were wailing that this will cost them Euro-tourism, BH agreed to exempt a quarter of hotel patio space for the fumeurs ... like some space around the swimming pool, where the scent of tobacco smoke can still commingle with the aromas of chlorine and sunscreen.

If this was done to keep smoking tourists from straying into other ZIP codes, BH probably didn't really need to bother. Does Bev Hills really, seriously think its smoking ban will drive visitors elsewhere? Like where? Bell Gardens? No offense to BG, but it isn't BH, and BH should have some confidence in its singular self. Again no offense, but the smoker who huffed to The Times that she was "going to be moving out of Beverly Hills for my entertainment" as she sat eating outdoors at the Koo Koo Roo on Beverly Drive may not exactly be a cog in the lavish, high-end economic engine that drives BH.

You have to wonder whether BH has been keeping up with the news from Abroad. France has just this year joined Italy, Britain, Spain, Belgium and Ireland on the list of distinguished places that extinguish cigarettes. And if smoking in la belle France is passing from comme il faut to faux pas, surely Beverly Hills will have the -- oh what's the word in French -- the chutzpah to tell its nicotinous visitors, "It's my way or the highway -- to Bell Gardens."

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