Ok, it's true.
Bars that serve very little food (less than 10% of their total revenue), can be exempt from the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, and so they are generally heavily laden with smoke. Their clients are nearly exclusively heavy smokers that contribute to the pungency. Their establishments wreak of smoke, and therefore, most non-smokers totally avoid them. This includes fraternal organisations such as VFW, American Legion, AmVets, Moose, Eagles, NCOA, Marines, etc. Elks lodges are the notable exception, as they elected to be smoke free nationally.
For some reason, proprietors believe that only smokers can provide enough revenue to keep them in business. They ignore the non-smokers entirely, believing that only smokers drink alcohol. Well, I believe that they are totally ignorant of the facts. What might work in the big cities, doesn't necessarily work here.
Pasco county's population is primarily over 45 years old, as this has always been and continues to be, a retirement community. That means the majority of the populace is retired, typically with a pension and/or social security benefit. Income is low, and shoppers look for value at every turn. But, they still like to socialize, and still like to drink, and have nothing but time on their hands.
Most over 45 are strongly encouraged to stop smoking, and eventually do (either they get smart in their old age, or get a terrifying announcement from their doctor).
Personally, I first smoked when I was 6 years old, and it got very heavy after I was 17. I usually burned 4 packs a day, and often had more than one lit. I was sick quit often, and was miserable because I was addicted, and "couldn't quit". I was the poster child for Mark Twain who said "quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I've done it hundreds of times". I finally quit smoking after 35 years and 4 packs a day, doing it cold turkey. I never looked back.
So here I sit with my wife, both of us non-smokers looking for a place to go with friends, where we can listen to music, dance, socialize, and have fun. But, there's just no place to go. Unless, of course, we subject ourselves to heavy smoke, and over saturated sports on multiple blaring TV's, competing with loud rap music with filthy lyrics, and high prices. Is there no common sense in Pacso? Not everyone is into sports, or rap, or smoke, or pool, or hooking up.
Now, I'm not suggesting that all, or even most, bars outlaw smoking. On the contrary, as a reformed smoker, I understand smokers need to smoke. But, I don't believe that all bars must allow smoking EVERY day of the week, and I don't believe that smokers should have more rights than non-smokers. I think that bars should accommodate non-smokers, just as they accommodate smokers. By that I mean, that where both are accommodated, there should be separation. A smoking area, and a non-smoking area - separated with either glass or a curtain.
The American Legion in Bradenton has exactly that. A bar with a separator (patio doors) where smokers and non-smokers can enjoy a bar equally. The American Legion in Venice has the best arrangement. They have a circular bar with a glass separator running right down the middle. One can see and talk with everyone regardless of their smoking preference.
So, what I'm suggesting, is that a few bars try something new.
Pick your worst business day, where it's usually a loss (most bars have them). And, specify that that day will be smokeless. Run your exhaust fans in the morning and early afternoon, to remove the latent smoke and smell - but just on that day. Engage a cheap karaoke jock to provide oldies music, and then advertise happy hour in a smoke free environment - for just that day of the week. You can use the NewPortRichey.patch.com site for free advertising. It'll take a few weeks for word to get around, but I believe that the old farts will start checking it out pretty quickly. If it's your worst day (biggest loss), what have you got to lose?