(Full disclosure: Tuttle smokes. Not during the ordinary course of a day, really. But certainly two with my Diet Coke, er Coke Light, first thing in the morning, maybe three. And if I'm drinking of an evening, all bets are off. If I'm not having alcohol, however, I'm unlikely to light up.) (Oh, except if I'm having a Caramel Frappucino at Caffe Bene: I smoke then, too.) (Or if I'm driving a car. Which isn't an issue in Seoul, but it was when I was visiting the States in August, and had a rental with a circle-and-a-slash symbol on the ashtray.) (Fine. I hung one out the window a few times. I was careful though. Whatever.)
When I say a smoking ban was enacted on December 8th, I really mean: not so much. For example, the recently-opened Beerking hof across the street from my officetel still had ashtrays on the tables when I dropped in two days later. On the other hand, that place has eleven tables, and may fit one of the exceptions to the new law, of being under 100 sq. m. of serving area.
However, when I met up with my weeknight dinner regulars at a well-known izakaya in Gang-seo-gu-cheong earlier this week, I was disappointed to see a photocopied circle-and-a-slash cellotaped to the front door. I complained to the sajangnim that this new law is kind of silly and they should at least have a smoking section--it is after all, an extensive establishment well-over the 150-m
As we left
Our dinner round that night was at a similarly-sized place where we enjoyed gabeurisal cooked on a grill at our table, with carcinogen-laden charcoal smoke leaching into the atmosphere despite the fume hoods that are so ubiquitous in Korean barbeque. That being so, they didn't have the gumption to tell anyone smoking is not allowed. Even though it isn't.