In late October 1993, the managers of Conejo Bowl in Thousand Oaks were faced with a difficult decision when the city enacted an ordinance banning smoking in public places, including bowling alleys. Bowling has been a beloved pastime since the days of The Flintstones, and on Sunday, bowlers in California will no longer be able to light up while playing due to a new state law prohibiting smoking in virtually all indoor workplaces. While non-smokers are delighted, many smokers and owners of the state's more than 300 bowling alleys fear the consequences. So far, only a few of the 7000 bowling centers in California and the rest of the country have implemented smoke-free policies.
Many bowlers who smoke have tried to be respectful of non-smokers, but in some bowling alleys a fine mist spreads all over the building. In Orange County, Sequoia Lanes, located in Buena Park, is the only one of 20 bowling centers that is smoke-free, and it is situated in the same non-smoking building that houses the Sequoia Health Club. Despite worries, some bowling industry executives believe that the anti-smoking law will eventually be beneficial for bowling as it will help the game shed its dirty, blue-collar image and attract a new generation of families to bowling centers. Most California bowling centers are smoke-free on Saturday mornings when young people usually play bowling.
However, when the summer league began, the Rabbit Bowl lost 250 bowlers who fled to nearby towns with bowling alleys where smoking was allowed. Sandy Tilman has been banned from lighting a cigarette at work, in movie theaters and in some of his favorite restaurants. He has long enjoyed smoking on Friday nights at Regal Lanes, where he can enjoy the company of his friends and smoke without feeling ostracized. The Florence Bowling Center features classic and arcade games and hosts bowling leagues, tournaments, and outdoor bowling.
The center has competitive and recreational leagues and tournaments for mixed teams, men, women, youth and older adults. Unfortunately, some businesses have not been able to recover from the ban on smoking in public places such as Grantline Bowl in Tracy, Central Valley. The owner sold the business earlier this month after suffering a devastating loss last year. So do all bowling alleys in Los Angeles County have non-smoking areas available? The answer is yes! Most California bowling centers are smoke-free on Saturday mornings when young people usually play bowling. In Orange County, Sequoia Lanes is the only one of 20 bowling centers that is smoke-free.
Additionally, many other bowling alleys have implemented smoke-free policies to accommodate both smokers and non-smokers alike.