This study is designed to gain a qualitative understanding of how and why urban stand-alone bars serving patrons from different ethnic groups in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties either comply or fail to comply with California Assembly Bill 13 (AB13), a workplace smoking ban that in 1998 was applied to bars statewide. This study is a logical extension of previously-funded TRDRP research which found in a random sample of 121 San Francisco bars that in contrast with most other kinds of stand-alone bars, nearly all bars serving primarily Irish or Asian clienteles were not complying with AB13, while those serving Latinos were highly compliant.
Using semi-structured interviews as well as both highly structured and qualitative observations, this three-year ethnographic study has the following specific aims:
1. To establish distinguishing characteristics of noncompliant vs. compliant bars, and compare these for bars serving Latino, Irish and Asian patrons in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
2. To explicate the rationales for either compliance with or defiance of the ban on smoking in bars by interviewing 90 people in key roles including managers, bartenders, and patrons from Latino, Asian and Irish bars.
3. To explore differences with respect to culture and ethnicity in enforcement and responses to enforcement in the study cities and populations. This study will address cultural competency as a key aspect of policy enforcement, and language and/or culture as a barrier to policy apprehension and acceptance.
A successful kickoff meeting at the outset of the study brought together public health officials from both San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, representatives of the American Lung Association's BREATH group, researchers and our TRDRP project officer, during which our research strategy was presented and refined for the following three years. In the first year of the study, our study team has hired pairs of observers who are members of the respective ethnic groups and completed scouting the San Francisco locations for a complete census of each category of bar. They either have completed or will have completed by August, 2004 the three waves of rigorously recorded observational data collection. Both highly structured quantitative data and semi-structured narrative data from the bar observations will permit comparisons both to the previous data from sample bars in San Francisco and between Latino, Asian and Irish bars in general along a number of dimensions, such as environment, location, size and the character of interactions between staff and patrons. To prepare for the observational waves in Los Angeles, we have conducted preliminary scouting runs throughout the large county and collected data on bars from California Alcohol Beverage Control records, Internet bar guides, free weekly publications, and guidebooks to Los Angeles nightlife. We have also hired a local site coordinator based at UCLA who is an experienced observer from our previous TRDRP-funded study of smoking in bars. In San Francisco, once the three waves of observations are complete, we are preparing to conduct face-to-face semi-structured interviews with people in key roles and with detailed knowledge about the bars which should yield insights into the variety of rationales and systems supporting either compliance with the law or continued smoking in some bars.
This study can identify specific ways to motivate active support of the policy and its enforcement, particularly in underserved ethnic minority communities, by explicitly addressing the rationales identified in this research. For example, rationales for complying with the law in some bars serving Latino patrons may provide useful mechanisms for leveraging compliance in bars serving Irish or Asian patrons. |