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Economy is impacting smoking ban

By Chris Davies

The Daily Vidette

The implementation of new smoking bans nationwide has slowed as the worldwide economy mires in recession.

Twenty-four states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have instituted indoor smoking bans, but since 2009, very few bans have been enacted.

Co-owner of Pub II in Normal, Illinois, Terry Stralow, explained that he has not seen a significant drop in patronage because of the smoking ban that went in to effect Jan. 1, 2007.

“Because we went to all non-smoking a year earlier than most people, were forced to get used to it and I don’t think it has affected us,” he said.

ub II installed a beer garden outside for those who still wish to have a cigarette while they drink, which Tralow believes helps their business.

“A lot of people use our beer garden to smoke, even in the winter when it’s not as pleasant,” he said. “I still see people outside other places standing outside the buildings and smoking, so I don’t think that the ban has really affected Normal businesses.”

Other areas of the country have not been as lucky as Normal, however. Five of 11 casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., informed the state that they would be forced to close should the state pass a smoking ban, forcing the state to postpone a smoking ban for the city.

In Colorado, lawmakers are reconsidering some of the restrictions they placed upon bars, restaurants and casinos to help troubled businesses. Colorado’s gambling industry saw a drop of about $100 million, or 12 percent, after they enacted a smoking ban.

The ban for the state of Illinois went into effect the same day as Colorado. Since that time gambling revenue has dropped by $415 million, or 21 percent, according to an Associated Press article.

Virginia is the only state to have passed a ban this year on Feb. 6, however their new ban has provisions to allow smoking in certain areas. Private clubs are exempt and restaurants that provide a separate room for smokers are as well.

Other states that are considering bans have looked into including similar allowances for businesses. Indiana, Missouri and Kansas legislatures are all currently considering bans on smoking inside public buildings.

Though some businesses claim that the smoking ban would be crippling, a state health report in Kansas estimates that the state could save $20 million in the first year of a smoking ban. Likewise, freshman information systems technology major Mike King does not see the ban as a bad thing.

“The only thing that’s changed [since the ban] is that I don’t go to some restaurants anymore,” he said. “I went there for the convenience of being able to smoke, but the food wasn’t that good so I don’t go anymore.”

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