Howard County officials have restarted discussions of a comprehensive countywide smoking ban. Such a move would remove exemptions from the ban currently enjoyed by bars and taverns.
Currently, Howard County follows the state’s smoking ban – one even its authors fretted was too riddled with exemptions when it passed last year.
Although no decision has been made to make Howard County’s law more restrictive than the state’s, County Commissioner Paul Wyman says a level playing field is his main concern.
“So, that’s what we are trying to figure out now is can we come up with something that everyone can work with and feel good about and then get that implemented in our county and kind of take a leadership role in it,” Wyman says.
Desaree White manages Mulligan’s Sports Pub in Kokomo and says if the ban expanded to include her bar, business would suffer.
“It’s going to affect us pretty bad because most of our customers, even the non-smokers tend to smoke whenever they are drinking,” White says. “So, if we can’t have smoking after that then we’re probably going to lose some business.”
Numerous studies have shown smoking bans do not decrease business for the establishments affected by them, and may even increase revenue in some cases.
Wyman says there’s no timetable for a vote on any new smoking restrictions.