The state legislature is considering a statewide smoking ban that would exempt certain bars and clubs that cater specifically to smokers. Some restaurant owners in cities where partial smoking bans are already in effect say the exemption could hurt their business worse than the ban itself.
Joann Jeffries owns the Cozy Lounge in Columbus where customers can eat meal and smoke. Jeffries says if the ban is passed, many of her customers would leave her lounge for other businesses that are exempt.
“If they make it a blanket non smoking, where everything in Columbus is non-smoking, it would be fine, but if they exclude the clubs, it’s gonna hurt us people will just go out and join the clubs,” she says.
Tom Rohrer is the Manager of Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub, the only non-smoking 21 and older bar in Kokomo. He says he thinks the state ban would actually help businesses.
“A lot of the reason people come in here because they don’t like to go to places because not even if anybody’s smoking in there but just because of the smell of the smoke,” he says.
The bill is in the Senate but is not scheduled for a vote. If it passes, Indiana would join 29 other states with comprehensive smoking bans.