Firing Up About Proposed Smoking Ban
Dushoff added, "We're very happy about the ability to allow smoking at a certain point and decide when and where we're going to do that."
Health officials said going smoke-free isn't about choices, it's about protecting workers.
"We have so much supporting evidence that indicates second-hand smoke is such a damaging thing," said David Sohl of the health board. "The Surgeon General report that just came out talks about how you have a 20%-30% chance of developing coronary heart disease, lung disease, if you live or work with smokers."
The owner of Otto's Corner said some places shouldn't be regulated.
"This isn't a hospital, this is a place of entertainment. It's a bar and grill," argued Joel Thiel. "People go out to entertain themselves, eat, drink and smoke a cigarette."
Otto's isn't the only bar against the proposed ban.
"We've visited almost every bar within the last week and, without exception, almost every bar is opposed," said Glenn Nielsen of the Boone Liberty Coalition.
The group said Columbia doesn't need a smoking ban because smoke-free restaurants have increased 11% in the past 3 years, and the coalition expects 80% of bars to be smoke-free in the next 5 years.
However, a University Missouri survey showed the ban won't keep people out of bars and restaurants.
Reserchers surveyed 700 people, with 93% saying they will go to restaurants as much or more if the ban passes, and 85% said they will still go to bars.
"If the law holds for everybody, what does it really matter? asked Dushoff. "It's not going to affect my business more than anybody else's."
Supporters and critics agree on one point: be there early to speak up at next Monday night's Columbia City Council hearing, even if the council decides not vote then on the proposed smoking ban.
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