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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bar smokers banned as act takes effect

    Wayne Johnson steps out of Gentle Bens yesterday to have a smoke. Johnson said he believes the smoking ban, which went into effect yesterday, is a pain in the ass.
    Wayne Johnson steps out of Gentle Ben’s yesterday to have a smoke. Johnson said he believes the smoking ban, which went into effect yesterday, is ‘a pain in the ass.’

    Despite a few grumbles, the Smoke-Free Arizona Act went into effect at midnight yesterday in an effort to clear Arizona air.

    “”As of midnight last night, I told people even though it’s still smoky in here you can’t smoke,”” said Diana Meske, a bartender who was working at the Bay Horse Tavern, 2802 E. Grant Road.

    The ban prohibits smoking in enclosed public places and places of employment and within 20 feet of the entrance to public places. Smoking is still allowed on patios.

    “”The owner redid the patio real nice to prepare,”” Meske said. “”It just sucks cause it’s just another one of our rights that they took away for no reason.””

    The Smoke-Free Arizona Act (Title 20) states that about 3,000 lung cancer deaths and more than 35,000 coronary heart disease deaths occur annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

    “”Just because someone wants to kill themselves doesn’t mean we all want to be killed,”” said Bertha Ramirez, a nonsmoker and a nursing junior at Pima Community College.

    Places of business, including clubs and bars, are also required to put up nonsmoking signs.

    Dirtbag’s Bar, 1800 E. Speedway Blvd., went a step farther by painting a yellow line around the front door, to mark the 20 feet of nonsmoking area.

    The Bay Horse Tavern installed signs around the bar prior to May 1 and kept them covered. Meske unveiled them during her opening duties yesterday. The stack of ashtrays usually adorning the bar was left behind it, unused.

    Some, like Meske, believe the smoking ban will hurt business, while others disagree.

    “”I don’t think it will affect business much,”” said Brad Plough, a nonsmoker and a manager of Dirtbag’s Bar. “”People are still going to go out to the bars.””

    Plough said time will tell how the ban effects business, since students are used to smoking at Dirtbag’s Bar.

    Meske said about 95 percent of her customers smoke cigarettes while drinking, even some who don’t smoke normally.

    “”I think it will (hurt business) big time for the first couple of months,”” Meske said. “”The daytime crowd will be slower.””

    She also said it is bad to implement a ban this time of year because business slows at the beginning of summer.

    But Ramirez said she is excited to go out now that the ban is in effect.

    “”I hate being around people that smoke,”” Ramirez said. “”I hate the smell of it.””

    She said she used to leave places when someone lit up or would avoid the bars that allowed smoking inside.

    “”I think it’s going to be a pain in the butt, but at least I won’t go home smelling like an ashtray every day,”” Plough said.

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