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PQQLK9
02-26-2005, 10:12 AM
Smoking ban starts; businesses take deep breath
By Bridget Botelho, Staff Writer


The Boston Billiard Club in Warwick is throwing a huge “Smoking Ban Party” today, Feb. 28, for smokers to take their last drags before the state ban on smoking in public places kicks in at midnight.

The Rhode Island Workers’ Safety Act requires all public places and nearly all places of employment to be smoke-free.

Unlike the Boston Billiard Club, which advertised its smoking party on radio stations, many businesses will make the change quietly by placing the mandatory ‘No Smoking’ sign at every entrance before opening their doors Tuesday. Some establishments went smoke-free before the deadline.

Gianfranco Marrocco enforced the smoking ban at his Federal Hill restaurants Mediterraneo Caffé, Caffé Dolce Vita and Gepetto’s Pizzeria on Feb. 1. The only people who have complained so far are the staff.

“None of the customers seem to mind since nine out of 10 people who eat at my restaurants don’t smoke. It’s the staff that is complaining, which is funny since this whole thing is meant to protect the workers from secondhand smoke,” Marrocco said.

Some business owners are finding ways to let smokers light up at their establishments.

Richard Sardella, owner of Sardella’s restaurant in Newport, is making the front patio of his restaurant into a smokers’ haven starting March 1.

“A number of my customers smoke and they’ve been asking me what I’ll do for them. I want to make them comfortable if they want to have a cigarette,” Sardella said.

Sardella will enclose the restaurant patio with drop panels and put a few space heaters out there during the winter to keep his smoking patrons happy.

The law allows smoking outside as long as the area is separated from the establishment.

The Public Places and Workplace Safety Law, signed into law by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri in June 2004, covers most public places and workplaces, but Class C (bars that don’t serve food) and Class D liquor licenses for private clubs have until Oct. 1, 2006, to go smoke-free. Lincoln Park and Newport Grand are exempt – a clause some business owners are angry about.

Rhode Island is the seventh state to adopt this type of law. The other smoke-free states include California, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Massachusetts.

In January, more than 40,000 business owners received free ‘No Smoking’ signs, a fact sheet about the law and an order form for additional materials to help them implement the law. Business owners who do not display the signs can be fined up to $1,000.



Published 02/26/2005 web page (http://www.pbn.com/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/113050)

jjinfla
02-26-2005, 01:02 PM
I sure do feel sorry for all those drug addicts.

Jake

yegon
02-27-2005, 01:07 AM
I can't wait for something like this to happen in Slovakia. I am sick of having to wash all my clothes after each poolhall visit to get rid of the stench. And it does not make me healthier to breath all that waste the smokers pollute the poolhalls with.

No wander pool is so small here, you would never let a child practice in such environment.

Cueless Joey
02-27-2005, 01:37 AM
A friend of ours found out he has lung cancer last month.
He is 57 years old. He has two children with his present wife. One is 5 years old and the other is barely 1 year old.
He's been a chain smoker for at least 20 years.
His cancer has spread all over his body now. The doctor said it's only a matter of time. His wife is surrendered to the fact her younger son won't even have any memory of his father. She is devastated.
last year, my aunt died of lung cancer. She was a smoker for 30 plus years and quit about 10 years ago. She died a year after she learned she had lung cancer.
At work, our retired receptionist died last year. It was her second year in her retirement. She was a chain smoker. We used to relieve her so she could go outside and smoke. She always coughed. She said she had a cold about a million times.
My mother is a chain smoker and cannot quit. Our secretary is a chain smoker and cannot quit. She quit last year but went back to it due to stress. She's coughing really badly now. We think she has early stages of emphysema.

jjinfla
02-27-2005, 05:11 AM
And I will venture to bet that they all were fond of saying "you have to die of somehting".

I can easily name a half dozen friends who died of lung cancer. But then I can also name several who died in motorcycle wrecks. And then there are those who died suddenly - shot dead, either accidently, intentionally or self-inflicted.

But that is one of the rewards of getting old - you get to watch all your friends die. Well, at least I can hope that they are all in a better place now. Perhaps they are better off than I am.

Jake

mksmith713
02-27-2005, 06:21 AM
While I'm sorry to admit, I am a smoker, I do have an opinion that has nothing to do with my personal feelings in regards to my vice.

If you busted you butt getting the capital together to finally realize a dream of owning your own business, would you want lawmakers to come in and tell you what you can and can't do with your business?
Here,in Maryland,non smoking policy is set at the county level and there are several counties that don't allow smoking in businesses that are open to public use, i.e., restaurants, pool rooms, stores, etc.
The sad thing about that is, for the pool room owner that I'm well acquainted with in a non smoking county, his business is down so much that he may be forced to close his doors.
80% of his business was smokers who now go elsewhere because they like to have a smoke while they play.
I chatted with him and the topic came up and he's upset about the whole affair.
His philosophy is that the gov't is going to cause him to lose his business. A business he's worked so hard to build.
He doesn't want a smoking ban in his place of business but he has no choice in the matter.
I'm doing some research for him now, hoping to find a loophole in the law that'll help him out.
Not because I'm a smoker, but because I hate to see him lose everthing he's worked for.
So far I've found that if he makes his place a membership club, he can have smoking.
He can charge annual membership dues, make it a private club and allows smoking.
Even if he only charges $1 a year he can do it.
Just another interesting thought.

I'm not trying to alienate anyone, but if you think about this gentlemans predicament, would you rather have smoke free and 20% of your former business or smoking and 80%?
That's a no brainer......
I think the decision should be left to the business owner.

roscoe
02-27-2005, 07:18 AM
You are correct. It is government controlling customer behavior on private property. Choice should be up to the owner of the business. The public should dictate their desires to the business. Business caters to the public. Many of you do not realize that if you allow government intrusion in business to dictate public behavior you are opening up a can of worms.

Passive Aggressive in Ohio
By Michael Fumento
The American Spectator, February 24, 2005
Copyright 2005 Scripps Howard News Service


Il Duce would be proud of how city councils often hold hearings on smoking bans.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised at my reception last week at a Lakewood, Ohio hearing on banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Such events tend to bring out the penny-ante dictators. After all, when customers can readily find smoke-free facilities and nobody's forced to take a job, such bans are inherently authoritarian. But these people went beyond the standard bullies with a noble-sounding cause, making Mussolini look like freedom's friend.

The nine-member commission appointed to advise the city council on the ban originally arranged to have six witnesses testify. Three for and three against, right? Try six for and zero against. Then they relented and deigned to allow one witness on the other side – until they discovered it was me.

Specifically, those behind the national jihad against so-called "passive smoking" insisted I must not speak. One email labeled me a "shock jock" – an interesting metaphor considering I've never even guest-hosted a radio show. (Note to broadcast producers: Not that I have anything against it. Ahem!)

Hours before my flight I got the word that the panel had, under the threat of civil disobedience from the Small Business Coalition of Cleveland, again relented. This was so long as I went last. By then the media and bored audience members would be gone. My time was also cut by a third at the last minute, but I rather saw that coming.

So did I shock them? I hope so. Somehow the multitude of studies I discussed had been "overlooked" by the throng of witnesses before me.

I informed the panel that the study that began the crusade, published in 1993 by the Environmental Protection Agency, had, despite the Agency's insistence, found no statistically significant link to lung cancer. If the EPA had used the normal standard for "statistical significance," a measure of the probability that the outcome resulted from sheer chance, they would have found nothing. Since the football fell short, they used a laxer standard to move the goal posts back.

Read the full article at: http://www.fumento.com/disease/passive-smoking.html

Rich R.
02-27-2005, 07:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mksmith713:</font><hr> I'm not trying to alienate anyone, but if you think about this gentlemans predicament, would you rather have smoke free and 20% of your former business or smoking and 80%?
That's a no brainer......
I think the decision should be left to the business owner.
<hr /></blockquote>
In this case, the business owner would have been better off, if there had been a statewide smoking ban. Then his customers couldn't just drive up the road, to another establishment, and smoke while they play. With a statewide ban, they would continue to play at the room they liked best and deal with the smoking issue seperately.

Just giving another perspective.

Gayle in MD
02-27-2005, 08:23 AM
I agree with you. It is interesting how the public and the government can be so up in arms about second hand smoke, yet we do so little about fossil fuel, and pollution of the air and waterways in general. Our food is contaminated by insecticides, and antibiotics, our bays and rivers, shellfish and fish in general suffer, but what do we focus on, Second Hand Smoke, which can be handled with a good smoke eating system.

Gayle in Md. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

ChuckR
02-27-2005, 09:15 AM
I was a smoker for 35 years and have paid the price with major lung damage and we all know what a PITA reformed smokers and prostitutes are. Now I can't stand the way my clothes smell when I leave the pool hall. I would bet the if the air quality in any city approached what it is in the hall, they would have a major evacuation. They just declared all restaurants non-smoking where I live and after all of the bitching by the smokers, business has increased dramatically. I for one would love to see pool playing offered in a smoke free environment.

mksmith713
02-27-2005, 09:25 AM
It's a novel idea that there's one pool room where I go now and then.
They have 2 seperate areas where you can play. One is smoking and one is non-smoking.
They have a huge glass wall seperating the areas.
Granted, you have to pass threough the smoking area to get to the non-smoking area, but hey, it's still a nice compromise.
This is in a smoking county, so I think the owner was being awfully considerate to make such concessions.
I know it wasn't cheap putting up that huge glass wall.

I wonder if any non-smokers have complained to get a seperate entrance......LOL
I wouldn't doubt it, considering how non-smokers look down their noses at us smokers.
We smokers are dregs of the Earth vermin afterall.

PQQLK9
02-27-2005, 04:53 PM
The world's first tobacco control treaty will go into effect today, requiring ratified nations to impose a ban on tobacco advertising, to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, to take measures to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke and to increase the cost of tobacco products.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is responsible for about 5 million premature deaths each year. The goal of the new treaty is to bring down that number significantly by imposing worldwide many of the restrictions already in effect in the United States.

"This treaty will save millions of lives," said Kathryn Mulvey, executive director of Corporate Accountability International. "It demonstrates that working together, the nations of the world can protect people from irresponsible and dangerous corporate practices." web page (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56467-2005Feb26.html)

mksmith713
02-27-2005, 05:24 PM
Sounds like a decent form of population control.
5 million less people can't be that bad a thing...
Look at China?

SecaucusFats
02-27-2005, 09:30 PM
I'm a smoker and IMO cigarettes should be banned from the face of the earth. They are more addictive than heroin and they kill people left and right. The tobacco industry should be made to pay the costs of getting people off the habit.

Any jurisdiction which chooses to ban smoking should be commended. The best thing would be a nationwide smoking ban. It may not help people like me, but it would help keep future generations from killing themselves needlessly.

PQQLK9
02-27-2005, 09:35 PM
tap tap tap

Cueless Joey
02-27-2005, 09:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mksmith713:</font><hr> Sounds like a decent form of population control.
5 million less people can't be that bad a thing...
Look at China? <hr /></blockquote>
It might not be but who pays for all the cancer treatment, life-prolonging?

catscradle
02-28-2005, 06:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mksmith713:</font><hr> ...
I wouldn't doubt it, considering how non-smokers look down their noses at us smokers.
... <hr /></blockquote>

That's not true, we don't consider ourselves better than smokers, especially since I'd bet most of us are former smokers. I no more look down on smokers than I do somebody who has intestinal problems and passes gas a lot. I just don't want to be around the latter's passed gas, or the former's smoke.

SpiderMan
02-28-2005, 07:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SecaucusFats:</font><hr> I'm a smoker and IMO cigarettes should be banned from the face of the earth. They are more addictive than heroin and they kill people left and right. The tobacco industry should be made to pay the costs of getting people off the habit.

Any jurisdiction which chooses to ban smoking should be commended. The best thing would be a nationwide smoking ban. It may not help people like me, but it would help keep future generations from killing themselves needlessly.
<hr /></blockquote>

I welcome nonsmoking establishments, but that doesn't mean I think it's right to legislate personal habits and lifestyle choices. If a business wishes to cater to smokers, and I wish to patronize them, it's my choice.

I'm not a smoker, but I don't think you can blame availability and advertising for your addiction. I'm also aware of the arguments that tobacco companies deliberately created blends that were "more addictive", but that's no different than what the candy and fast-food makers do - fill it up with salt, grease, and sugar so that it tastes good, despite the fact that it's unhealthy. It's still our responsibility to not eat it. Should McDonald's and Wendy's pay to make us thin?

SpiderMan

JimS
02-28-2005, 07:39 AM
Great idea Fats!

Prohibition worked great in the past for alcohol and now for pot &amp; other drugs it must be the way to go. (I smoked for 49 years but haven't had one for about 700 days now.)

Tax the hell out of the drug and use the money to provide FREE treatment for those who want to kick.

ragin1
02-28-2005, 07:42 AM
Good job Mksmith! It's the mentality of these smoking nazi's that has ruined a once great nation. With the best of intentions we'll soon have a viewscreen in every corner, and our daily 2 minutes of hate for eurasia. (orwell)

DickLeonard
02-28-2005, 07:47 AM
Gayle I never find fault with your posts but we in NY have for years pushed for air pollution control of Midwest Energy Stacks, almost all of our Adirondack Lakes are without fish due to the pollution. We get laws past and the IDIOT in the WHITE HOUSE just wipes them off the book.

I don't see anything in the Constitution that gives the Idiot the right to rewrite laws. It might be an IPEACHABLE OFFENSE.####

as a side
I lost 2 brothers and 1 sister to smoking, Hey you have to die from something. To this day I have lived a combined 32 years longer than they.

catscradle
02-28-2005, 07:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ragin1:</font><hr> Good job Mksmith! It's the mentality of these smoking nazi's that has ruined a once great nation. With the best of intentions we'll soon have a viewscreen in every corner, and our daily 2 minutes of hate for eurasia. (orwell) <hr /></blockquote>

I happen to agree that smoking or non-smoking should be the choice of the business owner. That said, I think your statement as it stands is meaningless hyperbole and stifles the exchange of meaningful debate.

ragin1
02-28-2005, 07:50 AM
And what new meaningfull debate came from this months smoker bashing?

DickLeonard
02-28-2005, 07:59 AM
Fats after reading your DeOro post to my Diplomat post I said I have to recognized Fats Intelligence, Maybe calling you Triple Smart Fats in honor of Minniesota Fats.

I am going to give you my Chant that cured me of smoking 36 years ago. SMOKE,CHOKE,CROAK, just keep saying it over and over and over and over every free moment you have. It took me maybe 30 days. I went to a Dr. and he told me to stop smoking and I walked out of his office and never had another cig.####

ragin1
02-28-2005, 08:03 AM
Dick, that's excacly how it is done. One smoker at a time. It's a filthy life threatening habit, and the only way to stop it is what you did. There isn't a gov't in this world that can legislate habit.

Gayle in MD
02-28-2005, 08:22 AM
So true Dick, but if we start trying to list all of his impeachable offenses this thread will never end!

Smoking is a nasty dirty habbit, so is cursing, cheating, sandbagging, breaking wind in public, alcoholism, gluttoney, etc., all of which may be easily found in your local bar or poolroom.

We had one guy who was a great wind breaker, if you know what I mean, and he made me ill every week. I actually dropped out of that league because of him! Where's Big Brother when you really need him, LOL.

Gayle in Md. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Popcorn
02-28-2005, 08:46 AM
I deleted this because it doesn't belong on this forum.

ragin1
02-28-2005, 08:56 AM
And I can just hear Bowie singing, "we want you big brother"... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

ragin1
02-28-2005, 09:16 AM
You deleted that because you showed us your true colors.

Popcorn
02-28-2005, 10:32 AM
Take a hike, do you have anything to say about pool? If not post on the other NPR board. I deleted my post because it didn't belong on here, a concept you obviously don't understand

catscradle
02-28-2005, 01:32 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Take a hike, do you have anything to say about pool? If not post on the other NPR board. I deleted my post because it didn't belong on here, a concept you obviously don't understand <hr /></blockquote>

You're probably right, this whole thread should be moved.
Admin?????

mksmith713
02-28-2005, 06:55 PM
The bottom line is this. Government is telling business owners how they MUST operate.
Yes, I smoke.
Yes, I'd like to quit.
BUt let me do it on my own terms.
Don't shove it down my throat.

Voltaire said it best.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Popcorn
02-28-2005, 07:27 PM
Your confusing me with someone who cares.

FastJoey
02-28-2005, 11:55 PM
i agree with you...what is even worse is cleaning a room that a heavy smoker smokes in ..i just cleaned my mom's kitchen..she is 80 years old and has smoked All her life at one time 3 packs a day !!!! now about 1 pack a day..i scubbed the walls 4 times with a cleaner..it looked like a bunch of cowboys had come in and spit tobacco juice all over.the stench in the room was terrible..the filter for the furnace is unbelievable..she has smokers cough now and why she has not died yet from this is a medical marvel...had to put on 3 coats of the Best supposedly one coat paint i could buy...my respect to all that are trying to quit smoking...

bigshooter
03-01-2005, 03:41 PM
I haven't been in a pool hall for over six months because I hate smoking so much , I would never dream of taking my son in there and since we don't have a table at home I've pretty much given up the game altogether its just not worth it.
Actually there is a non smoking law in Tulsa but pool halls pretty much ignore it and seem to get by but then again I know of at least one that is currently under investigation for breaking the law because a concerned citizen contacted the state health agency.
Wonder who that was? /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

PQQLK9
03-04-2005, 07:05 AM
Smoking ban heads to voters
3/3/2005 11:05 PM
By: Crestina Chavez

The Austin City Council didn't hesitate, passing their decision about smoking in public places onto voters in a May election Thursday.

The seven-member board was faced with either passing the petition into law or making it a ballot issue.

"I think that this is such a contentious issue that it should be on the ballot. And, I'm glad that it will be," Austin Mayor Will Wynn said.

The council spent more than an hour tweaking the wording of the ballot issue to make sure voters understand the issue. They tried to make it clear the city already has an existing smoking ban that already bans smoking in places that don't have a permit.

The proposed smoking ordinance would ban smoking is bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and billiard halls.

It would also create penalties for law breakers: $2,000 for violating the smoking ordinance.

"We'd like to give hospitality workers the same protections that we provide office workers," Rodney Ahart, a American Lung Society Government Relations worker, said.

Paul Silvers, who owns several bars downtown, came out to the meeting. He said he's not opposed to the vote. But, to the initiative itself.

"They're taking the concern for physical safety so far that they're willing to compromise quality of life and personal choice," Silvers said.

Silvers has also filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin in federal court, questioning the wording of the measure.

Thursday's council decision showed how divisive the issue when two citizens people spoke their minds.

"Business owners should have a choice and the public should have a choice. Do I wanna smoke? Do I want to go to a place that smokes? It should be our choice as Americans," Wilson Leary said.

But, Gavino Fernandez believes there's another choice.

"We also have a right to vote and give our opinion as to what we'd like to see in our community," Fernandez said.

The issue will be on the May 7 ballot.
web page (http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=132418)

Troy
03-04-2005, 09:03 AM
Regardless how much money is spent, the YES vote will prevail in Austin by about 60%. Simply because there are more non-smokers than smokers, the measure will pass.

It's over most voters heads that business owners should have a choice about whether or not to run a smoking/non-smoking establishment just as it's over most voters heads to decide to frequent a smoking/non-smoking establishment.

Troy
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr> Smoking ban heads to voters
3/3/2005 11:05 PM
By: Crestina Chavez

The Austin City Council didn't hesitate, passing their decision about smoking in public places onto voters in a May election Thursday.

The seven-member board was faced with either passing the petition into law or making it a ballot issue.

"I think that this is such a contentious issue that it should be on the ballot. And, I'm glad that it will be," Austin Mayor Will Wynn said.

The council spent more than an hour tweaking the wording of the ballot issue to make sure voters understand the issue. They tried to make it clear the city already has an existing smoking ban that already bans smoking in places that don't have a permit.

The proposed smoking ordinance would ban smoking is bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and billiard halls.

It would also create penalties for law breakers: $2,000 for violating the smoking ordinance.

"We'd like to give hospitality workers the same protections that we provide office workers," Rodney Ahart, a American Lung Society Government Relations worker, said.

Paul Silvers, who owns several bars downtown, came out to the meeting. He said he's not opposed to the vote. But, to the initiative itself.

"They're taking the concern for physical safety so far that they're willing to compromise quality of life and personal choice," Silvers said.

Silvers has also filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin in federal court, questioning the wording of the measure.

Thursday's council decision showed how divisive the issue when two citizens people spoke their minds.

"Business owners should have a choice and the public should have a choice. Do I wanna smoke? Do I want to go to a place that smokes? It should be our choice as Americans," Wilson Leary said.

But, Gavino Fernandez believes there's another choice.

"We also have a right to vote and give our opinion as to what we'd like to see in our community," Fernandez said.

The issue will be on the May 7 ballot.
web page (http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=132418) <hr /></blockquote>

PQQLK9
03-09-2005, 07:55 AM
City files answer to lawsuit over smoking ban

web page (http://www.caller.com/ccct/local_news/article/0,1641,CCCT_811_3606514,00.html)

Document says smoking is not a vested civil right

By Leanne Libby Caller-Times
March 9, 2005

Senior Assistant City Attorney Carol Estes Bray filed a response this week to litigation seeking to stop the city's ban on smoking, arguing that the ordinance does not harm the plaintiffs, who, Bray contended, were unlikely to succeed in court.

"A city may enact reasonable regulations to promote health, safety and general welfare of its people as a valid exercise of police power," stated Bray's response, which was filed Monday.


Bray took issue with arguments attorney James Skrobarcek presented in his Feb. 17 motion for a preliminary injunction. The motion seeks to prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance while the matter is in litigation.

"Plaintiff has thrown into his pleadings every argument ever claimed in any smoking case despite the fact that such theories have not prevailed," Bray wrote.

Skrobarcek said the city's response was essentially what he expected, although he was surprised the response didn't include more about public health, which he said was the city's reason for supporting the ordinance.

"She didn't say anything about the substance of their argument," Skrobarcek said.

The response questions Skrobarcek's argument that the ordinance is unconstitutional while also arguing it should not be amended, and further doubted the court would address hypothetical actions such as the possibility of the city amending the ordinance to include banning smoking in bars.

In regard to such amendments interfering with the petition circulated to put the issue to a vote, Bray noted none of the plaintiffs initiated the petition process. The petition, which was submitted to the city Feb. 28, is currently being examined by the city secretary's office. City Secretary Armando Chapa said Tuesday the validation process likely would take until March 21, the city's deadline for examining the signatures. If the petition is validated by March 21, the ban could not be enforced and the issue would go before voters Sept. 10.

Opponents of the ban have argued smoking in restaurants is a property rights issue, not a health issue.

"Civilly, the right to smoke is not a vested property right," Bray's response stated, noting that property held by the owner is subject to police power.

Citing case law, Bray also argued that allowing smoking in places such as bars and bowling alleys does not create an equal protection dispute.

"Eating is an activity enjoyed by a greater percentage of the population," Bray wrote. "Restaurants routinely entertain children and elderly. Persons who cannot travel or cannot cook may be forced to go to a restaurant. Bars, taverns and billiard halls are more of a recreational, discretionary activity."

Skrobarcek countered that such statements were pure opinion and questioned Bray's experience in the restaurant industry.

Bray also attacked the plaintiff's affidavits, taking issue, for example, with Katz 21 Steak &amp; Spirit's co-owner David Kesler's assertions that the ban harmed his business.

"Mr. Kessler (sic) does not allow for seasonal fluctuations, and he does not compare by years, but only by a few weeks," Bray wrote. "He does not calculate in a post Christmas and pre-Valentine slump."

Kesler said the ban has had a negative impact in the bar area of his restaurant, and he called the ordinance cumbersome, saying by the time an employee goes across a crowded room to ask a smoker to comply, the customer has finished the cigarette.

The fight for a smoking ban began late last year, when a group called Smoke Free Rights Now urged the city to ban smoking in area restaurants and bars. The group said secondhand smoke posed a pressing public health issue.

Opponents, including the group Citizens for Choice and Common Sense and some restaurant owners, fought back, saying restaurant owners have a right to run their businesses as they see fit.

City Council members passed the ban with a 9-0 vote on Jan. 11. The issue went into litigation Jan. 31, shortly before the city began enforcing the ban Feb. 7.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has set a pretrial hearing for March 23.

Contact Leanne Libby at 886-3618 _or libbyl@caller.com