Five Years After Smoking Ban, Many Happy With Change
Posted at: 10/01/2012 5:51 PM
| Updated at: 10/01/2012 10:50 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
It's been five years since Minnesota banned smoking in bars and restaurants, and it seems many people are happy with the change.
The American Lung Association, and other area advocates, celebrated the ban's birthday October 1 at the Zeitgeist Atrium in Duluth. Pat McKone, Director of Tobacco and Lung policies for the American Lung Association, said there have been less heart attacks in Minnesota since the ban, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.
While the health benefits seem clear now, back in 2007, bar and restaurant owners were worried about its affect on business. The Lumberjack Lounge owner in Cloquet, Adam Bailey, said his business has been steady since the ban, but he's still not a huge supporter.
"I'll be honest," Bailey said. "I'm not a big fan of government coming in and telling you what you can and can't do. I've been fortunate enough, in my business, to have thrived through all five years of the smoking ban."
While Bailey understands it's been an inconvenient change for smokers, he does like some of the repercussions.
"When I go home now, my wife doesn't complain of the smell of smoke on my clothes," Bailey said.
Also in Cloquet, at the River Inn Bar and Grill, Owner Randy Stolan said the ban has saved him money.
"The bar is much cleaner," Stolan said. "All your TVs, stereo systems, all your beer coolers are much cleaner. I haven't replaced a beer cooler since it happened."
After five years, it seems most of the opposition to the ban has gone away. While it may still be a hassle for smokers, it seems many are just learning to deal with it.
“Everyone has accepted it by now,” Stolan said. “I receive no complaints.”