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Some business owners say limited smoking ban is unfair

Posted April 3, 2009

— Restaurant and bar owners whose businesses don't qualify for an exemption in a proposed smoking ban said Friday that they will fight the measure, up to filing a lawsuit in federal courts.

"The bill in its current form is a very bad bill and very unfair," said Richard Gussler, owner of The Players' Retreat in Raleigh.

Business owners vow to fight 'unfair' smoking ban Business owners vow to fight 'unfair' smoking ban Business owners vow to fight 'unfair' smoking ban Business owners vow to fight 'unfair' smoking ban

The state House of Representatives on Thursday passed an amended H.B. 2, which would ban smoking in all workplaces where children are permitted. Businesses that admit only adults could allow smoking if they post signs advertising that.

Gussler said that the ban would create unfair competition against his tavern, which has served parents and their children and hosted kids' birthday parties since the 1950s. He said he's installed devices to filter out secondhand smoke.

"This has always been a family place, but if I chose to keep it a family place (with) no smoking, I don't think I can survive being in business," he said.

Gussler said that he and other restaurant owners have thought about pursuing a federal lawsuit against the bill if it passes, but all means of fighting it are still on the table.

Cigar-bar owner Brian Amra said that a blanket smoking ban would have forced him to close Amra's Stogies & Spirits, but he called the amended bill simply the lesser of two evils.

"How can they regulate free will?" Amra asked. "I'm not arrogant enough to think I can tell people where they can smoke and where they can't."

An adults-only venue such as Ess Lounge and Nightclub could benefit from the reduced competition, but owner Marlane Kintworth said she still has reservations about the smoking ban and its exemption.

"I don't know that it would be fair for all the bars that would be affected," Kintworth said.

The bill has moved to the state Senate.


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  • jdixon2 Apr 6, 2009

    OK, we'll ban smoking in all the restaurants and public places. Now, what are we going to do with the alcohol? We have MADD but, we don't see a MAS (Mother's Against Smoking). While we take big tobacco to court, do we do the same thing with the alcohol producers? No. I wonder why? Keep me safe on the highways and outlaw alcohol consumption in public places. Doubt the politicians would go for that one. Many of them love to go out and have a drink or two with dinner, but, don't want to smell the cigarette smoke while they are doing it. Let them have their pleasures but not others.

    Wasn't I taught somewhere about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? Where is the liberty in saying someone can't smoke? If it makes them happy to smoke, aren't we denying them that pleasure?

  • NC is my home Apr 6, 2009


    Drinking stinks too: the smell alcohol on people's breathe, the loud & uncontroled behavior, and yes, the smell of the funeral home when you visit their victims. Give me cigarette smoke over drunks in the restaurants anyday!

  • Red Apr 6, 2009

    xchief661 - "Do you drink? That is something you cannot see but it is extremely well known that people who drink and drive kill more children and people than second hand smoke." --- Wrong. http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35422
    Secondhand smoke causes almost 50,000 deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, including approximately 3,400 from lung cancer and 22,700-69,600 from heart disease.5 -And- http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html - In 2006, there were 13,470 fatalities in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver (BAC of .08 or higher) – 32 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year. ---- Yet another instance of sensational news reporting skewing the perceptions of reality. It's like saying more little leagers die from baseballs to the face than from pneumonia. (I haven't fact checked that BTW.) The news doesn't report when people die of 'natural causes'. It's just not news worthy.

  • CozyCake Apr 3, 2009

    One factor for those who do not smoke and have no one close to them who smoke- it stinks. Due to the fact that I am not around the fumes, I notice them and they interfere with my breathing and definately take away the desire to be in an area where smoking is occurring. Fortunately now I have an opportunity to go to more restaurants because I will know the air won't be tainted.

  • See Chart Apr 3, 2009

    Anyone knowing what we know about the genetic destruction
    of Human cells by cigarettes and STILL smokes is really
    sick,There is just no excuse for it and all those that
    drink and smoke are pushing up the cost of all we non
    smokers health insurance.
    It is possible to quit but as in AA you have to be convinced
    that another drink or another cig will kill you sooner or later and way before your time is due.

  • propizza Apr 3, 2009

    If smoking is allowed in your establishment, you won't get a dime from me

  • 1carpe Apr 3, 2009

    I quit six months ago. I am still around people that smoke. They don't smoke in my vehicle, I don't complain when they smoke in theirs. Our legislature gets a hold of a issue, reacts, and takes action. Smokers will go to SC, VA, and TN to buy smokes when they can (and get gas while they are there)....They are cheaper. We lose revenues. Some resturants and bars will close, we lose revenues. The money we save from having to treat smokers we can then use to treat more illegal aliens and if we lose to much revenue we will just tax ssomething else. No big deal, this is liberal run NC. Get use to it or move. I am a staunch conservative, but will move in a couple of years. A majority of folks in this state have discovered the ability to increase entitlements at the ballot box. Smoking is not good for you...neither is our legislature. I wish we could ban them.

  • xchief661 Apr 3, 2009

    If you don't have a smoking section you WON'T get my business. 1 for 1! I am tired of people acting like I have leprosy because I smoke. Do you drink? That is something you cannot see but it is extremely well known that people who drink and drive kill more children and people than second hand smoke. You might want to consider not giving your children those happy meals or restaurants that have a childs menu with nothing to eat that has their immediate health in mind. It isn't the second hand smoke thats killing the kids its their parents. Suck that up your nose!!!!!

  • woodrowboyd2 Apr 3, 2009

    to have a right that means you take my rights.
    when we pass laws of this kind its unfair to all
    the next time something is passed it may go against the ones it has help this time
    but i had no idea so many havent been out to eat
    you should feel like uncle jed now

  • nerdlywehunt Apr 3, 2009

    Before long they will be complaining about have to conform to sanitary standards. Read my lips, if you have smoking I won't give you my business. Get a grip already