Local News

Smokers, businesses adjusting to smoking ban

Posted April 1, 2010 8:47 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2010 11:05 p.m. EDT

— Three months after a new law made it illegal to smoke inside restaurants and bars in the state, some smokers are still getting used to having to light up outside.

“I still don’t like to, but I’ve adapted to it,” smoker Rhoda Bruington said on Thursday.

Before the law took affect, some critics were concerned that it would be bad for business. Greg Hatem, who owns several eateries and bars in the downtown Raleigh, said the ban has done the opposite.

“It’s been great. Actually it’s helped business,” Hatem said.

Hatem said what used to be the smoking area at the Raleigh Times restaurant and bar has now become its busiest section.

“Now people want to go in there because it’s a cool bar – a 150 year old bar. They want to go in there and they can now because it’s now non-smoking,” Hatem said.

David Diaz, of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said there was a 10 percent increase in revenue in restaurants and nightclubs in the downtown area since March last year, before the smoking ban took effect.