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New Bill Aims to Ban Smoking in Public Places

Publication Date: 3/12/2013
  • Publication:OzarksFirst.com

An Arkansas lawmaker wants to ban smoking in all public places, even bars that fought for exemptions.

The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 banned smoking in many public places, like restaurants.

Now, Representative John Walker is going after the handful of places that are left. If House Bill 2119 passes, it would strike smoking from the list of indulgences people can enjoy at places like West End in Little Rock.

"When they pass stuff like that, that's like them saying, 'I don't care about your choice,'" says customer and cigar smoker Michael Davis.

The Monday evening crowd was mixed, with smokers sitting next to former smokers and non smokers. While some mentioned off camera they like the idea of the ban, many others expressed opposition.

"I believe owners of bars have the right to say whether you can smoke," says Willie Hinton, a non-smoker.

Manager Eddie McDonnell says the bill would hurt business.

"It's going to have a huge impact for us. For people, it goes hand in hand they drink and they smoke," McDonnell says.

He says the restaurant has gone a long way to try and accommodate both smokers and non smokers. They sell cigarettes at the bar and have spent thousands on a smoke vents....