Columbus strengthens smoking ban

Smoking In Club

The City of Columbus council authorized a smoking ban on December 4 stricter than the state’s – prohibiting smoking in bars and private clubs.

There was lots of support for the smoking ban.

But for one Columbus sports bar proprietor against the proposal, the vote signifies it will be necessary make some modifications.

At Scores Sports Bar & Grill in Columbus, patrons can eat, drink and take in a game of pool; they can as well light up cigarettes inside. The place is one of 12 in the city that was exception from a statewide smoking ban.

Council members voted 4-2 in support of prohibiting smoking in all Columbus institutions. That signifies the five private clubs and seven bars in the city will in the near future become tobacco free.

Mark Wilcox is the owner of one of the bars affected. He disagrees with the smoking ban. It’s removing their freedom of choice to decide what they want to do, according to him.

“There are bars in Columbus that are non-smoking, so people do have that choice. If they want to get out of a bar and not be around smoking people, there are bars here that accommodate that,” said Mark Bowlby of Columbus.

Bowlby is a smoker and works at Scores Sports Bar & Grill.

“You’re not going to be able to enjoy your bar experience as a smoker like you get to now,” he said, “People are not going to either not come to the bar anymore or they are going to come and drink maybe one beer and then leave.”

Wilcox left the council meeting not shocked by the vote, but expecting the result would be different. He’s now planning on how to move forward.

“I think the smoking ban is going to have a big influence on us; we’re going to have to find a good action strategy from here on what to do and what to do to survive,” he said.

The ordinance becomes operational instantly, but the 12 institutions exempt under the state smoking ban now have until June 1, 2013 to conform to the Columbus ban.

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation of Bartholomew County will be supporting those institutions transition to become tobacco free.

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