Shouldn’t the owners of restaurants and bars decide this issue?

Restaurants and bars have the right to establish business practices until it affects public health. For years government regulations have established safeguards to encourage clean, safe environments in restaurants and bars. While food must be packaged a certain way and the number of patrons is regulated, there are no standards set for the amount of deadly, secondhand smoke. The air patrons breathe is as important as the food they eat.

Does a smoking ban infringe on the rights of people?

Smoking in public spaces infringes on the rights of nonsmokers. People should be able to prevent exposing themselves and their families to unhealthy, secondhand smoke.

Can’t nonsmokers just move to the smoke-free section of restaurants?

There are no boundaries for secondhand smoke. Waiters and patrons who work and sit in the no smoking section are exposed to over 4,000 chemicals caused by secondhand smoke, 60 of which are cancerous. In addition, ventilation systems currently installed in nonsmoking sections of restaurants and bars have been proven useless in the prevention of the toxins caused by secondhand smoke.

Will restaurants suffer from a smoking ban?

As New York City has proven, stronger indoor air ordinances have no negative impact on restaurant revenues. In fact, business is booming in New York City’s bars and restaurants with tax receipts up 12% since the introduction and enactment of the Smoke-Free Indoor Air law in March 2003.

Will patrons leave Chicago for dining and entertainment?

There is no evidence demonstrating this activity in other cities that have passed Smoke-Free ordinances. In fact, Joe Segal, a Chicago jazz club owner, recently stated, “people have stopped going to clubs because it was too smoky. When they heard we were non-smoking, they started to come back.”

Will it affect tourism?

In 2002 the entire state of Florida voted to become a smoke-free state. Voters passed this referendum knowing that people would not make travel decisions based on smoking restrictions. Today, tourism is still the state’s number one business.