July 28, 2006

Smoking Ban Affecting Smaller Businesses

As this blog argued last month, the right of individual businesses to determing their own policy on smoking has been unnecessarily usurped by the nanny-state which has determined that not only is second-hand smoke harmful, but so is allowing individuals to choose whether they will offer it at their establishment, and other individuals to conclude where their patronage should be expended.

Good for some (LoDo, bigger bars), bad for others (mostly local joints and mom and pop bars)--the law of unintended consequences in the area of public policy. Others are also feeling the pinch after the smoking ban:
Ami Ben says the state's smoking ban is forcing him to lay off three employees "who are like family."

"My business went down at least 30 percent" since the ban went into effect July 1, said Ben, who owns Tarantula Billiards Cafe in downtown Denver. "This is total garbage!"

Ben said his business, at 14th and Champa streets, runs on a 10 percent profit margin and he has to cut staff and take other measures to survive.

"Nobody here ever complained about smoking," Ben said. "It's all the do-gooders."
He isn't alone in his plight.

Kyle Jewett, who co-owns Kyle's Saloon & Eatery with her husband, said business is "scary slow" in the wake of the ban.

Jewett used the same figure - 30 percent - to describe the falloff in business at her saloon, 3989 Ulster St.

The couple have sunk a few hundred dollars into their patio - where smokers can legally light up - in hopes of hanging on to smoking regulars.

Some are using the patio, but others just stopped coming, Jewett said.

"It doesn't look good," she said. "If we don't see some more business soon, we're probably going to have to file for bankruptcy."


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