Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No-Smoking Vote Draws Fire; Puffers, Opponents at Odds over Voter-Approved Measure

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No-Smoking Vote Draws Fire; Puffers, Opponents at Odds over Voter-Approved Measure

Article excerpt

Byline: P. Douglas Filaroski, Times-Union staff writer

The vote seemed to break along puffer, not party, lines this time.

In a state where 23 percent of adults smoke, 71 percent of voters Tuesday passed a sweeping ban on smoking in indoor workplaces in Florida. So it's understandable that residents yesterday greeted the referendum's passage as either a breath of fresh air, or a pain in their butts.

"I'm all for it," said Sherri Hatfield, who ate lunch at a Jacksonville Ruby Tuesday, which would be affected by the ban that includes all of Florida's restaurants.

"It's insane to have smoking and non-smoking sections," said Hatfield, who could smell smoke from the cigarette of a nearby patron. "It doesn't work."

The measure, which must take effect by July, would exempt stand-alone bars, hotel rooms and private homes not being used as commercial day cares.

It would allow smoking on outdoor patios or anywhere outside workplaces where second-hand doesn't affect non-smokers. Health groups that supported the constitutional amendment said second-hand smoke causes 53,000 deaths a year.

Smokers and a small percentage of non-smokers who opposed the ban called it a property rights issue.

The government is overstepping its bounds, said David Myers, owner of Box Seats sports bar on Blanding Boulevard where many customers smoke.

"We're privately owned, and now the government comes in and tells me how to run my business. That seems unconstitutional to me," Myers said.

Myers plans to rally owners and investigate legal options. In the meantime, he said he may build a back outdoor deck for his smoking customers.

During a pre-election campaign, supporters cited studies showing states with similar bans did not see an overall drop in restaurant sales. But Myers said his business will be hurt.

"It may help a little on the food part, but a lot of times this place is full of people who smoke. I can't see how it can't hurt." said Myers, who said customers may go from his sports bar to stand-alone bars to watch games.

Lacey Alcantara , who works at Dona Maria's downtown, won't stop dining out but will be unhappy about not smoking while eating. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.