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Council to vote on prohibiting smoking in workplaces

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

There is a call to make all workplaces in South Bend smoke free.

South Bend Council member Gavin Ferlic is sponsoring the Comprehensive Clean Air Ordinance.

The goal, he said, is to provide comprehensive clean air to the city of South Bend.

Groups such as Smoke Free St. Joe are supporting the proposal. But not everyone is on board.

Mulligan’s Bar and Grill on State Road 23, has long been a smoking establishment.

It is just one of about 70 remaining businesses throughout South Bend, proudly giving customers the option to smoke inside, if they so choose.

“It’s a choice to come in here. And I understand there’s a need, there’s some people that just do not like smoking. That’s okay. That’s okay, that’s their choice,” said Mulligan’s Owner Patrick Mulligan.

But changes could be just months away, with the proposal of the Comprehensive Clean Air Ordinance.

An upcoming vote on March 28th will be the third attempt to get this particular law passed.

“My conversations with other council members leads me to believe we do have the majority of the council in support of a comprehensive clean air policy,” Councilman Gavin Ferlic explained.

It would prohibit smoking within bars, bingo and gaming facilities, hotels and motels, stadiums, private clubs, playgrounds, bleachers, and tobacco retail stores.

Councilman Ferlic said it ultimately comes down to public health.

“In cities and communities where comprehensive clean ordinances have been passed the incidents of heart disease reduce significantly, incidents of cancer, lung disease,” Ferlic said.

Members of Smoke Free St. Joe support the ordinance.

If passed, they believe it will decrease second hand smoke exposure to employees.  

They add studies show the ordinance does not hurt businesses in the process.

 “You don’t go to the bar to smoke. You go to the bar to fellowship with our friends and family and to watch the game. And we just happen to smoke while we’re there,” Smoke Free St. Joe Member Karl Nichols explained.

“It does not have a negative impact on business. If anything, it’s neutral or positive,” Ferlic added.

In a statement to ABC57 news, Councilman Oliver Davis said, “I hope that this proposed ordinance regarding the smoking ban in the City of South Bend is defeated or at least amended to add a grandfather clause to protect current bars.”

The vote is March 28th.

Five council members will need to approve the ordinance for it to pass.

If passed, there will be a four month implementation period.

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