Puff, puff - but will it pass?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A smoke free air ordinance bill was officially filed on Wednesday in South Bend. This would make all indoor public places smoke-free and would only exempt private clubs.

The state of Indiana already passed a new smoking law within in the state that goes into effect on July 1, 2012.

The state rules exempts bars, retail-tobacco stores, and casinos. If South Bend’s ordinance passes it would override the state law.

So some businesses are afraid smoker will choose to take their hard-earned money elsewhere.

"The bars in Mishawaka will have the advantage," said the Linebacker’s General Manager Greg Delinski.

Delinksi said he’s been on the other side of that same equation before. "Just as when Michigan went no smoking we saw an increase of people," he said.

South Bend Common Council At Large Member Gavin Ferlic is a co-sponsor of the new bill. He hopes the city ordinance would have the opposite impact on the neighboring Mishawaka.

"We hope South Bend's taking the lead here and we hope Mishawaka will pass a smoke free ordinance and hopefully the county will follow suite and maybe one day the state will follow suite," said Ferlic.

Ferlic also added that they looked at a number of different cities within the state, including Elkhart and Bloomington, to see what impact a smoking ordinance had there.

"Most studies show that when cities pass smoking ordinances that business either stays the same or actually revenues increase for bars and taverns," said Ferlic.

At the end of the day bar businesses, just doesn’t want their neighbors to get the best of them.

"I don't think anybody is against it, but I think it’s unfair for one city to have it and the other city not to have it because that will make a difference," said Delinkski.

Ferlic said the Common Council should hear a formal reading of the bill on Monday June 11th and he said Tobacco Free St. Joseph County has set a target date of July 1st for the new ordinance to go into effect.

That way there will be little confusion between the new city ordinance and the new state smoking law which goes into effect that same day.




Share this article: