Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Great Illinois Smoke Out

The other night, I was talking with a few out-of-state family members about the fact that in January in Illinois, there would be a smoking ban going into effect that will prohibit smoking in all public places. We discussed the effects of this ban and what it may mean for some businesses. I don’t agree with the ban (in my opinion, if I choose to go to an establishment that allows smoking, then I am choosing to breathe that air and get all smoky – no one is forcing me to go there.) However, in spite of the fact that I think this is too much governmental interference into the private lives of citizens, perhaps I shouldn’t admit that I am actually also excited about it because I do look forward to going to eat at certain restaurants without coming out smelling like an ashtray. For instance, I love to go eat at The Wharf, but I seldom do because it just gets so smoky in there. I just hope this new law doesn’t end up hurting Illinois businesses in the long run.

1 comment:

david said...

Champaign-Urbana have already experienced a taste of what this new law will mean. Interestingly, both the Urbana and Champaign City Councils decided on local smoking bans at bars and restaurants that took effect last January 1. Then, partially based on this issue, in March, Champaign voted in a pro-smoking slate that rescinded the ban in Champaign, so they again allow smoking until the state's law goes into effect this coming January.

Interestingly owners of several of the bars in Champaign have decided to continue a no-smoking policy because they've found that it actually has increased their business.

It doesn't seem to have had a huge effect on business in the Urbana bars and restaurants either. Several have built some type of shelter outside to accomodate smoking.

Being a person that plays in a band at some of the local clubs, I can say that it definitely has not hurt our crowds. In fact, several people, almost every time we play out, say that they're sure glad that they're able to come out now because they couldn't or wouldn't when the bars were so smoky.

I can understand both sides of the issue, but I like the idea that it allows many people to get out and enjoy a meal or a night out enjoying music or the arts who wouldn't have come out previously.