Editorial: Restaurant smoking ban gives owners option

Ban is better financial option for owners.

Soon, legislation limiting smoking in restaurants could be finished and in the hands of Delaware County commissioners, according to Delaware County Task Force member Lou Coulter. Under the current draft, any restaurant already established in Muncie would need to be smoke free or have an enclosed area with a separate ventilation system for smokers within five years.

Restaurants that have not begun construction 60 days after the ordinance is passed would prohibit smoking completely. Coulter expects the task force to approve this legislation at the April 24 meeting.

While the option of smoke-free environments may be appealing to Delaware County residents such as Julia Gouveia, who presented a 691-signature petition calling for an immediate ban on restaurant smoking, the idea of established restaurants taking on expensive remodeling projects to accommodate smokers in enclosed areas is unappealing.

Rather than costing restaurant owners, it is the smokers who should be inconvenienced with this legislation. Smokers will simply have to do without smoking while dining.

A total ban on restaurant smoking - rather than just limiting it - is the best possible business scenario for local restaurants. Giving established restaurants the option of remodeling for smokers or banning smoking is fair to owners, smokers and non-smokers, but in the end, the cost-effective and least-disruptive measure for business would simply be to adopt smoke-free policies and continue operations uninterrupted by renovation.


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