Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 21, 2013

Smoking ban hits 10 years|State's indoor smoking ban has changed much in 10 years

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "On the restaurant side of the business, our members are now saying the things the anti-smoking advocates said they would experience: It's nice going home not smelling of smoke, it's cheaper to keep the restaurant clean and they don't know how they worked in a smoking environment before," Wexler said.

Finding some shade in 90-degree heat, Donna Twitty puffed away outside air-conditioned comfort in Albany. But she didn't mind at all.

"It was an adjustment," said the 34-year-old two-pack-a-week smoker from New York City. "But I prefer to do it outdoors because other people shouldn't have to breathe in my smoke."

But the perspective can still be pretty heated at the other end of the cigarette.

"The incursion into private lives over an informed legal lifestyle choice is nothing to celebrate," said Audrey Silk, founder of the national smokers' rights group Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. "Questionable shady statistics over health and business are irrelevant."

She said the public hype by government and the media supporting the ban overstates the view and notes that many establishments have defied the ban.

The state Health Department is preparing updated data for release this week, when the indoor smoking ban and its $1,000 fines will be 10 years old on Wednesday.

A 2006 Health and Economic Impact of New York's clean Indoor Air Act found that by 2005, 80 percent of New Yorkers supported the law, including one-third to one-half of smokers. The Health Department cited academic studies that found no impact or a positive impact from indoor smoking bans.

The study's analysis of tax records showed no loss in business in the first two years. The department's survey found New Yorkers who went to bars and restaurants would be slightly more likely to visit more often because of the law.

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

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