Pa. smoking ban has people talking

June 11, 2008 4:21:42 PM PDT
From bowling alleys to restaurants, just some of the many places in Pennsylvania where you can now light up, but will soon be off limits for smoking. It's a move welcome by suburbans diners.

Deb Summa of Newark, Delaware said "I usually don't like cigarette smoke when I'm eating, and I'm a smoker. A lot of people I eat lunch with at restaurants don't smoke."

Paul Silverman of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania had a similar observation. "I find it very offensive when I'm eating, especially to have smoke near me."

With pre-existing bans in Delaware, New Jersey and Philadelphia, managers at Lehman's Tavern in Essington, Pa. doubt the ban will cost them customers.

Nela Gutierrez, the manager, says " I think it will be fine for business. I think it's not going to change much."

Critics, however, say the proposed Pennsylvania ban offers too many exceptions.

Among them are cigar bars, up to 25 percent of hotel guest rooms, private clubs, nursing homes, mental health and drug treatment facilities.

The ban also exempts bars where food is 20 percent or less of total sales.

That's a concern for the owner of The Trieste, a Prospect Park eatery.

Owner Tony Polselli says " So I lose business to them. Hopefully that won't pan out, Hopefully, they'll make this law tighter in time."

The Pennsylvania Lung Association would like to see a tougher law, especially when it comes to casinos.

In New Jersey and Philadelphia, the casinos are to be totally smoke free.

But in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, some smoking will be allowed.

Lung Association representative Deb Brown says "In the state of Pennsylvania the casinos will start at 25% of the floor will prevent smoking, but if the casino can show it's an economic hardship, then 50% of the floor will be permitted to be smoke free."