PA smoking ban takes effect Thursday

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. - September 10, 2008 - At midnight, a state-wide smoking ban takes effect.

There are exceptions for some bars, hotel rooms, private clubs and casinos, but there will be no more smoking in schools, stores, restaurants, or offices.

However, smoking will still be allowed on patios of restaurants.

At the Gypsy Saloon in Conshohocken, those rules were put in place more than a year and a half ago.

"We do more dinners, more people prefer to sit in the bar area, they prefer to sit and have dinner. On a busy Saturday night, if someone sees a bar full of people smoking, they won't want to sit and have dinner," said manager Mike Conolly. "Now we do much more food business."

Customers at the Gypsy Saloon had differing takes on the ban.

"It makes for a healthier America, so you don't have to worry about second-hand smoke and stuff like that," said Linwood Brown of Norristown.

"I don't know why they're banning smoking from anywhere," said Shannon Kearns of Conshohocken. "Bars are well known for smoking, so I don't know why they would make it non-smoking."

For waitress Jennifer McPherson, this day couldn't come soon enough.

"I've been waiting and waiting and it's gone through and I'm ecstatic about it, " McPherson said. "I work in this atmosphere, and for me it's beneficial."

From Michelle Turner's point of view, the comprehensive ban is a good move, even though she has to leave the office to light up.

"I'm for it. I don't think people should smoke," Turner said. "I know I'm a smoker and that's contradictory, but I have children and I don't like my children to be around smoke, and I don't smoke around my children. I think people should respect that."

Philadelphia's smoking ban will remain in place. It is not affected by the state-wide smoking law.

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