South Bend smoking ban is here
If you're planning to head to a bar in South Bend tonight leave the cigarettes behind.
A city-wide smoking ban went into effect Monday. Indiana already prohibits smoking in restaurants ,but it still allows smoking in bars. This new ordinance, however, makes that illegal in South Bend.
You can't smoke inside any bar or workplaces in the city. You can smoke outside, but you have to be 15 feet away from the business. Some people think Mishawaka and the county should do the same
Today is the day the group Smoke Free St. Joe has been waiting for a very long time.
A group spokesperson says it's their plan to work with Mishawaka and the county to make them smoke free as well.
"That is our hope that they will see the positive impact of this and follow suit," said Karl Nichols with Smoke Free St. Joe.
Not everyone sees it that way. Employees at Murphy's Backyard Bar and Grill like Kim McFarland say people have come in and left because of the ban. She says the bar is usually full, and today it wasn't.
McFarland says because she works off of tips the ordinance is making it hard for her and the owners to make a living.
"Smoking and drinking go hand in hand for most people. Everybody that works here smokes. We can't just leave our drawer and go outside, and smoke cause you have to be 15 feet away. It's not fair. It's not right," said McFarland.
Customers at Murphy's stood divided.
"I don't like it. I'm a smoker. I think there taking my rights and privileges away from me,"said Jim Aucsin.
"When there's change there's resistance. They'll sit out there and cry and go somewhere else, but they love this place, and they'll be back. In a month they won't even notice," said Mike Koltz.
Employees at Frank's Place didn't want to go on camera, but they say they've been mostly smoke free for two years now. They had a smoking room but don't anymore. They say the restaurant side of the business actually spiked because of the non-smoking, but they think it should be fair across the board because this ban will create competition between South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County.
We reached out to the mayor of Mishawaka to see if they plan to pursue a smoking ban in the city, but they were off because of the holiday.
The Common Council in Mishawaka and the County Council would have to pass their own separate ordinances in order to make smoking illegal in workplaces.
Despite the concerns, we asked viewers if the ban would change their consumer habits, here is what they had to say: