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Countywide smoking ban has some steaming
By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald
While the smoking ban in all public establishments has officially gone into effect in Pierce County, many smokers are not resigned to the change yet.
At Beam's Firehouse Pub in Buckley, the question of whether smokers should be able to light up in their bars was a heated topic last week.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board adopted a no-smoking resolution on Dec. 3 and it took effect Friday. A person caught smoking in a public place can be fined $100.
Jackie Parr, a customer at Beam's, said New Year's Eve she disagrees with the smoking ban because it's biased against smokers. She also thinks it will encourage Buckley residents to go to Enumclaw to drink and smoke, and might increase the number of drunk drivers on the road.
But Buckley police Lt. Tim Personius said while places in Buckley may lose business, he's not too concerned the smoking ban will send Buckley residents to Enumclaw to drink and smoke, possibly increasing the number of drivers who have had too much to drink on the roads.
"Most people go to bars to drink, not smoke," he said.
Parr also said nonsmokers have the right to be in an atmosphere where there is no smoking, but smokers also have the right to be in an atmosphere where they are able to smoke.
"We pay our taxes, too," Parr said.
She thinks there should be nonsmoking bars and lounges and smoking bars and lounges.
"It's not about smoking, it's about rights," she said.
Kevin Frisby, who is also a smoker, said he also would like to see more nonsmoking taverns and establishments open, but to leave it to the bar or lounge owner to decide, not have it imposed on them.
"This 100 percent blanket is just too much," Frisby said.
Karalina Lozier, visiting in Buckley, also had a similar opinion, but Lozier would like to see separate nonsmoking and smoking sections, without eliminating smoking all together.
"I respect the nonsmokers' choice," she said, adding, she would like to have her choice to smoke respected as well.
Owner Scott Lazor is worried the smoking ban will hurt his business, although he's not against the ban altogether.
Lazor said he thinks if a smoking ban is going to be instituted, it should be instituted state wide, instead of just Pierce County.
While Lazor doesn't smoke, he said he feels bad for the smokers who lost another place where they can smoke.
He also is concerned he will lose business because Buckley is so close to Enumclaw and King County. He said he has heard of studies stating smoking bans don't hurt businesses, "but with the way people smoke out here, I don't see that happening," he said.
Lazor said Pierce County Health Department officials haven't even told him specifically what the procedure is going to be following the new ban, and how it will be enforced hasn't really been determined.
"It just sounds like somebody on a power trip to me," he said.
Until something concrete is decided by Pierce County, he is going to see what the majority of the bar owners he knows decide to do before making any decisions on what he will do.
To Lazor it's just another thing he has to enforce.
"Now I have one more thing to police what people have to do, instead of just what we're serving and minors, but you have to play by the rules," Lazor said.
Jessica Keller can be reached at email@example.com