Several area businesses unaffected by smoking ban

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    The air in Fort Worth is about to be a little clearer. The City of Fort Worth just passed a smoking ban that will go into effect Jan. 1.The ban will prohibit smoking in most public places but bars, bingo halls, retail tobacco stores, designated hotel rooms and some outdoor patios will still be legal smoking areas, said Amy Casas, public information officer for the Public Health Department.

    The Fort Worth City Council Web site said a 7-2 vote ended an 18-month debate among Fort Worth City Council members over how far to extend the ban.

    This ban will affect some TCU-area restaurants.

    Ocean Rock manager Ian Francis said he is not sure what exactly he will have to change, but he said he does not feel as if the ban will affect business at all. The restaurant currently has smoking and non-smoking sections.

    “A lot of people don’t like coming to a restaurant where there is a lot of smoking so we really don’t have a problem with it,” Francis said.

    Employees at both Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and the Mellow Mushroom said this will not affect them at all because both are non-smoking restaurants. The Aardvark falls under the category of a bar so it will not be affected either.

    Casas said in the ordinance, smoking is allowed on outdoor patios that are at least 20 feet from an entrance to the restaurant, and she said a bar is identified as “a business that receives at least 70 percent of its profit from alcohol sales.”

    Beverly Kelly, who works with TCU Food Services, is about to stop smoking. She said she thinks the ban is a great idea.

    “I think they should go as far as to give out citations to people who are smoking on the street. It’s a bad habit that everyone should stop,” Kelly said.

    Junior radio-TV-film Christine Schueler disagrees.

    “As a smoker, I feel like we are being ostracized,” Schueler said. “I feel that restaurant owners have the right to decide whether or not to have a smoking section.”

    Currently, Fort Worth allows smoking in restaurants that have a filtration system separating the smoking side from the non-smoking side.

    Casas said the ban will be enforced on a complaint basis.

    “Our goal as the Public Health Department is between now and Jan. 1, to educate the community on this new policy” Casas said.