Local bar owners meet, discuss potential smoking ban

Local bar owners meet, discuss potential smoking ban

April 08
23:14 2015

Paul Wedding / Senior Staff Writer

Around 20 Denton bar owners and residents gathered at City Councilman Kevin Roden’s house Monday night to discuss a proposed expanded smoking ordinance that would issue a comprehensive ban on smoking across all Denton bars and restaurants.

The ban is being issued after City Council came to the conclusion that smoking allowed in close proximity of the general public inside would be detrimental to their health. This would include electronic cigarettes and vapor products but would exclude open-air outdoor patios, private clubs and fraternal organizations as well as private residences.

City Council will vote on the smoking ordinance at their weekly meeting on Apr. 7 at 1 p.m. Roden held the meeting at his house to give the public a chance to voice their concerns before the vote. Many of the local business owners were not pleased with the proposal.

“I don’t get how government can tell businesses what they can and cannot do with smoking,” Dan’s Silverleaf owner Chris Hawley said.

Roden and three other city council members brought up the proposal due to concern over public health.

Josh Baish, the owner of Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, banned smoking from his business a few years ago and was generally in favor of the ordinance.

“I shouldn’t have to walk into a place and be worried about secondhand smoke,” Baish said. “Why should somebody who doesn’t smoke be subjected to those that do?”

Of the 37 bars in Denton, there are currently 11 that allow smoking inside, and four of those 11 are currently trying to transition to becoming nonsmoking bars.

Jennifer Gibbs, owner of Hailey’s and Dusty’s, said that her bars were two of the few left in Denton that allowed smoking inside and that 95 percent of her customers were smokers. If the ban passes, she would have to spend money to build an outdoor patio for her customers.

“Why should I gamble with my life just because you want to come in and not be around smoke?” Gibbs said.

The issue of e-cigarettes came up as well. The ordinance would ban their use indoors as well, despite not enough studies to show that they posed any serious health detriments to the public.

Hawley offered a compromise in the form of adding a grandfather clause to the ordinance that many agreed with: any existing bars that allowed smoking would not fall under the ordinance, but any new public bars or restaurants would have to adhere to it.

“For bar owners, this is critical,” Hawley said. “It affects a lot of our lives here.”

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