Local Business Says “No” to Smoking Ban

By Max Resnik

December 22, 2011 Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 6:51 PM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – While Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) says he now supports a statewide smoking ban, one restaurant-bar in New Haven says any ban would limit a customer’s choice.

In early December in an interview with Indiana’s NewsCenter, Daniels expressed his wish for a statewide smoking ban. He furthered that sentiment late last week announcing that public support for a ban is growing and the evidence of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke is now available to make such a move.

That move however would be a tough sell for Rack & Helen’s co-owner Pat Anderson. Anderson’s restaurant, which does not allow patrons under the age of 21 and permits smoking, says a move like this limits the choice his customers have come to appreciate at Rack & Helen’s.

“We have a lot of non-smoking people come here and support the idea that we allow smoking because it's a choice. Isn't that what this country's all about is choice?”

Anderson says about 80 percent of his customers are non-smokers while 20 percent are smokers. He says his business does not stand on smoking but says it is an element to the atmosphere at Rack & Helen’s. He says it is one thing that sets his restaurant apart because the choice to smoke draws in customers from surrounding areas.

He says that if the legislature is so concerned about Hoosiers’ health, they should begin by banning the sale of tobacco.

“I just don’t get it. But the most amazing thing to me with the smoking ordinance is health, health, health. Have you ever heard one single politician on the state level who supports the smoking ban and would also support the ban of sales of tobacco products in the State of Indiana?”

Anderson says he has tried contacting at least five state representatives about the issue but has yet to have a call returned.

Daniels says he hope to have a ban in place prior to the Super Bowl February 5 in Indianapolis. Indianapolis’ City-County Council rejected the pre-Super Bowl smoking ban last week.

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