It’s been nearly a year since the Smoke-Free Air Law took effect in the state of Indiana, and business-owners across the state have had to put up signage ensuring patrons are aware of the new smoking ban and adjust to the new law. According to IN.gov, the purpose of the Indiana Smoke-Free Air Law is to protect Hoosiers from the harmful effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, and restaurants and most business across the state are now smoke-free.
Gus Ress, owner of Kostas Restaurant in Winamac, said the law took some getting used to but they have adjusted, and the customers have too.
“We’re doing fine with it. There’s no complaints or anything, but I don’t know, it’s like a mixed feeling. Some people are for it and some are not. You still have those very strong smokers – they still come in the restaurant, but they’re not very happy,” said Ress.
Unfortunately for Kostas, some of the regular crowd are heavy smokers – or, they were, at least; Ress said some of his former regulars stopped coming to the restaurant after the smoke ban was enacted, and that has hurt business.
“You never get used to it,” Ress said. “We have lost business. I can tell you I’m down about 10–15 percent, and those are all the heavy smokers that will not come no matter what. So, in the long run, it has hurt us. I don’t know what you can do about it – there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to obey the law.”
On the positive side, with warm weather back in the picture, smokers won’t have to huddle up in the cold outside of businesses, eight feet from the door. And because the new law effects all businesses the same – with a few exceptions, mostly bars and gaming facilities – the smoking ban isn’t pushing customers away from one business toward another.