Smoking ban business impact - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Smoking ban business impact

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Dubuque (KWWL) -- Its been more than 4 months since Iowa's Smoking Ban Law changed the atmosphere in bars and restaurants. Restaurant owners claim extinguishing cigarettes will extinguish their business. Now that the smoke has cleared the air on the ban, we look to see if that is the case in Dubuque.

Neighboring states like Illinios enacted the smoking ban well over a year ago and often Dubuque bars and restaurants reaped the benefits as people came across the river for business. Now, four months later, Downtown establishments are not up in smoke about the new rules.

It's late afternoon at Lot One in Dubuque and right now it's business as usual.

"People come in here and feel free to not have to worry about when there eating to have the smoke," said Curt Cutler of Lot One.

He says if anything business has picked up, at unexpected times.

"I think our lunches have all picked up since the smoking ban," said Cutler.

Just up the street Blackwater Grill is seeing a steady flow at lunch.

"Over all it's the same as far as evening hours that's when you would see the hit more when there's heavy drinking involved," said Jeanie Newman of Blackwater Grill.

Both Blackwater Grill and Lot One say they've seen a slight drop in business during evening and weekend hours.

"I think some people are reluctant to come out since they can sit at home and drink and smoke," said Newman.

In the end, most bar-goers and owners say the new rule is a puff in the right direction.

"I've had anyone complain about it. I mean it's a little bit tedious," said Cutler. "It's a cleaner atmosphere."

"As far as the restaurant industry goes people come to eat, not everybody smokes," said Newman. "It's uncomfortable so we want to have a place that's comfortable for everyone."

The true test comes this winter when people have to go outside in below zero temperature to light up. Some restaurants in Dubuque are investing in screened off areas and outside heaters to accommodate smokers.

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