Smoking Ban Has Bar Owners Fighting Mad - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Smoking Ban Has Bar Owners Fighting Mad

The smoking ban battle is firing up some Iowa bar owners.

Most places are complying with Iowa's nearly 7-month-old smoking ban.

But some bars say it hurts business.

Otis Campbell's Bar and Grill in West Burlington is one bar still allowing smoking in protest.

The bar could have its liquor license suspended but the owner promises to appeal.

He's not the only bar owner who wants the law changed.

Most of the 2 dozen people in a Franklin County meeting room angry.

They say the statewide smoking ban is unfair.

Some own bars.

They say they've lost a lot of business.

"Financially the first couple of months, quite a bit, quite a bit, over 50%," said bar owner Vickie Pralle.

Pralle owns the Pit Row Pub in Hampton with her husband.

She says they've stepped up self-enforcement of the smoking ban in the last few weeks after trying to ignore it.

One man is front and center of the smoking ban fight.

Larry Duncan continues to turn a blind eye to smokers at his West Burlington bar and grill called Otis Campbell's.

He's speaking out against the ban to anyone who will listen.

He says it's a constitutional issue.

"This constitution is taking away the rights of thousands of small business owners without any say of a perfectly legal product," said Duncan.

Other bars in Hampton say they don't agree with the ban..

Inside Willie's Sports Bar, you won't find anyone smoking.

Outside, smokers have a bench and an ashtray though workers would like to see the law go away.

"I don't see the problem. It's a bar. People smoke when they drink even if they don't smoke regularly. That shouldn't be taken away from them," said bartender Sarah Muller.

Meantime, Larry Duncan is urging others to join his fight while he continues to lobby state lawmakers to change their minds on at least one provision of the ban, an exemption for casinos.

"Why should a casino six blocks from my business be allowed to smoke and I'm not?" questioned Duncan.

Iowa lawmakers don't appear ready to change the smoking ban just yet.

Speaker of the House Pat Murphy of Dubuque told the Associated Press last week, "The representatives of the Cancer Society basically at this point just want to let the cigarette ban work to deal with some of the issues that have been percolating since the law went into effect."

He said, "I don't expect us to do anything in regard to the indoor smoking ban we passed last year."

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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