Phenix City Restaurant says Business As Usual since Smoking Ban - WRBL

Phenix City Restaurant says Business As Usual since Smoking Ordinance

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A new video report by the Center for Disease Control shows that smoke free policies in restaurants are good for people's health. Five years ago Phenix City passed an ordinance to ban smoking inside restaurants. News Threes Naomi Keitt spoke with local restaurant owners Saturday and says the ban wasn't received well at first, but now it's actually  helping businesses.

Local restaurant owners say they are seeing a wider variety of people since the smoking ban was put in place in 2008. More customers with health issues and families with young children are dining more frequently.

Smoking or Non-smoking? This questions hasn't been asked in Phenix City restaurants for a long time, but Hidden Grill says their smoking customers still support the business.

"We still have our same customers. We've had customers here for years, we love them. I mean they still support us," says manager Dianne Money. Sisters Dianne Money, Sandra Cooper and Dolores Sanders have run the restaurant for years. They say customers didn't like the smoking ordinance at first.

"A lot of them were very angry. Now they come in and eat and then go outside and smoke but at first they were upset about it," says Sandra Cooper. Most businesses in Phenix City say business has remained about the same since the smoking ordinance, but customers are much more pleased with the environment."

"We have a lot of elderly couples that come in here and they've come in here since childhood and they still come and you know when your health breaks down some of them are on oxygen so they feel safer coming in with oxygen," says Money. Cooper says their smoking customers have gotten used to the ban by now.

"When they come and eat, if they are with someone that's still eating they'll step outside and smoke. They don't ever say anything else about it anymore," says Cooper. This family owned business attracts other families and the sisters are grateful parents can bring their children into a smoke free environment.

The manager of cafe 431, Kevin Coangelo, says the smoking ban has evened the playing field for restaurants and provides a better environment for his customers. Other restaurants say the smoking ban hasn't really affect their business since they didn't have a lot of smoking customers before the ban.


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