Smoking ban in Excelsior Springs takes effect on the Fourth - Montgomery Alabama news.

Smoking ban in Excelsior Springs takes effect on the Fourth

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Excelsior Springs' smoking ban begins on the Fourth of July, and some aren't happy with it.

Patrons and employees at restaurants and bars will now have to go outside to light up. And business owners believe it will hurt sales.

Proponents of smoking bans say it's good for public health.

The ordinance bans smoking in enclosed businesses, clubs and other public places.

Members at the Clay-Ray Veterans Hall said the smoking ban is a slap in the face to those who have fought to protect our freedoms. Some fear it will mean less money for scholarships and flags.

The hall was a private club but was converted to a public facility in hopes of growing its membership and staying open.

"It's a crap shoot," said Dennis Heine, president of the veterans hall. "We don't know what's going to happen."

He said most patrons at the hall are smokers. He also said membership is down to just 300 veterans due to the age and he fears the ban will cause a further dwindling.

He said the hall depends on smokers to stay open. The fear is smokers will seek other venues to play bingo and enjoy social conversation.

"Even if it was 10 percent, we are razor thin on our profit margins here and any loss is consequential to us," Heine said. "We have served to maintain the freedom of the people here and now the government is stepping in. And this is not right."

Opponents to the ban say they will continue to fight to have the ordinance amended or thrown out.

Anyone caught violating the ordinance can be fined $50 and the business faces a $100 fine.

Outdoor smoking has to be 10 feet from the front entrance. Smoking can be done around other doors.

The ban was voted on by about 800 of the city's nearly 6,000 registered voters and passed by about 100 votes.

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