Poll Reveals 65 Percent of Kentuckians Favor a State-wide Smoking Ban

By Melissa Warren | 

FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) -- "I don't smoke and I don't want to smell like smoke so I think it's a good idea," said Hot Plate customer Steve Hammonds of Franklin, Ky.

According to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's recent poll, 65 percent of Kentuckians agree with the Franklin native who says he chooses to dine at non-smoking restaurants like Hot Plate in Franklin. a city that currently has no smoking ban in place.

"It did hurt the business for a little bit, but it came right back and it probably came back folded twice over," says Hot Plate manager Loni O-Shaughnessy of the restaurant's choice to become smoke-free.

"Our business has increased because of the non-smoking. There's people that come form Bowling Green, Nashville, and everywhere to eat because we have the best food in town," said Hot Palte waitress Wanda Readnower.

Another Franklin restaurant has remained smoke-friendly, saying it draws smokers from nearby areas with bans in place.

"It brings alot of overflow from Tennessee, and down from Bowling Green, just because those establishments no longer can legally allow smoking, whereas we still as long as Kentucky, Simpson County, and Franklin city promote smoking, we're going to continue to have it," said Oasis Southwest Grill Manager Emily Tibbs.

Tibbs says the restaurants ventilation system also helps keep all customers more comfortable. One Bowling Green restaurant manager felt the impact after Bowling Green's smoking ban ordinance took effect in 2011.

"What we ended up doing is adapting our menu a little bit... becoming more kid and family friendly... and that brought in the extra business to make up for the lost business. Most of all, I think the community adapted first. They started realizing the places to smoke were very very limited, so if they wanted to smoke, they had to make the change too," said Whabah Steakhouse General Manager Alan Adams.

Adams said the first few months were difficult resulting in a 30 to 40 percent loss in business, but simple changes like adding a smoking patio outside helped accommodate both sides of the issue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 states and the District of Columbia, have smoking bans. Just last year, the Kentucky legislature failed in its attempts to pass its own version of the ban, House Bill 190.

To view the results of the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, see the related link.

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