Conway businesses evaluate effects of possible smoking ban

Conway businesses evaluate effects of possible smoking ban

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The city of Conway is trying to quit smoking for 2015 and if the proposed ordinance passes, all businesses would have to participate in the New Year's resolution, whether they're happy about the idea or not.

"I just think people should have the option," said Carson Hart, manager of J & J Cafeteria. "If your restaurant has an area for that and you don't smell cigarette smoke when you walk in here, I think it's perfectly okay."

J & J Cafeteria allows smoking in one portion of the restaurant. Hart estimates about 15 percent of the business' customers are regulars who come in every morning to eat and smoke.

"A lot of those people were tobacco farmers," he said. "Their families were tobacco farmers, so they've grown up with that and it's offensive to tell someone, 'No, you can't smoke.'"

If the Conway City Council passes the ordinance to prohibit smoking inside private businesses, Hart fears the restaurant will lose customers.

"People won't come in," he said. "They'll find another place to go or they'll stay home. "Meanwhile, other Conway businesses have been smoke-free since they opened their doors. Crady's Eclectic Cuisine has had barely any complaints from customers about their smoking policy.

"I think maybe over the years we might've had one or two people that requested they be allowed to smoke, but when we tell them no, then they're fine," said Barbara Whitley, the owner of Crady's Eclectic Cuisine.

Whitley said banning smoking on a city level is a natural next step for a growing smoke-free trend.

"I think it would be going against the tide so to speak to allow smoking inside now," she said.

The ordinance's second reading is scheduled for January 20.

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