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Business Owners Upset Over Smoking Ban in Brownsville

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Posted: Dec 5, 2012 4:39 PM

Updated: Dec 6, 2012 12:49 AM

BROWNSVILLE - Business owners in Texas' southernmost city say an expanded smoking ban will cause their revenues to go up in smoke.

The new ordinance was the talk of the day at Chef Ricardo's Restaurant and Catering. Some agreed with the ban, others said it will have a negative impact.

"I'm totally against the smoke of any kind. Smoke is fire. Fire and smoke aren't healthy for you for anybody," Brownsville resident Lucio Torres said.

The new ban is an expanded version of the one approved four years ago. It will go into effect in 60 days.

The ordinance bans smoking in all bars, restaurants, game rooms, bingo halls, city properties, bus stops and healthcare facilities. The previous version only banned smoking in restaurants.

Smokers must stay at least 20 feet away from those buildings or sites, the ordinance states.

"I think it's going to impact in a negative way, because there are a lot of smokers that aren't going to want to eat out because of the law that's in place," said Javier Garza with Chef Ricardo's Restaurant and Catering.

"Personally ... I'm all for it. But as a business owner, it's going to have a high impact," Patricia Perez said. She owns El Callejon Lounge.

Bar owners said jobs will be lost because of the ordinance.

City officials claim they conducted research on similar smoking bans. They said the bans actually helped businesses.

Business owners, though, are not sure that will be the case in Brownsville.

Topics: brownsville, smoke, ban, ordinance

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