September 9, 2010 - The law bans cigarettes, cigars and pipe smoking inside public places including restaurants, office buildings, schools, sports arenas, theaters and bus and train stations. The amended Clean Indoor Air Act introduced by state Senator Stewart Greenleaf, as Senate Bill 246 and signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell on June 13, 2008. (Finally Pennsylvania's Smoking Ban Takes Effect Today..)
Directly related news brief: Pennsylvania - September 11th, one year after smoking ban took effect..
Contrary to the fears of some bar-restaurant owners, it doesn’t seem to have caused many smokers to kick their habit of going out to eat or drink. “Business has actually increased because of it, so I can’t complain too much,” said Stephen Weinstock, owner of Stocks on Second in Harrisburg. Jack Hench, owner of Ye Olde Ale House in Hampden Twownship, was one who worried the ban would hurt sales. Yet Hench, a nonsmoker, also realized that cigarette smoke made it impossible to see across his establishment on Friday nights. His customers like it better without the smoke, it turns out. “I would have to say, out of all honesty, it has been better, business-wise,” he said.
State police enforce the ban at eating and drinking establishments. The number of citations and warnings are falling, Capt. Thomas Butler said. Statewide, there were 133 citations and 146 warning letters during the first six months of the year, Butler said. That’s down from 150 citations and 229 warning letters during the last six months of 2009. Those punitive actions are for allowing smoking as well as violating related laws covering such requirements as having proper signage. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is responsible for enforcing the ban at most other sites and has issued nine citations, a spokeswoman said.
On a sad note: Pennsylvania remains the only state in the nation without a tax on smokeless tobacco. It and Florida don't tax cigars.
Reference: Smoking ban hasn't burned eateries, DAVID WENNER, The Patriot-News, 9/7/2010.
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