Smoking Banned in Restaurants

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

The city of Janesville is flexing its muscle against smokers. Starting Friday, a citywide ban will make it illegal for people to smoke in restaurants.

Freeport is looking to continue the clean air movement next month, but the question is, is it right?

It's being called the American Smoke Out, as more and more communities around the country restrict smoking in public places. Freeport is looking to continue the clean air move next month.

Valentine's Day is one of the most profitable days for restaurants across the country, and in Janesville it will now be smoke free.

"We wanted to give residents a place where they don't have to worry about their health," said Tom Brien, Janesville Alderman.

The citywide ban tries to level the playing field for smokers and non-smokers by eliminating second hand smoke, but the ban could also mean the end for restaurant owners.

"I just hope customers return, that's all we can hope for," said Eric Engels, restaurant manager.

This controversy could soon make its way into the stateline area, as the city of Freeport is looking to ban smoking there. It's butting smoker against non-smoker.

Still the question some people ask; is this move toward a smoke free environment in public places an invasion of one rights? A Freeport alderman doesn't believe it is.

"Smokers have a constitutional right to smoke but what about the non smokers rights?" asked Donna Steele, Freeport Alderman - 2nd Ward.

And some restaurant owners are starting to smell the trend of going smoke free and are seeing impressive results.

"After a slow start, business is booming," said Besim Aliu, owner Big Apple restaurant.

Before the ban in Freeport becomes law, it first must pass the city council next month. If approved the only places people will be able to smoke beside their homes will be in motels, bars and private clubs.


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