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The Journal Gazette

Monday, January 02, 2017 10:01 pm

South Bend begins its ban on smoking in bars

SOUTH BEND – Indiana’s fourth-largest city is becoming the state’s latest community to ban smoking in bars.

The expanded South Bend smoking ban ordinance was approved in March and will take effect today. A state law adopted in 2012 prohibits smoking in most indoor workplaces, including restaurants. But it exempts bars, private clubs and casinos.

Some South Bend bar owners fought the city’s smoking ban. They argued some of their customers will go to nearby Mishawaka or unincorporated parts of St. Joseph County, where smoking in bars will remain legal, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Mike Jolly’s bar Murphy’s Backyard Bar & Grill is a block from Mishawaka. Jolly called South Bend’s ban "stupid" but said he will follow it.

"I don’t think they ought to have the right to dictate small business," Jolly said. "But if I don’t abide by it, they’ll probably pull my city license so I can’t do business in South Bend."

Similar bans on smoking in bars are in place in several other Indiana communities, including its two largest, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. The state Supreme Court in April 2016 rejected a challenge to the Indianapolis ban.

Latorya Greene, community coordinator for Smoke Free St. Joe, said the group recently hand-delivered implementation kits to about 60 bars. The kits include table tents, window stickers and posters with a "Breathe Easy South Bend" logo.

"It’s moving our community in the right direction, protecting all workers from secondhand smoke," Greene said. "I feel they’re definitely capable of doing this."

Ray Mrozinski, who has owned My Place bar in South Bend for 20 years, said he hopes tavern owners will unite in an attempt to reverse the ban.

"It’s going to hurt me a lot," Mrozinski said. "All my customers are smokers and I am, too. Everybody is talking about it every day in here."