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South Dakota Goes Smoke Free

November 3, 2010, 6:00 PM by Kelli Grant

South Dakota Goes Smoke Free
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Nearly 100,000 votes separated the no's from the yes's. Tuesday night, South Dakotans overwhelmingly decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

While that's good news for smoke-free supporters, some worry about their businesses, saying they'll lose money because smokers will have no where to go.

In just one week, on November 10, you'll no longer be able to smoke in bars like Shenanigans in Sioux Falls. And owner Don Rose says he's concerned about enforcing it.

“I'm not calling the police, absolutely not. That's not my job. It doesn't say that in the law that I have to enforce it. I just have to tell the people, 'You are not allowed to smoke here,'” Rose said.

Rose says in the next few days, no smoking signs will replace ashtrays and he says his business will likely suffer.

“It's a disappointment to lose this because we worked hard and people still don't believe that is going to hurt us revenue wise. And so hopefully it doesn't,” Rose said.

Even though he's disappointed, Rose says the state did accomplish one thing: the public was allowed to make the decision.

Those who support the ban say it's time for South Dakota to catch up to smoke-free states across the country.

“To go into a restaurant or a lounge and to not have to deal with the smoke and people sitting there puffing their cigarettes in your face is gone.  It's a totally different thing,” Registered Nurse and Smoke Free supporter Deb Fischer-Clemens said.

Fischer-Clemens doesn't believe the ban will affect businesses long-term; rather, it could increase the number of people heading out.

“I think we've seen in other states that initially they may see a drop in business but that it actually comes back. And I think the businesses in South Dakota that have gone smoke free already have seen just exactly that. Business has picked up,” Fischer-Clemens said.

In the meantime, Rose plans to build an outdoor patio for smokers and says those against the ban haven't given up yet.

“You know, we could go to the legislature and say, 'Look our revenue is gonna be down or it is down,' once we have those facts in our hand,” Rose said.

Again, the smoking ban in South Dakota goes into effect Wednesday, November 10. You'll no longer be able to smoke in bars, Deadwood Casinos, video lottery establishments or restaurants.

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