smoking ban hurts profits
By Amanda Mears
February 16, 2009 | As 2008 came to close, many Utah
bars found they had no reason to celebrate the new year.
After a ban prohibiting smoking in Utah bars and private
clubs went into effect Jan. 1, several bar owners said
they saw a decline in profits due to the new rules.
"We have noticed that people who do smoke typically
don't stay as long," said Chris Toppleton, who works
for Mulligan's, a private club at 33 Federal Ave.
White Owl owner John Calderwood said the smoking ban
has had both positive and negative effects on the bar,
but would not comment further on the matter.
"I just prefer not to get involved," Calderwood said.
Bars aren't the only ones who are dealing with the
consequences of a smoking ban, however, said Logan resident
"It's harsh," Miller said. "If it's a bar, let me
smoke in it. That's how I feel."
Miller said one of the reasons he has a hard time
justifying the smoking ban is because of the people
who are making the rules.
"It bothers me that a conservative population that
never goes to the bars and 'private clubs' votes on
a issue that will never affect them," Miller said. "They
had smoke-free bars before for people who were bothered
by secondhand smoke and bars where you could smoke for
those who don't care. It's bogus to make every bar a
Grant Gilmore, junior majoring in sociology, agrees
and said what bothers him the most is loss of rights
for private clubs in Utah.
"I personally like smoke-free, but I think this is
an example of the state intruding on the rights of individuals
and businesses," Gilmore said. "If it's a private club,
those types of decisions should be left to the owner,
based on what he/she thinks is in the best interest
of their members and if I want smoke-free, I'll go to
a smoke free club."
For Salt Lake City resident Derek Yates, the smoking
ban could prove to be a positive change in the nightlife
"As a smoker I actually don't mind the bar ban," said
Yates. "I like to smoke inside, but I don't like being
constantly smothered in smoke."
Cari Wheeler, senior majoring in business management,
said she frequents White Owl at least once a week and
for her group of friends, the change has been welcome.
"I go to the Owl to eat, usually, and when I'm there
I don't want to be smelling cigarette smoke the whole
time," said Wheeler. "I'm totally fine with people smoking,
but it was kind of annoying to come home smelling like
smoke all the time."
Although USU students and Logan residents alike say
they have seen a change in the bars' atmosphere, Toppleton
said it is too soon to see if the smoking ban is the
sole cause of a customer decline.
"It's hard to say right now if the smoking ban is
having a large effect because January is typically a
slow month due to the holidays and because the economy
is down," said Toppleton.
For now, Toppleton said the most anyone can do is
just accept the change.
"I just hope everyone gets used to it," Toppleton
said. "[the ban] is everywhere and it's unavoidable."
For Miller, accommodating the new rules will be a
"There's not really a lot I can do about it," he said.
"I just have to deal, but it will take time to get used