Pa.’s smoking ban hits two-year mark

    Pennsylvania’s indoor smoking ban is 2-years-old this week. WHYY checks-in on the promise and predictions about the law.

    Pennsylvania’s indoor smoking ban is 2-years-old this week. WHYY checks-in on the promise and predictions about the law.

    The ban was pitched as a protection for workers exposed to secondhand smoke, but it is still not clear yet, if the prohibition has improved health in the Commonwealth.

    Studies on the health and economic fallout from the ban are not complete yet, but some restaurant managers say offering a smoke-free environment has actually won them new customers.

    Business is also better for some bars that received an exemption, such as Manoa Tavern.

    Jen Vandever says the sports bar in Havertown, Delaware County offers what nearby restaurants can’t. It’s a draw for customers who want to enjoy a beer and cigarette at the same time.

    Vandever: The restaurants can’t have smoking in their areas, so it has helped us. Me as a person with asthma, I don’t like it, but for business-wise, it’s excellent.

    Pennsylvania’s rule outlaws smoking in most workplaces. But different from some states, the Commonwealth gives an exemption to businesses that earn less than 20 percent of sales from food.

    Two years in, some smoking opponents still are not satisfied.

    Deborah Brown leads the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the American Lung Association. She says too many employees are still exposed to smoke-fouled environments.

    Brown: Some bars, some restaurants have exemptions so we need to continue working until everyone is fully protected by the law.

    Pennsylvania’s exemption rule also allows smoking in private clubs and some hotel rooms.

    The ban’s prime sponsor in Harrisburg has tried to expand the law, but Brown says the bill has not gotten much notice, or movement from the legislature.

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