Smoke Damage?

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

For Irish Waters Tavern, the no smoking sign is above the door, and ashtrays no longer linger. But this pub, barely within Madison's city limits, could be at a competitive disadvantage.

"Some of our smoking customers have said goodbye," says owner Chris Cambion.

NBC 15 talked to another restaurant also on the fringe, but in their case they are two streets away from enforcing the new rule.

Jason Riewe, the General Manager at the Nitty Gritty, says, "maybe a few people will stop out that are upset with the new smoking ban."

Just down the street another Middleton bar is banking on those kind of customers. They are passing out free cigarettes with a freedom flag attached, and soon they'll offer a "smoking shuttle" from downtown Madison right up to their bar.

"We've been getting calls, we've been getting e-mails," tells Ross Johson, owner of Club Tavern. "Some people like the idea because they think it is funny. Others think it promotes smoking and smoking is evil."

While it is a subject that sparks debate, on this day bar owners are more concerned with the subject of sales.

"If you are just a little ways a way from Blooming Grove or if you are just a block from Dunn, and you owned a Madison tavern... I'd be very upset," says Johnson.

"I can't say I'm not worried about sales. You can ask me that question in three months and I'll let you know," says Cambion.

Madison city health inspectors will be checking in on businesses, and if bar owners or patrons are caught violating the smoking ban they could face fines anywhere from $100 to more than $500.


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