WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 13, 2010, 09:07 PM

Some Smokers Claim They Have A Right To Choose

Some people say the Grand Forks City Council shouldn't be able to choose what is best, and some smokers claim their rights are being infringed on.

By: Meagan Millage, WDAZ

A smoke-free Grand Forks is in the near future with the smoking ban lingering around the corner for bars, the bowling alley, and truck stops. But some smokers say their rights are being violated, and businesses fear the ban will take a chunk out of profits.

Smokers I talked with tonight think the Grand Forks City Council is violating their rights and say they won't visit bars as often if they cannot smoke.

The smoking ban goes into effect at midnight Sunday. And bars like the Bun Lounge are putting away their ash trays and putting up mandatory "No Smoking" signs.

But, some smokers say it isn't city council's position to decide what is best for them and they should be able to smoke in bars if they choose to.

One smoker wouldn't tell me his real name but he says he won't visit Grand Forks bars as often as he does now because of the smoking ban.

"People are entitled to their rights and I felt it should have been up to a vote instead of the city council deciding what we should do, because I'm a smoker and I feel my rights are being infringed on," a smoker at Bun Lounge in Grand Forks said.

"Smoking whether you like it or not it's a perfectly legal substance, especially if you're over the age of 18. And I think people should have the right to choose and a bar owner should have the right if they want to be smoke-free or not; It's their choice," Bun Lounge employee Brian Lyons said.

Most bars are planning designated outdoor areas for smokers to light up. But Bun Lounge doesn't have room on their property due to the city ordinance requiring smokers to be 15 feet from the entrance to the building.