Beginning Sept. 1, Houston’s smoking ban for nearly all public places will take effect. Approved by the city council in October, the ban will cover all restaurants and bars whose tobacco sales don’t exceed 20 percent of its gross income.
Some Houston-area bar owners have banded together to file a suit in federal court to stop the ordinance from taking effect, citing that it creates an unbalanced playing field with establishments outside of the city.
Some Houston-area bar and restaurant industry employees, however, support the ban. They feel it will make for a better, cleaner working environment. UH students Chris York and Andrew Spinella have worked in the industry for years, and welcome the change. York, a smoker himself, feels that the ban may even motivate others to kick the habit.
Chris York is a waiter at the Home Plate Bar ‘ Grill, 1800 Texas St.
"I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ve been trying to quit for a while. It’s going to be nice going to the bar and it’s not just a giant smoke cloud," York said.
"I’ve been looking forward to quitting for a while and so maybe this will help out. Generally, it’s going to be better. No one likes to eat their hamburger next to someone who is smoking a cigarette."
Andrew Spinella tends bar at The Mink, 3718 Main St.
"I’m for it. One of the main reasons why is because I don’t smoke, and people will actually come up to the bar just to smoke," Spinella said. "They’ll say, ‘I don’t want to bother my friends at the table.’ So they’ll come up to the bar, and give me their cancer."