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Bar Owner Claims Business Slow on First Day of Smoke Ban

The city-wide smoking ban went into effect on Saturday. A St. Joseph bar owner complained about the financial impact.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Bright, orange cones were placed 15 feet away from Peterman's Shamrock in St. Joseph. That's how far, away from a building, smokers now have to stand if they want to light one up.

On a day where business is usually booming at the bar, things were a lot slower.

Owner, Stephen Peterman, thinks that's because the smoking ban went into effect on Saturday.

"Usually it is standing room only by noon, because everybody tries to get here early to get a seat," he said.

"It's dead. I mean, there's hardly anybody here," said Scott Vanover, who is against the smoking ban.

Signs that read: "sorry no smoking" were posted on the front door and throughout the bar. Instead of multiple ashtrays on tables, there was one, big bucket outside on the street.

"You can feel the breeze by the cars. It's like, really? Someone's going to get clocked out there," Vanover said.

"I've been almost hit twice already," said Peterman.

Peterman says although the smoking ban just took place, he already feels an economical impact.

"Bartenders will usually make $100 to $125 in tips alone, and today, she'll be lucky if she makes $50," he said.

If the trend continues, he says he'll have to fire some employees. But for now, Peterman, and others, will comply with the smoking ban.

"Came in today, saw the sign, and said, 'aw, man. Really?'" said Vanover.

His lawsuit against the City of St. Joseph, and the ban
, heads to court again in July.

Peterman is optimistic that things will go back to the way they are used to.

"We will eventually win it. Just a matter of how long it will take," he said.

City Council members will vote to change the distance people can smoke next to a building from 15 feet to 5 feet.

That is scheduled for the next meeting on June 9.

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