HUNTINGTON — Cabell Circuit Judge Jane Hustead has ruled that the smoking ban that affects Cabell County bars and video lottery parlors will go into effect immediately.
Hustead initially said Thursday’s hearing was to decide whether the temporary injunction should remain intact or not.
Gary Stanley, who owns Gary’s Place on 10th Avenue in Huntington, said the smoking ban will put him out of business.
“The members of my nightclub have told me if they can’t smoke in the building, they won’t go there anymore,” Stanley said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Denise “Cricket” Hudson, owner of Cricket’s Too, also said she will be out of business.
“Wayne County is only about one mile from my bar, and they don’t have a smoking ban, so my customers will all just drive to Wayne County where they can sit and smoke and be comfortable,” Hudson said.
Phyllis Hitchcock, owner of Same Old Place, said her customers want to be able to enjoy themselves. And for some, that means smoking.
“We all know smoking isn’t healthy,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve all seen the warning labels on cigarettes. But, if someone wanted to be healthy, they’d go to the gym, not the bar. They go to the bar to enjoy themselves and be comfortable.”
The bar owners said their patrons are old enough to make a decision as to whether or not they want to go into a bar or not.
“We’re adults and should be able to make that decision ourselves,” Hitchcock said. “Restaurants are one thing because kids go there, but kids aren’t allowed in bars, only adults.”
Dr. Harry Tweel, Director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, said the health department is looking out for the health of the people.
“The obligation of the Board of Health is to prevent disease,” Tweel said. “Smoking is the most preventable cause of mortality in the United States.”
The ban will go into effect immediately and the health department will begin notifying businesses.