‘If you don’t smoke, don’t come in’
September 2, 2005
AVON – As far as Ellie Lindtvit is concerned, non-smokers already have plenty of options.Lindtvit, who was behind the bar at the Brass Parrot in Avon Wednesday afternoon, is a smoker herself. So were most of the handful of patrons in the bar. None of them thought much of a proposal that could ban smoking in Eagle County, but not its towns.”Paddy’s, Beaver Creek and all of Edwards is already non-smoking,” Lindtvit said. “I don’t think they have the right to tell us what to do.””I don’t think there’s enough places where you can smoke,” added Eagle resident LaToya Vining. “There’s a lot of smokers here.”
Over a plate of wings, Amy Hunter said she prefers non-smoking bars and restaurants.”As a non-smoker, I wish they were all non-smoking,” she said. “When I visit California and New York, it’s really nice not having smoke in the restaurants. But I think bar owners should be able to choose.””Choice” came up a lot among the small group of regulars.”I choose to come in here because of the company,” Hunter said.And, as far as regular Michael Schlicht is concerned, non-smokers can easily choose non-smoking establishments. “If you don’t smoke, don’t come in,” he said.
Smoking-ban debates in Denver and other cities have focused, in part, on the health of those who work in bars and restaurants. In the Vail Valley, Lindtvit said that’s not a problem.”There are way more non-smoking than smoking places,” she said. “If I wanted to work in a non-smoking place, I could.”But the comments of the Brass Parrot customers seemed to confirm one Eagle-Vail restaurant owner’s fears. In an interview earlier in the week, Ralph Dockery, owner of Paddy’s Sports Bar and Grill, said he’s afraid he’d lose customers if Eagle-Vail was non-smoking and Avon wasn’t. Paddy’s allows smoking in the bar after 9:30 p.m.
“After we went non-smoking around Christmas of 2003, our bar sales dropped, and we attribute it directly to smoking,” Dockery said.In Novembers, voters can’t pass a smoking ban but they can give the Board of County Commissioners permission to enact a law that would only affect unincorporated areas like Edwards, Eagle-Vail and Beaver Creek. When a similar law passed in Summit County, each of its towns also enacted smoking bans. “I know a lot of people who come here because they can smoke,” Hunter said.And the smokers who come seem to find some comfort in a place where they can order a cold one and light up.”This is our own little haven,” Schlicht said.
Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado