Smoking Ban Passes; East Texans React

A monumental decision in Tyler the comprehensive smoking ban passes. The law takes affect June 1st, and all public places including bars and restaurants will be smoke free. Smokers must be 20 feet away from the front or back door and smoking patios must be open air, with no roof, and still be past the 20 foot threshold.

At the packed council meeting, most of the people were in favor of it.

"We took on a very important, very difficult issue. And made a difficult decision here today to go forward and to be sure that the public health and safety is protected," said Nathaniel Moran City Council Member and Task Force Chair, "Even though we recognize it is some degree intrusion into lives and businesses."

The city council was unanimous in passing the ban. So, what happens now with East Texas smokers and the businesses they frequent, now going smoke free?

"You try to eat and enjoy your meal and you got smoke and it's that nasty smell on your clothes and food," said Michelle Wister who is happy the smoking ban passed.

Many smokers say they don't think it was necessary Michelle Wister non-smoker.

"I really don't think people should be able to tell us where we can and can't smoke," said James Brucher of Tyler, "If they are going to cut it out they are going to hurt these businesses that people are going to come to smoke at."

That's one reason Jennifer Reed, a waitress at Texas Roadhouse is worried.

"Our smoking sections make far more money than our other sections so that is affecting my income," said Reed, "Smokers always tip more because they are more comfortable in their environment and they enjoy their meal more."

But at the future home of Coyote Sam's a bit of a different story. Owner Sam Wells has spent the past six years trying to be all things to all people.

"I built it to be divided up to different rooms, in the design of it I have five different eating areas," said Wells, "One area smoking that has it's own patio and eating area."

And in each room, it's own air conditioning. One of many attempts to make the two separate sections, separate.

"Spent $30,000 extra for the smoking non smoking separation," said Wells, "Now it is going to be all non smoking and that is fine by me."

Some say it's a sign of the times,and clearly Tyler's time was today.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.