Smokefree Natrona County Says it Will Fight to Keep Smoking Ban in Place
A Casper-based anti-smoking organization says it’s upset with Casper City Council’s recent decision to reevaluate the city’s months-old public indoor smoking ban.
Some Casper entrepreneurs say revenues at multiple Casper businesses have been down significantly since the city enacted the ban last September.
Smokefree Natrona County spokesperson Anna Edwards says, though the ordinance is likely playing a role, other factors – like the recent influx of new restaurants and bars into the area – could be causing the downturn.
“I don’t know the economics, so I can’t speak specifically to that, but I think there are a lot of other things going on in the community,” Edwards said. “There are a number of new businesses that have opened … that could be contributing to that effect.”
Edwards says, historically, a temporary economic downturn is common for other cities and towns that have enacted similar ordinances. However, Edwards also says most affected businesses tend to rebound.
“Generally, in other places that have passed smoke free bans, it has taken them about six to eight months to recover, so the jury is still out as to whether the downturn is long-term or if it’ll turn around,” Edwards said.
Six Casper entrepreneurs in the service and manufacturing industries spoke against the ban at Casper City Council’s Tuesday work session. All six business owners said that, with multiple smoker-friendly establishments and no public indoor smoking ban in nearby Mills and Evansville, revenues have been down sharply since Casper’s ban was enacted on Sept. 1, 2012.
Smokefree Natrona County lobbied in favor of the ban throughout 2011 and 2012, citing growing public health and safety concerns.