Casper City Council listened to area entrepreneurs Tuesday night regarding the consequences of the city’s recently established public indoor smoking ban.

All six business owners that spoke in front of council Tuesday – five of whom say they're affiliated with the hospitality industry – say bottom lines have been negatively impacted since the ban went into effect last September.

Hospitality mogul Pat Sweeney owns several properties in Casper, including Poor Boys Steakhouse and the Parkway Plaza Hotel. Sweeney says many once-thriving Casper businesses are now struggling beneath the weight of the ban.

Sweeney also says multiple smoker-friendly establishments in Evansville and Mills have taken a chunk of his market share.

“This (ban) has had a negative impact on businesses,” Sweeney said. “We don’t see the harm in rescinding and going back to the way it was.”

Moonlight Liquors and Lounge owner Al Curtis says his business has experienced a noticeable downturn since the smoking ban went into effect. Curtis also says the previous council was shortsighted when it passed the ban in June of 2012.

“I do not believe the previous council considered all consequences (when it) passed a smoke-free law in Casper alone,” Curtis said in a prepared statement to council. “The towns of Evansville, Mills and Bar Nunn have not passed any ban on smoking, and this puts our businesses in Casper in an unfair position in a true free enterprise system.”

Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says council will schedule a special work session at a later date to revisit the ban.

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