Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 9:57 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 9:57 PM EDT
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Potential changes for Vigo County bars and private clubs could mean more smoke free-businesses.
As of July 1st all of Vigo County will be smoke-free and some local bars are fighting to stay smoking.
But Tom Hellmann owner of 7th and Elm Bar and Grille says clean air is good for his Terre Haute business.
"When we first opened that was one of the positive comments we heard from customers we have a few that would go outside sit on the patio to smoke but by enlarge most customers felt good about being in a smoke free environment, their clothes didn't smell when they went home and they just didn't have that worry,” said Hellmann.
Hellmann says from the start 7th and Elm Bar and Grille was a smoke-free establishment.
A decision Hellmann and his co-owners made for the benefit of their customers, a choice that also benefitted business.
Mattea Garcia, a new customer to 7th and Elm says "You smell bad when you walk out, your food taste different because smoke changes the taste of food so it’s so much nicer when there's no smoking."
The reason Vigo County chose to go smoke-free was to help with competition between city and county businesses.
Joni Foulkes, an Administrator with the Vigo County Health Department says, "We just want to make sure that all businesses that have to adhere to the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance are on the same playing field and that none of them have an economic advantage over another."
For Hellman the change could take business away but that's something he's not worried about.
"As other places become smoke free perhaps I'll lose a customer or two that can now go some place else and be in that environment. I appreciate the city taking a stand, we will be a healthy place to live in and be entertained in, it’s worth taking that risk,” said Hellman.
According to the Vigo County Health Department, Vigo County is already 98-percent smoke-free.
But with changes to the county's Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, the county hopes to provide a clean atmosphere everywhere in the county.
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