Bar owner sues Charleston County over smoking ban

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- The owner of a Mount Pleasant bar is suing Charleston County over a ban on smoking that went into effect Thursday.

Richard Ruth runs Richard's Bar on U.S. 17 in Mount Pleasant.

In court documents filed Sept. 27, Ruth argues the recently passed smoking ban in unincorporated parts of Charleston County will "cause great and irreparable harm."

Court documents also say the smoking ban "disenfranchise(s) our customers."

The lawsuit asks a judge for three things:

  • a temporary restraining order "restraining defendant from smoking ban"
  • a preliminary injunction that would stop officials from enforcing the ban and
  • that the "...defendant be permanently enjoined from the smoking ban."
  • Ruth pays more than $3,000 to lease the bar and he argues in court documents the loss of business caused by the smoking ban would cause him to miss payments.

    The 57-page court filing quotes politicians and argues that business owners should be able to run their businesses as they see fit, without government intrusion.

    Ruth said Thursday he believes secondhand smoke is "not that toxic" and urged Charleston County government officials to let him run his business.

    "They need to get the five-gallon bucket off their heads and see the whole picture," Ruth said. "I don't have a problem with smoking."