Smoking ban burning up local bar

Bars, restaurants and other public places in Chas. Co. to go smoke free Oct. 4th

By Eric

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCIV) -- The public, indoor smoking ban for businesses has gone county-wide in Charleston County.

Tuesday night, county council voted 7-1, to make the ban official.

The new law will ask some smokers to break a habit they may not be ready to quit.

You can read the ordinance in its entirety here.

For more than 20 years, Richard's Bar & Grill on Highway 17 has gone about its business, serving up drinks and a place to smoke. .

"Everybody that comes in here is absolutely fine with that," said Robert Wyndham, a bartender at Richard's.

Because the bar sits in a spot just outside of Mount Pleasant's jurisdiction, Richard's has kept on smoking. Patrons, even employees, say it sets the place apart.

"We have a lot of regulars that probably pass two or three bars on their way here," said Wyndham.

But once the cigarettes burn out, there won't be many lights left. October 4th is the day Richard's will be going smoke free.

"Everybody's comfortable coming here, so why do you call it a free country if you can't do what you want to do, when you want to do it," said bar patron, Thelma Uddin.

Wyndham fears business will take a hit.

"It may hurt us, it could prove to be troublesome," he said.

He says he's confident the ban won't bring in anybody new.

"The people that don't come here because smoking is allowed, they're still not going to come here because you can't smoke in here now," Wyndham said.

The bar's owner recently circulated a petition against the smoking ban.

Wyndham says more than a thousand people signed it with hopes to be able make the choice; to smoke, or not to smoke. According to Richard's, county council was not interested.