Paducah restaurant owner may close due to smoking ban

Paducah restaurant owner may close due to smoking ban
By: Erica Byfield

PADUCAH, Ky. - Time's just about up, smokers in Paducah will soon have to snuff out their cigarettes. The city-wide public place smoking ban goes into effect April first.  It allows smoking in retail tobacco stores and warehouses, plus places operated by private organizations.

We talked with a man who says the ban may make him close the family business after 70 years. It's pretty clear; Don Barnes qualifies as a regular. Barnes normally sits in the same seat here at Paducah's Kountry Kastle and orders the same thing. "I like the hot tamale chili and the chilly dogs; I usually eat about one a day" said Barnes.

Although he's not smoker, over the years Barnes says he's gotten used to other people lighting up in here "it doesn't bother me."
But Kountry Kastle's owner Max Edwards is bothered by the smoking ban that hits his town April first "they're telling me how to run my business but they aren't paying my bills" he said. 

The Kountry Kastles' has been in Edward's family since 1939 and even months after the city commission voted for the ban it still bothers him.  In fact, he's afraid it will cut into his bottom line forcing him to close. "I won't know that until after April first, it will take me at least a week, 2, 3, a month to know for sure" said Edwards.

Meanwhile, Paducah City Commissioner Robert Coleman tells me the city passed the ban in public places to protect the health of customers like these. "We don't want anyone to go out of business, it's not what we think that means anything, it's a proven fact smoking is detrimental to a person's health" said Coleman.

Don Barnes says even after the ban goes into effect, he'll stop in for his chilly dog and he hopes the other customers who smoke will do the same.
Owner Max Edwards adds he is looking into adding a smoking garden outside his restaurant.