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Swanick Holds Hearing on Smoking Ban Waivers

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Bar owners, bingo operators and billiard hall owners say their businesses are hurting from the state's new no smoking law. Many appeared Friday morning at ECC's North Campus.

County Legislator Charles Swanick is seeking input on what should be included in an exemption policy for some businesses that would allow smoking. Dennis Coulter, owner of Touch of Class Billiards in Blasdell, says the waiver should be kept simple for business that need smoking to survive.

"In my billiard room, there would be smoking and you would enter at your own risk," Coulter said. "If you want to have a non-smoking billiard room, have one. Open it up next door. But I guarantee you that you will not be in business next year."

The waivers, based on financial hardship, would allow smoking in some businesses.

Swanick says County Health Commissioner Anthony Billitier is trying to put together the exemption policy, but he remains torn between the public health issue and struggling area businesses.

The County Health Department must submit a waiver policy by January 23rd.