December 29, 1997 in Nation/World

Smoking Ban Nears In California Bars

Compiled From Wire Services

On New Year’s Eve, there will be two “last calls” at most California bars - one for drinkers, the other for smokers.

“It will be ‘Happy New Year - put out your cigarettes,”’ said Bob McNeil, manager of Plainfield Station, a bar and grill outside this Sacramento suburb. “I think we all might be having that last cigarette right at 11:55 p.m.”

On Jan. 1, California will become the first state in the nation to ban smoking in most bars and gambling casinos.

Health groups and labor leaders say it will protect employees and customers, but some bar owners are worried that it will cripple their businesses.

“My smoking customers are quite upset about it because the bar environment was the last place where they were allowed to indulge in their bad habit in a social setting,” said Kathleen Harrington, who owns Harrington’s Bar and Grill in San Francisco with her husband.

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