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A Joplin Business Goes Smoke-Free For Lent - KOAM TV 7

A Joplin Business Goes Smoke-Free For Lent

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Yet another Joplin business considers going smoke free. Though there is no rule requiring businesses to ban smoking, many in Joplin seem to be making the switch. And just this week another business is using the season of "Lent" as an opportunity to test the smoke-free waters.  

"I'm Catholic and so you're always supposed to give up something for lent," said Linda Williams, the owner of Joplin's Club 609. 

Williams says with more and more Joplin businesses going smoke free, she has been struggling with whether 609 should too. And after getting an overwhelmingly positive response on her Facebook page, she decided lent was the perfect opportunity to try it out.
  
"I'm kind of feeling the pressure, so this is a good way to put it out there and test it, to see if it really does make a different in my business," Williams said.

So for the entire 40 days of Lent her business will extend non-smoking hours from open until 10 P.M. Joining the growing number of downtown bars to do so; ranging from Blackthorn, JB's and as of last month--Kitchen Pass.

"We're really excited that businesses have decided to go smoke free," said Krista Stark of Smoke Free Joplin.
 
Smoke Free Joplin is a group that spear-headed an effort to ban all smoking in Joplin businesses back in 2010. But when put to a vote, the City Council struck down the ban by a 5 to 4 margin. She says she hopes the recent initiative of business owners doing it on their own without a city ban, helps to show the want in Joplin.

"We said it would actually improve their business, and the fact that so many businesses are going smoke free now, kind of proves our point," Stark said.
 
Though business owners like Williams say she is hesitant to go completely smoke free because of loyal smoking customers, she does admit smoke has cost her business in the past.

"Different groups of people said they wouldn't come in any longer because of the smoke smell, they're coats smell, they're suits smell," Williams said.
 
And so for now Williams says she plans on sticking to her smoke free until 10 for the entirety of Lent. And if business is affected….

"It's not permanent for Lent, it's just for 40 days you know," Williams said. 
Blackthorn Pizza and Pub in Joplin also had a smoke free trial period for one month before it banned it completely in 2012. And Williams admits that if a smoke free environment helps her business, she too will consider making the change permanent--even after Lent has ended.  
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