This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 14, 2008 - They say people can get used to anything, and a smoking ban is no exception.
The Smoke Free Illinois Act has been in effect for eight months, and by all accounts the effects have been mixed. Casino operators claim a 17 percent loss in revenue since the ban went into effect, but, in general, concerns that the law would drive tavern keepers out of business have not panned out. The regulars have not picked up their smokes and fled to Missouri pubs, nor opted to drink at home alone. Instead, they have moved outdoors -- at least 15 feet outdoors, according to the new law. Metro East biergartens have turned into zigarettengartens, now virtually off-limits to patrons unwilling to breathe in great clouds of second-hand smoke.