Fort Worth

New Fort Worth Law Bans Smoking in Bars, Bingo Parlors

Some bar owners worry it will snuff out their business

Since the Big Apple Cafe opened 26 years ago this week, customers at the Fort Worth far-east side bar have lit up and puffed away.

But suddenly, the bar has no use for its 60 ash trays.

"Well, not anymore, not after today,” said owner Joe Galland, a native New Yorker.

Not after Fort Worth's new law that bans smoking in all bars and bingo parlors went into effect Monday.

"I'm very concerned this could hurt us,” Galland said. “I mean, if you look right now, this is lunch time. We usually have 10-15 people at the bar, all smokers, and we have nobody."

Backers of the law said it's a good thing -- and long overdue.

"You know, I think we're excited just knowing that Fort Worth is one of the last few cities that has adopted smoke-free policies,” said Cameron Anzel, community outreach coordinator for UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Institute.

Anzel also works with the group Smoke-Free Fort Worth which pushed for the new law and planned to celebrate at a smoke-free bar Monday night.

"We know the long-term effects of what second-hand smoke can do, with lungs, heart disease, cancer,” he said. “And so, just really taking a holistic approach and making sure we are protecting people from dangerous second-hand smoke is going to go a long way to improving the health of Fort Worth overall."

At Big Apple, customers can still smoke on the outdoor patio. Non-smokers could become the new clientele.

And Galland, a native New Yorker, sees a future in selling more food.

"Our food is good, and if we can live and breathe by our food sales, more power to us,” he said.

And in the meantime, he needs to figure out what to do with all those ash trays.

"I'll put them up for bid anytime you want,” he joked. “Come and get them, folks. Alright? We've got about 60 ash trays we can give away. Or just come pick them up. A buck a piece? I don't know."

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