Restaurants Get On Board With Texas Smoking Ban

Owners say statewide law would eliminate confusion.

A potential statewide ban on indoor smoking is finding new support -- from North Texas restaurants.

Restaurant owners say a statewide ban would simplify confusion over the patchwork of different local ordinances.

Jerry Walker, president of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, lobbied lawmakers in Austin for a statewide law.

"When you can go to one city and have another set of rules in another city, it does affect business," he said.

Gov. Rick Perry opposes to a statewide ban, but Texas lawmakers are considering one.

Restaurant owners have been adapting to keep smoking customers while still complying with all the different rules across North Texas.

Smoking customers used to enjoy the bar at Dunston's Steakhouse, until restaurant smoking was forbidden in Dallas five years ago.

"You couldn't smoke in the restaurant or in bars, but you could smoke on patios, so I built a patio," owner Gene Dunston said.

But Dunston was initially confused about whether smoking on his patio would be outlawed under the city's latest measure, which will be enforced starting in April.

At a city forum Tuesday, Dunston learned his patio is fine. Smoking in standalone Dallas bars and pool halls is now off-limits, but is still allowed in some neighboring cities.

"I have a restaurant on Lovers Lane that's a few blocks from University Park," Dunston said. "They can leave there and go and smoke."

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