Robbie Robinson sits outside the Popular Bar for a smoke break Thursday afternoon. Robinson said he thinks the statewide smoking ban in buildings is "the government taking away our rights."

Photo by David Pressgrove

Robbie Robinson sits outside the Popular Bar for a smoke break Thursday afternoon. Robinson said he thinks the statewide smoking ban in buildings is "the government taking away our rights."

Thank you for smoking - outside

Smokers weigh in on indoor ban

Renee Turner and Christy Raymond find their little corner outside Village Inn for a post-meal smoke quite comfortable.

"It's not really a hassle at all being outside," Turner said. "We are covered from the elements, and we get to meet people."

In July 2006, a Colorado state law went into effect banning smoking indoors. Turner and Raymond moved their post-meal smoke outside and don't mind the change.

"We were sort of already separated because of smoking and non-smoking areas," Raymond said. "It's actually kind of weird now when we go to places that allow smoking out-of-state."

Village Inn's outside smoking area is covered from rain and wind as well as wind from the west and the north.

"I don't want to put my smoking on people who don't smoke," Turner said. "We met a guy who came out last week and said something like, 'Is this where the bad people hang out?' But he was just joking. I don't feel discriminated against."

Chris Runyan agrees that smoking banned at restaurants is fair, but she has a problem with the rest of the ban.

"At other places, I think it takes away from the experience or atmosphere," she said.

Runyan works at the Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, bowls in two leagues and is a smoker.

"We have to catch a quick smoke in between games," she said. "Sometimes in the league, we have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for people to go out and come back in for a smoke."

Thunder Rolls opened in October 2005, nine months before the law took effect. The owners had the lounge of the facility built to filter cigarette smoke and circulate the air.

"We built our building to be smoker friendly," co-owner Bueryl Dschaak said. "We got a lot of complaints from people about having to leave the building to smoke. I think the biggest complaint is that it wasn't put to a vote, it was just passed."

Runyan gave money to a Colorado coalition to fight the passage of the bill, but "it didn't do any good," she said.

She said she gave money because she believes the law is discrimination.

"It was supposed to protect the people who don't smoke," she said. "But they could find a job somewhere else if they didn't want to work with smokers."

Robbie Robinson didn't buy the second-hand reasoning either.

"The exhaust pipe over there puts out 100 times the fumes I put out with a cigarette," he said during a smoke break outside the Popular Bar. "A good beer needs a good cigarette. I think we've had our rights taken away."

Robinson also argued that there already were smoke-less bars in Craig.

"There were three bars in Craig that didn't allow smoking," he said. "People had the choice where they went. Now the only people without a choice are smokers."

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