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10 Years of Clean Air

The New York Clean Indoor Air Act has made a major impact on New York's bar and restaurant patrons and workers alike. 

Carol Chatham spent 40 years of her adult life tending bar. She not only    inhaled smoke from her own cigarets, but second hand smoke from her customers too.

"So it was about five packs a day. Today the workers don't have to do that.  And they have no idea what an impact that's going to be on their life," said Chatham.

Carol knows that first hand having suffered two heart attacks and compromised lungs.

"I'm lucky to be alive," said Chatham.

Although applauding the act because of health concerns, at the time owner of the Number 5 Restaurant Jim McCoy didn't know how this would effect business.

"It was the bar that was our concern. On a Friday and Saturday night, this place would be pretty busy, and there would be a blue haze overhead," said McCoy.

McCoy says it was an adjustment for his smoking customers, but after the first few months it was hardly an issue.

A similar transition just down the road at South Side Yani's.

"Yeah maybe the first few months, it may have effected our business, but I think in the long run, some people cut back on their smoking. Some people stopped smoking. We've picked up on some business because we were smoke free," said Manager of South Side Yanni's George Kermidas.

Not all the restaurants and bars had to make that transition. Whole in the Wall for example has been smoke free since it first opened more than 30 years ago.

"We made a commitment that we wanted to serve not only healthy food, but create a healthy environment," said Senior Partner of Whole in the Wall Eliot Fiks.

Which didn't sit well with anyone wanting to light up.

"People would get upset. We would have guest walking out because what, I can't smoke in here?" said Fiks.

But despite the success from this law smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and kills more than 25,000 New Yorkers a year.

In Binghamton, Kate Thornton, Fox 40 HD News.


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