When customers enter a restaurant, they usually get to choose whether to sit in a smoking or non-smoking section. But at the new Burger-Burger Restaurant in Biloxi, customers don't have to decide. The restaurant is one of several on the Coast with a no-smoking policy.
Owner Neal Miller says it seems to be the national trend and he decided to keep up with it. He also says there's not enough space in the building for both a smoking and a non-smoking area, so he decided to do away with smoking altogether.
Jane Dietz owns seven McDonald's restaurants on the Coast. She decided to keep four of those restaurants smoke-free, partly for health reasons. Dietz says a lot of people want non-smoking environments and it's also in the best interest of the employees who have to work in the environment all the time.
Customers have mixed views on the voluntary tobacco ban. Marilyn Ledbetter is a smoker. She says the ban doesn't bother her because she's in the restaurant for only about 35 minutes and she can go without a cigarette during that time. Bessie Carron says she's also satisfied with the ban because she's a non-smoker and smoke bothers her sinuses.
Keith Buck has a different opinion. He says he likes to enjoy his meal and then have a cigarette afterward. Buck just returned from California where there is statewide ban on smoking in public places, like restaurants. He says he felt like his rights were infringed upon.
That's why most restaurants will continue to offer smoking sections to customers who like to light-up during their meal. But for those who don't want to smell cigarette smoke with their food, they now have a choice.