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Philadelphia clubs, bars want smokers back

The City council is studying a request from several bars and gentlemen's clubs to let them allow smoking.
A man smokes in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday.Charles Mostoller

Four Philly bars say they want to be able to serve smokers, claiming that the city's ban on burning tobacco is hurting their profits.

Pyramid Temple No.1, Club Risque Gentleman's Club, Grumpy's bar and Christine Gentleman's Club asked the Council to exempt them from the city's Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law.

"I'm opposed to secondary smoke of any type," City Councilman Dennis O'Brien said at the Health and Human Services Committee meeting Wednesday. "I believe it opens Pandora's Box. This is seven years after the waivers were granted."

Ray Robinson, from thePyramid Temple No.1 private club on Girard Avenue, testified that his club is on the third floor of the brownstone and is separate from the bar and office spaces.

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"The third floor is the only floor where you would encounter second-hand smoke," he said. "Most of us are there because we are cigar smokers and that's something that we enjoy willingly."

James Buehler, the city's health commissioner, said allowing more establishments to "chip away" at the law, which was approved in 2007, would become "detrimental to public health."

When the original bill passed officials allowed for establishments to submit exceptions, and those "Were meant to be a one-time waiver application period for small bars and private clubs. ... it was never meant to be re-opened."

 
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