Lodge bans smoking, sees membership surge

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 4:41 pm | Updated: 9:14 pm, Mon Sep 23, 2013.

VENICE, Fla. - Toni Schaberick has tended bar at Venice Moose Lodge 1308 for quite a while.

"Long time," said Schaberick, "six and a half years."

She's also a smoker. So when she heard the lodge, the kind of place known for attracting smokers, was going to become smoke-free, she was skeptical.

"It's mixed feelings for me, because when I go out, having a drink, I like to be able to smoke at the bar," said Schaberick."

She admits though, the ban has made for a more enjoyable place to work; and the customers don't seem to mind it either.

"They love it," said Schaberick, "and I don't blame them there I don't like smoke when I'm eating either."

In fact, lodge leaders say their membership has exploded since passing the ban. They're now at more than 4,000 members.

"I think what it's done is attract more of the non-smoking population which is ever increasing in our area of course," said current lodge governor Gil Nalley.

Not just in the area, but across the whole country. Data from the CDC shows that in 2012, the number of smokers fell from twenty-eight percent of the population to twenty-three percent.

"I think it's definitely the trend in terms of health...the trend of non-smoking and I think this dovetails right into that trend," said Nalley.

The lodge still keeps a smoking section on a connected patio, but says more members are joining because there's less smoke.

"I had seven couples that wouldn't join," said member "Junie" Fontana, "the minute we went non-smoking, all seven couples joined."

And as the number of smokers continues to fall, some say so to will the number of establishments offering a place to light up.

"I wouldn't doubt very shortly that all the lodges are going to go non-smoking," said Fontana.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • compassion posted at 3:40 pm on Tue, Aug 27, 2013.

    compassion Posts: 1

    I bet all establishments would see an increase in customers, but some smokers make up every excuse they can to pretend it isn't true. It is so hard to bust through that level of addiction.

  • nadine posted at 1:12 am on Tue, Aug 27, 2013.

    nadine Posts: 1

    "So too" Please and thanks!

  • Bobby O posted at 9:45 pm on Mon, Aug 26, 2013.

    Bobby O Posts: 2

    I wish they would ban smoking in all bars, like they have done in many states around the country. it's truly time to do that. As a non-smoking DJ it would be better my health and the health of my equipment. When they banned smoking in NY bars, business suffered for a couple of months, but then business BOOMED in all the bars because the smokers weren't going to spend all their lives at home, and now the non-smokers could go out without going home stinking like smoke and hacking for two days. COME ON FLORIDA!!!! WISE UP!!!! BAN SMOKING IN ALL BARS!!!!


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