[West Virginia] VIDEO: Another private club bans indoor smoking in Putnam County

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Another private club in Putnam County is banning smoking indoors.

Valerie Street owns EZ Street on Winfield Road. She says the new year will bring new changes to her business. Starting Jan. 1, EZ Street will ban smokers from lighting up inside the bar area.

“I think with people making New Year’s resolutions, one of the large resolutions is quitting smoking,” Street said. “And I think that choosing January first to make it non-smoking will help encourage them and help everybody to create a healthier lifestyle for everyone. I think everybody will see a really great change, and were actually going to go and create a better menu, a bigger menu and go after the lunch crowds.”

Ironically, Street says it was some of the smokers themselves at her bar who encouraged her to put in a smoking ban. EZ Street will still offer an area for smokers. Street says the bar has a patio with fire pits and heaters.

“I think some people may have an issue with it,” Street said, “but I think in the end, everyone is going to be happy with the change.”

EZ Street is just the latest bar in Putnam County to ban smoking.

“We did August first,” Peggy Deweese, owner of Riverside Cafe said. “It wasn’t a very popular decision, but we did it anyway.”

Deweese admits the smoking ban affected her business in Winfield at first, but then things started to change.

“Our food business has increased, and we have a lot more customers coming in now that are non-smokers,” Deweese said. “They’re coming in to enjoy our menu now. They know they can come in and enjoy a nice meal and not have to walk out smelling like a cigarette.”

Street hopes other bar owners in Putnam County will follow in this healthier trend.

“I really hope all of the bars around us can jump on board with this,” Street said. “I think everyone around us will be happier, and I think it’s time to go into the 21st century. I think smoking is just an old fashioned thing to do inside.”

Unlike other counties in West Virginia, Putnam County health officials allow private club owners to decide if they want to allow smoking in their establishments.