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Crackdown on Restaurant Smoking Gets Results


Some Long Beach business owners who openly defied the city's new no-smoking ordinance have begun to comply after health inspectors made several visits to their facilities, according to city documents.

Health inspectors visited five businesses in late July and reported that three have begun to comply with the ordinance. The health department will visit two more businesses in the near future, said Judy Ross, who is in charge of enforcing the ban for the health department.

Managers at the establishments said they are begrudgingly cooperating to avoid prosecution. Violators can be fined up to $50 for the first offense.

"We had to give in because we don't want to pay all those fines," said Lois Johnson, manager of the Twin Wheels Steak House on the city's west side.

Sophia Riley, who owns Huff's Coffee Shop on Wardlow Road, said she has complied and has launched a campaign touting Huff's as a smoke-free restaurant.

Managers at Java Lanes bowling alley, who estimated that business has declined 25%, said they have complied with the ban to appease health inspectors.

Two establishments visited by inspectors, the Prospector Family Restaurant on Anaheim Street and Loof's Amusements, a downtown game parlor, continue to violate the law by allowing customers to smoke, city documents show.

Jose-Luis Lemus, the Prospector's owner, said he would rather pay a $50 fine than lose between $300 and $400 a day by banning smoking. "If they receive one more complaint on me they will refer me to the prosecutor," Lemus said.

Loof's has started to limit smoking, and plans to eliminate it completely within a week, said Al Brown, the manager.

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