EVANSVILLE - Evansville's city-wide smoking ban will take effect Sunday after a judge Friday denied a request from bar and private club owners for an injunction.
The judge's ruling comes as a victory for non-smoking advocates and as a major blow to bar owners. But one group in particular says the decision discriminates against veterans of foreign wars.
Michael Rich fought for his country in Vietnam. He says, "It's not right. I did what they [the army] asked me to do. I should be able to do what I want to do in my own club."
Rich and others think city lawmakers should butt out of what they do in their own VFW Hall.
"I think it's just a bunch of politicians and stuff that don't know what the hell they're talking about. They don't give an [expletive] about our veterans." He continued, "I was in the infantry so we lived off sea rations and every sea ration meal had 4 cigarettes in it and really, that's how I got started smoking."
Rich went as far as saying the ban is "discrimination" because Casino Aztar is exempt from the ban.
Smoke Free Communities of Evansville said in a statement Friday "The real victory today is for the employees that will now be protected from second hand smoke. We will continue to fight for making the casino smoke-free as well."
The commander of the VFW Hall off Pollack Avenue tells Eyewitness News he and other bar and club owners will appeal the judge's decision.