Brock Mitchell smokes outside Quenchers in Logan Square. (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
Come rain, cold, sleet or snow, smokers will find a way.
With the 5-year anniversary of Chicago's indoor smoking ban coming Jan. 1, bartenders say they've seen little change in smokers stepping outside.
"If people can afford the $10, they are going to kick out the extra $2," said bartender Giuseppe Cesolini, 30, of Hermosa. From his view behind the bar at Quenchers, he's seen little change in the amount of smokers. The same people still put the coaster on top of their beers and step into the bar's beer garden for a break.
There are ways around the high prices, and people are catching on, said Josh Patterson, 32, of Humboldt Park, and also a bartender at Quenchers.
"They will order them online from overseas, go to little shops that don't tax, get them from Indiana," he said, also adding that he's seen more people rolling their own cigarettes to save.
A smoker himself, he'd actually planned to quit Tuesday, but lapsed right back. Two other bartenders successfully kicked the habit, and he said he would still like to as well, mostly for health reasons.
"[The tax hike] is fine with me, I'm trying to quit anyway, but it's a small motivation for me," he said.
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