MANCHESTER, N.H. - Rather than smoke outside, smokers are joining social clubs not affected by New Hampshire's ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
"We've had people come here just for the smoking," said Tanya Sanborn of the Lafayette Club.
Sanborn said the club has gotten at least 20 new members since the Sept. 17 ban.
Meanwhile, Peter Telge, owner of Milly's Tavern, said he has lost a few customers.
"A lot of my members were telling me I should turn one of my rooms into a private club, because those that aren't going back are turning to private clubs," he said.
Membership at the Lafayette Club costs about $20 a year and a new member needs to be sponsored by a current one. Member Dave Danico said he has had a lot of requests for sponsorship lately.
"I've been sponsored elsewhere, and people are already asking me, and I've been a member for two weeks," Danico said.
But the ban may help both businesses in the end. Telge said he is now seeing tables full of new faces.
"They always say, 'You've got great food. We never came in here because of the smoke,' " Telge said.
Telge said that even some smokers are starting to come back.
"They're all coming back slowly," he said. "They just don't hang out as long."
The businesses can request a designated outdoor smoking area. Customers can bring their drinks with them. If they venture out of the designated area, the businesses can be fined.