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Bar owner says Minnesota smoking ban put him out of business

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (AP) _ A Detroit Lakes area bar owner is blaming Minnesota's new smoking ban for putting him out of business.

Kent Tweten said he had owned T.F. Boonies south of Detroit Lakes for only a few months and was working to build a customer base when the statewide smoking ban took effect Oct. 1.

Tweten said his "happy hours" were growing when the ban hit, but after that his after-work business shrunk to nothing.

Tweten, a former Moorhead bar owner, said most established bars may be able to hang on -- but he predicts some will have no choice but to close because of the smoking ban.

On Monday, the state Health Department issued a statement saying that the smoking ban, known officially as the Freedom to Breathe law, was being implemented as anticipated.

It said the department had notified 31 businesses that they need to do more to comply with the law, but the department said it had not taken any formal enforcement action.

"We're grateful to Minnesotans for embracing the law and for helping to protect one another from the hazards of secondhand smoke," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan, in a prepared statement.

Magnan said the smoking ban would protect Minnesotans from the health risks of secondhand smoke.