Pulse: Affairs: Smoke & Cleaners

When City Council took up a ban on smoking in public places, we heard plenty from tavern owners as they showed their lobbying clout at City Hall. But we wondered about another local industry with a vested interest in keeping Philadelphians smelling like ­tobacco: Where was Big Dry Cleaning?

The Pennsylvania and Delaware Cleaners Association sat out the debate — as did its counterpart in New York when that city imposed a similar ban two years ago. Since then, business has suffered a three percent drop-off due to the dearth of secondhand smoke odors, estimates Madame Lioret Cleaners in Manhattan. A 2002 study by the International Fabricare Institute concluded that “the most important reasons cited for getting a garment dry-cleaned were to remove odors.”