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Smoking banned in public?

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster Managing editor
The City Council is looking to adopt a Tobacco Free Ordinance for the city of Brewton. The first step is to acquire public input, and that will be handled in a public hearing set for 5 p.m. March 15 at City Hall.
Barton was listed under the agenda as spearheading the smoking ordinance research, which roughly began in November.
According to Tina Findley, a representative from the Department of Health Tobacco and Prevention Control, Jacksonville has become the first city in Alabama to adopt a smoke-free ordinance.
The ordinance would restrict people from smoking in working establishments such as work sites, public facilities, restaurants, etc. In essence, the new ordinance would be better for businesses, Findley said.
The ordinance – likely to be modeled after cities and states who have already adopted a smoke-free zone – will not be a choice ordinance. Prattville and Montgomery operate under a choice ordinance, which means that if an establishment chooses to remain a smoking establishment, they cannot hire or serve anybody under the age of 19.
The City of Auburn recently adopted a smoke-free ordinance that will go into effect in 2007. Findley added that Georgia wants to go tobacco free, as well.
Currently, there are five smoke-free countries and seven smoke-free states. California established a smoke-free ordinance 10 years ago. According to Findley, under most stipulations, patrons must be 40-50 feet away from the establishment.
According to the Toll of Tobacco in Alabama research, nearly 25 percent of high school students in Alabama smoke and nearly 25 percent of adults in Alabama smoke. The report also states that more than 7,000 adults die each year from their own smoking, and 640 to 1,150 adults, children and babies die each year from secondhand smoking.
Findley said that she doesn't think it's fair that 25 percent of the population is the reason most establishments still allow smoking.
In other council news, longtime city attorney Joe Thompson announced his retirement.
Effective March 1, Thompson will no longer be active in Thompson, Garrett and Hines. The new attorney for the city will be Ed Hines, who according to Jennings, has "big shoes to fill."
Moving back into the private sector to be with his family and grandkids, Thompson added "I've enjoyed it every bit" after he received his plaque and handshake from Jennings.
o CDG Engineers &Associates, Inc. from Andalusia was awarded a bid to conduct engineering services for the Industrial Park access.
o Entertainment Management Services, Inc. was awarded a $7, 150 contract to aid in the sound lights and providing a stage with a roof for the New Year's Eve party.