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Residents in favor of smoke-free law

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster- Managing Editor
Exactly 44 residents showed up at Brewton City Hall Tuesday night for the public hearing regarding a Tobacco Free Ordinance council members are looking to adopt for the City of Brewton.
The public hearing began roughly around 5 p.m. and lasted approximately 15 minutes. Rain had just begun to fall prior to the meeting.
City Clerk John Angel addressed the audience with welcoming remarks and emphasized there would be no decision made during the hearing. The forum was to hear public input on whether the city should or should not adopt a smoke-free ordinance.
According to Councilwoman Ann Marie Sasser, three people signed up to speak at the public hearing. Two people who signed up were for the ordinance and one was against.
C.W. Moye was the first resident to speak and opposed the Tobacco Free Ordinance. He said he was speaking on behalf of 1,407 people who had signed a petition saying they were against the ordinance.
Moye's opinion was that it is up to store owner to decide whether they want to become smoke-free or not. He added that if the ordinance was passed he would take it further than the city council.
Tina Findley, speaking on behalf of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free County, spoke for the ordinance.
She went on to say that only 25 percent of Alabamians smoke. The remaining 75 percent should not be punished because of a small group's actions, she said.
Ruth Harrell, speaking on behalf of the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County, echoed Findley's sentiments.
Sasser asked if any remaining audience members would like to add to the forum and several residents spoke on obtaining a smoke-free ordinance.
Dr. Isabel Villarreal said the ordinance should be adopted in order to set a good example for the younger residents in the community.
Margie Ingram, whose two children are patients of Dr. Villareal, agreed with the doctor.
Dr. Dan Raulerson, the county medical examiner and former asthmatic, recalled a time as a child when his asthma was so terrible he would often talk to God.
Council members Sasser, Cary Barton and John Cotton make up the committee for the Tobacco Free Ordinance. According to Sasser, the committee has already been looking at ordinances and "will bring something to the council sometime in the near future."