Our Opinion

Published 7:42 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

By Staff
City should OK smoking ordinance
Nearly two years after they were first approached with the idea, Brewton city council members have a proposal for a smoke-free ordinance for restaurants and workplaces.
The ordinance calls for a ban on smoking in most buildings with public access as well as restaurants that serve patrons under 19 - the legal age to buy cigarettes.
Most public buildings in our community already ban smoking on their own.
But most restaurants still have smoking and non-smoking sections, which help protect patrons but do little to protect the restaurant workers who breathe in second-hand smoke every day. With new reports showing the dangers of smoking and of second-hand smoke, we need to give all workers in our community the chance to protect themselves.
We wish the ordinance called for a more clear-cut ban on smoking in any facility that serves food - and we certainly hope that all of our area restaurants will choose to identify themselves as non-smoking businesses if the ordinance passes.
Most people - even smokers - appreciate the opportunity to eat their meals in restaurants that are completely smoke-free.
While there could be an initial adjustment period that will cost local restaurants some customers, most people will adapt to the changes easily.
Other states - including neighboring Florida - have adopted bans that were successful and that made no dent in restaurant sales.
We hope the city council approves the new ordinance. The science shows, as local smoke-free advocate Tina Findlay said, that there is no debate.