City Fathers are going to conduct an in-depth study before considering a ban on smoking in public places. Mayor Bill Norris told a packed house at the board meeting on April 1 that a ban would be a large step and not something that could be done overnight.
Norris emphasized that input would be solicited from the citizens and the merchants.
One audience member questioned how government has the right to tell a business owner how to run his business when tobacco is a legal product. The mayor replied that was what the study was going to find out using input from merchants.
Another asked if the study could find out how many lawsuits have been filed for violation of rights because cities have adopted smoking bans. The mayor responded that would be something we can all look at.
Over and over, the mayor emphasized the importance of getting input from the city’s citizens and business owners. The mayor suggested committees consisting of aldermen and citizens to conduct these studies.
When the mayor asked what the board wanted to do, aldermen voted to take the issue under advisement for study.
We applaud city officials for taking this approach to a ban on smoking in public places. All sides of the issue should be taken into consideration and input from citizens and business owners should be considered before making a decision.