Published: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 10:22 PM ??? Updated: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 10:43 PM
About 20 people, including four business owners, gathered at the Pelham Civic Center tonight for a public discussion on a possible citywide smoking ban.
Mayor Don Murphy, who would have no vote but has asked the City Council to consider an ordinance banning smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars, called the forum to gauge public opinion.
Ann Taylor, owner of Ann Taylor Barber & Styling, said she is against a smoking ban and voiced concern over government enforcing such regulations.
"It is my right to have customers who come in to relax and smoke cigarettes and cigars." Taylor said. "This should be left to the individual business owner, and if the city doesn't want people to smoke then it shouldn't tax it or sell it."
Clint Umphrey, owner of Pelham's Texas Roadhouse, said he'd rather have things stay business as usual, but if there is an ordinance passed it needs to "create a level playing field" for all businesses.
Umphrey said he thinks if Pelham adopts an ordinance it needs to be a significant one.
"But just posting signs that say smoke-free or smoke-friendly doesn't accomplish anything," Umphrey said.
City Council President Mike Dickens, Councilwoman Teresa Nichols and Councilman Steve Powell were present for the forum.
The three fielded some questions from the audience, including whether they thought they had the right to go into a business they have no financial stake in and tell the person who's invested money in the business what to do.
All three answered no.
Barry Riddle, Alabama Department of Public Health policy coordinator, presented some state statistics. He said 850 Alabamians die each year from second-hand smoke.
Murphy, who has voiced his concern over children being subject to second-hand smoke in public places, re-emphasized that Pelham does not have a prepared ordinance.
"We just want to find out if the public likes it or doesn't, Murphy said."
The city of Alabaster passed a smoking ordinance last month.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read our FAQ page at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php
Five Filters featured article: Beyond Hiroshima - The Non-Reporting of Falluja's Cancer Catastrophe.