Do People in Troy Really Want a Public Smoking Ban?

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By Brittany Bivins

The Troy City Council is proposing a new ordinance that would ban smoking in all public places and in businesses within the city. That includes bars and lounges, and it's already drawing a lot of attention from people who live here in Troy.

City Council President John Witherington proposed the ordinance after two hookah lounges announced plans to open in Troy. Hookahs are flavored water pipes, which would also be banned under the ordinance.

"I've had an enormous amount of positive response, we feel like that, you know, it's the right thing to do. We should be concerned about the public welfare in our community," Witherington said.

But not everyone in Troy agrees with the ordinance.

"I believe everybody's entitled to do what they want to do legally, so since smoking's legal, I believe it's a little outrageous to ban it," said Jonathan Querisma.

Council member Dejerilyn King Henderson says she supports the ban because she'd gotten a positive reaction from people in her district.
"My consitutents are basically in agreement," said Henderson. "I've not had a backlash from it so far."

The smoking ban does have supporters.

"Second-hand smoke has proven to be so detrimental to everybody's health so I just think no one should have to sit beside someone smoking or be in a building with someone smoking," said Leisa Frankum, who lives in Troy.

County Administrator Harry Sanders says the Pike County Volunteer Fire Department depends on tobacco taxes for a large part of their revenue, and this ordinance could hurt those sales. If that happens, the county will have to find another source of funding for volunteer firefighters.

According to Witherington, the ban would extend 20 feet from all public buildings and businesses. That means employees on a "smoke break" from work would have to be at least 20 feet away from the building at all times.



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