Thursday, December 18, 2014

Troy City Council Unanimously Approves Public Smoking Ban
By Brittany Bivins

Smoking in public places is now illegal in the City of Troy, and violating the ordinance will cost you a $50 fine.

All five members of the Troy City Council agreed. Smoking in public will be illegal within the city limits.

"We've done a marvelous job as far as trying to make sure the citizens of troy are healthy. We need to strive for healthier citizens, so today, we tried to make that happen," said Council Member Dejerilyn King Henderson.

At a public hearing before the vote, three people took to the podium to encourage the council to pass the ban, but no one spoke out against it. Ban supporters say it's good for the city.

"The benefits are long-term and well, immediately. People will start getting health benefits from it, heart attacks will go down, there's studies that show that," said Jinny Campbell.

City Council President John Witherington proposed the ordinance, after withdrawing a previous version aimed specifically at banning hookah or flavored water pipes. But Richard Jones, owner of the proposed Aposha Hookah Café and Lounge, says the ban won't close his doors. The ordinance forbids smoking within twenty feet of a public building or business, but Jones says there's enough space on the deck to comply with that.

"They'll be able to go to the outside area where we have the patio, and we're just going to have that, just like the inside, with TV and music, to get the same atmosphere as inside," he said.

Council members say they hope the ban will lead to a healthier city.

"Instead of just taking it upon yourself to stop smoking, we're encouraging the entire city to stop smoking, so yes, my constitutents will be very happy, and they will be healthier," said Henderson.

The fines don't just apply to individuals. Businesses can be fined up to $500 for allowing people to smoke inside. The ordinance takes effect immediately and applies to all individuals and businesses within the city limits.