Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another smoking ban

Have you ever wondered how government can define a private business as a public place ? I've been on both sides of this issue as a smoker and now as a none smoker, however very rarely did I smoke while eating unless the waiting time to get food was quite long, normally I sat in the NO smoking section. The people can choose to eat out at places that allow smoking or they could get some investors together an open a none smoking restaurant.

Parkville could vote on smoking ban soon

A proposed smoking ban in Parkville is moving closer to a vote by the Board of Aldermen.

The ordinance that would prohibit tobacco smoking in all public places — including restaurants, bars and stores — could be decided at one of next month’s board meetings, said Mayor Gerry Richardson.

On Tuesday, a public meeting on the proposal drew about 40 residents to City Hall. About 60 percent of those who spoke favor the ban, and about 40 percent are opposed, Richardson said.

The board is divided, too, with some saying that existing bars and venues such as the American Legion hall downtown should have exemptions.

“I support a ban,” Richardson said. “I’m still undecided about whether we should have any exemptions, and if we do have them, how we decide what they should be.”

Most people he encounters favor the ban for health reasons, the mayor said.

But Ward 1 Alderwoman Deborah Butcher said many of her constituents oppose the smoking ban. That ward includes the downtown area.

“I think for a lot of them, they see it as too much government,” Butcher said. “They see it as a freedom of choice issue. We have 20 restaurants downtown and 16 of them are already non-smoking. I’m torn between the health issues and how my constituents in Ward 1 want me to vote.”

Some of the business owners, especially bar owners, believe the ban will drive customers away and drop their revenue, she said.

City officials are looking into possible ways to grant exemptions to existing businesses that want to allow smoking, Richardson said. But no clear-cut example of a similar ordinance that could withstand legal challenges has been located.

“We’re looking pretty hard to find something,” Butcher said.

To reach Bill Graham call 816-234-5906 or send e-mail to

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