Archive for Friday, March 31, 2006

Smoking ban vote set for April 20

March 31, 2006

Lansing City Council members will decide in April whether to give the go-ahead to a ban on smoking in all indoor public places, including restaurants, in the city.

Mayor Kenneth Bernard made the announcement at the conclusion of presentations on the issue at a council work session Thursday, March 30.

"So on (April) 20th, we'll take a vote whether or not we're going to write an ordinance : and we'll go from there," Bernard told the audience gathered at the work session.

The council heard presentations Thursday from three speakers during the smoking ban discussion.

Harlen Hays, an epidemiologist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Lansing resident Al Gledhill made presentations pointing out the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke; Mike Casey, vice president of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association, discussed the adverse economic effects on restaurants and bars that can accompany a smoking ban.

Several council members had previously tipped their hand on their stand on the ban: Andi Pawlowski, Dee Hininger and Kenneth Ketchum have expressed deep reservations; Robert Ulin and Billy Blackwell are on the record supporting a ban.

Council members Don Studnicka, Dave Trinkle Jr. and Harland Russell have not indicated their stances publicly.

Bernard, who would vote only to break a tie, on Thursday joined those against a ban.

"I'll say upfront I do smoke, but I also go to restaurants where smoking is not allowed. I go to restaurants where smoking is allowed. It doesn't bother me one way or the other," Bernard said. "But frankly, I think it's a matter of choice. : I'm saying where is a person's freedom?"

For more on the smoking ban discussion, see Thursday's edition of The Current.

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