Smoking Ban Strengthened

On a 10-5 vote, the Council just approved an expanded smoking ban, prohibiting smoking in bars, billiard halls indoor workplaces, and within 15 feet of their main entrances. We exempted tobacco shops (which get more than 90% of their revenue from tobacco sales) and currently operating cigar bars (bars that get 15% of their revenue from tobacco sales). Violators will face a $200 fine, and the ordinance goes into effect April 10, 2009.

I voted in favor of expanding the ordinance (see my reasoning in a previous blog on this issue). Also voting in favor: Mayor Tom Leppert, Councilmembers Elba Garcia, Dwaine Caraway, Pauline Medrano, Dave Neumann, Carolyn Davis, Jerry Allen, Linda Koop, and Ron Natinsky.

Against: Councilmembers Vonciel Jones Hill, Steve Salazar, Tennell Atkins, Sheffie Kadane, and Mitchell Rasansky.

What Will the Expanded Smoking Ordinance Look Like?

Next week the council agenda includes the proposed smoking ordinance expansion. I can’t speak for the rest of the Council, but I predict the smoking ban will likely include the following expansions:

Smoking will likely be prohibited:

  • Indoor workplaces (smoker/owner can be fined)
  • Bars (smoker/owner can be fined)
  • Within 15 feet of main entrance (patios exempted) (only smoker can be fined)

Not likely:

  • Tobacco shops (which get more than 90% of their revenue from tobacco)
  • Currently operating cigar bars (they will be grandfathered so that they can operate, but no new cigar bars can open)
  • Outdoor patios at restaurants or bars
  • Parks

Likely fine/penalty:

  • $200 ticket to smoker and/or owner
  • Possibility of license revocation for repeat offenses

Workplace Safety: Why We Need to Expand Dallas’ Smoking Ban

The council is considering expanding the city’s smoking ban to include indoor workplaces and bars. I support this expansion.

First of all, I don’t like nanny states. I have no interest in telling adults what they can and can’t do to themselves. If folks want to risk their lives with cigarettes, they should smoke to their heart’s content (or at least until they succumb to congestive heart failure).

But the problem comes when smokers place the health of others at risk. Continue reading