The city of Columbus decided last night to delay a vote on a comprehensive smoking ban. Despite more than an hour of public debate, the city council voted to table the issue.
Stephanie Truly is a Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for the Columbus Regional Hospital. She told the council the expanded ban would protect residents who are subject to second hand smoke in the workplace.
“We have a population where 75 percent don’t smoke,” Truly says. “We still have workers and they still need to be protected, that is the most basic right, is that they need to be able to go to work and breath clean air.”
Local tavern owners were on hand as well to voice their opposition to the ordinance, which would ban smoking in bars, restaurants, clubs, and other places excluded from the statewide ban.
City Councilman Aaron Henkins says the ban would not only hinder the rights of bar owners, but the greater population as well.
“I believe the issue is not about smoking, I believe it’s clearly in regards to private property rights,” he says. “I believe as a member of city council, and all elected officials who represent the American people, our first and foremost priority is to protect man’s inalienable right, which is life, liberty and property.”
The city will look at the smoking ban again in November.