The Terre Haute City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to make all public places smoke free by July 2012. But it wasn’t without compromise.
In 2007, Vigo County passed an ordinance banning smoking in all workplaces. That ordinance also states that bars would be exempt from the ban until July of 2012. Councilman Rich Dunkin would have liked the city to pass its own non-smoking ordinance, making bars and restaurants smoke free within 30 days, but said it’s important to stay on level playing field with the rest of the county.
“We didn’t feel comfortable stepping on that gentleman’s agreement of five years so we pushed our day off to coincide with the county’s date. So with that compromise everyone was happy because they see the handwriting on the wall,” said Dunkin.
Several business owners voiced their concerns during the council’s meeting, saying the immediate ban would seriously harm their businesses. Dunkin said waiting until July of 2012 will give bar owners more time to prepare for such a change.