Lubbock City Council Listens to Arguments for and Against A Comprehensive Smoking Ordinance
Once again at the Lubbock City Council meeting, members of the Texas Smoke-Free Coalition showed up en masse to attempt to convince council members to adopt a comprehensive smoking ban.
In keeping with tradition of the last several city council meetings, members of the Texas Smoke-Free Coalition crowded into one side of the council chambers and many members directly addressed council-members. However the coalition’s chairman, Matthew Harris, broke with tradition by not bringing his usual props to elucidate his message.
In contrast, a number of private citizens, all purportedly non-smokers, spoke about the issues of having one interest group dictating what business owners are allowed to do with their properties and what citizens will be allowed to do while out in public.
Many business owners are worried about closing down their business, which in many cases represent the sum of life-savings, because they cater to a mostly smoking crowd. They believe the comprehensive ban will infringe upon personal rights and effectively begin a process of cordoning off smokers from the rest of society.
One business owner used hyperbole to suggest that if a comprehensive smoking ban is adopted, soon interest groups might attempt to limit anything perceived as unhealthy including the size of soft-drink serving sizes, like was done in New York City and later repealed when the New York City Board of Health found the ordinance to be beyond the scope if its authority.
“If we’re going to be pressing people’s rights let’s have a little fun with this. Let’s go after sodium levels…Let’s go after carbohydrate levels,” the citizen commented. “Let’s limit sugary drinks to 4 ounces, no more… Let’s force the cable providers to ban all smut. Not as a society, but to let you guys (City Council and WTSFC) determine what smut is.”
One citizen opposed to the comprehensive smoking ban ordinance pleaded with city council members to make an informed decision for their city stating, “Don’t just make your decision based on who is yelling the loudest, but on what is best for the citizens”
City Council can take no action until an ordinance has actually been drafted and placed before them, which so far, the coalition has failed to do.