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No-smoking ordinance goes too far


La Vernia has always taken pride in its city by passing regulations aimed at making it a better place to live and to do business.

City leaders make every effort to keep the city looking attractive. They have beautiful parks, and constantly strive to improve their town. As the city grows, it’s only natural that they occasionally experience growing pains, such as with their very comprehensive sign ordinance passed a few years back. The city has since moved on and people accept the sign ordinance as it is.

All this is in an effort to improve their community. But what is that old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions?” I recognize that city council is doing a great job, but this no-smoking thing, in my humble opinion, is going too far.

In a special meeting on Oct. 25, the city council passed an ordinance against smoking inside all restaurants and businesses within the city limits. Making it illegal to smoke inside any restaurant or business in the city limits is overkill. What were they thinking?

How could an ordinance such as this make it easier for new businesses moving in? These businesses will make the decision to be smoke-free of their own volition. They don’t need another law to make it happen.

The mayor said that when he had discussed the “no-smoking” ordinance with several businesses, he found most of them to be smoke-free anyway. He is quoted in last week’s La Vernia News saying, “Everyone is already doing what this ordinance is saying.”

Am I missing something? Now business owners will have to put up gaudy “No Smoking” signs provided by the city? Will there be a penalty for not putting up these signs?

Smoking or not smoking has never been a problem in our place of business. We don’t smoke and neither do our customers. If a customer did smoke, we would politely ask them to take it outside, as we don’t provide ashtrays.

But the council was not satisfied with banning smoking during business hours. They amended the ordinance so that, not only will there be no smoking during business hours, but no smoking even after hours.

What happened to private property rights? Now will people step outside their door and smoke on the sidewalks or in the streets? Nothing is worse than walking down the sidewalk on a pleasant day only to run into a cloud of smoke. Frankly, I would prefer to have them smoking inside buildings so that I could avoid the smoke by not frequenting those establishments. It’s my choice.

I do not smoke, but I believe in individual rights and freedom of choice. I prefer the right to choose and can choose not to support a business that reeks of stale smoke.

Telling a business owner that he cannot smoke inside his own building at any time is taking this issue too far.

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