Troy considers complete smoking ban for public places

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Forget banning water pipes, the Troy City Council is considering a more widespread approach when it comes to amending the city’s smoking ordinance.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, President Johnny Witherington made a motion to withdraw the ordinance amendment he had first backed that would ban the use of water pipes in public places. Included in his motion was to have the city attorney draft a new ordinance that would ban smoking altogether within the city limits with regard to public places.

“I believe this is the right thing to do,” Witherington said, noting that he wished the council had been stricter with its original smoking ordinance in 2006.

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Caught up in the city’s smoking debate is a new business in downtown Troy. A hookah lounge, Aposha, hosted a soft opening this weekend after the business saw a delay in obtaining a liquor license due to the proposed sale of tobacco for use in water pipes within the establishment.

“We had a lot of support and everyone enjoyed the opening,” said Aposha owner, Richard Jones. “Whatever the next step is, which I assume might be court, we will take whatever measures are necessary for our business’ success.”

Councilwoman Dejerilyn King Henderson has been a staunch supporter of Jones and his business partners. Henderson said even though she was against a water pipe ban, she is backing a complete no smoking policy.

“They are intelligent young men and I know they can come up with another way to be unique and successful. This ban would get everything across the board – every bar, every restaurant – with no exclusions. I am for that,” Henderson said after the council meeting Tuesday.

Councilman Marcus Paramore agreed, noting that his constituents had expressed interest in a complete ban.

“Personally, I am grateful that Troy would want to become a smoke free city,” Paramore said.

Also at the council meeting, the council voted to abate a weed nuisance at 198 U.S. Highway 231 at an old gas station and assess the cost to property owners; and to apply for a maximum $500,000 Transportation Alternative Program grant that would upgrade and add sidewalks connecting most of Elm Street to downtown Troy.

A public meeting regarding the sidewalk project will be held at 10 a.m. on June 18.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for June 11 where the first reading of the no smoking ordinance could take place.