Smoke-free ordinance is good for the city

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

With no public opposition and little fanfare, the Troy City Council this week passed an ordinance that makes the city smoke-free.

The ordinance is an expansion of the 2006 smoking policy which restricted or banned smoking in many public places.

The new ordinance takes the ban to the next level, prohibiting smoking in all public places (including bars and lounges) and places strict guidelines for when and how smoking can take place outside these establishments (such as creating a 20-foot smoke-free zone around entrances).

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The ban will take place almost immediately, as the city provides public notice, and the work will begin for businesses to transition to the new rules. The residents who will feel the biggest impact of the ban are the smokers who frequent bars or lounges, which were exempt under the previous ordinance. To adapt to the new ordinance, these establishments will no longer allow indoor smoking. Some will create outdoor smoking areas, such as patios or decks. Others, such as restaurants that had created separately ventilated smoking areas, will be faced with different decisions.

And the challenge for the city will lie in making sure the ordinance is enforced, particularly as it relates to the smoke-free zones around entrances.

Supporters of the move are thrilled, citing the health benefits of the ban and the public’s right to breathe “clean air.” And given the lack of public opposition or complaints, it seems that most of the city’s residents and businesses agree that the smoking-free move is a good one for our community.

Ultimately, this ordinance will enhance the quality of life in Troy and be a benefit to our citizens.