New smoking ordinance on Montgomery City Council agenda

New smoking ordinance on Montgomery City Council agenda

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The city of Montgomery could soon see more smoking restrictions. The city council will discuss an ordinance to crack down on cigarettes in public places like bars, restaurants and workplaces Tuesday.

Councilman CC Calhoun is sponsoring the ordinance, but he's in no rush to make any changes.

"The American Heart Association approached me about sponsoring something to make Montgomery a smoke free city," Calhoun said.

The councilman said he couldn't ignore the idea even though Montgomery already has a smoking ordinance in place.

About six years ago, Montgomery passed an ordinance that required restaurants to go completely non-smoking or create a smoking section with a separate air filtration system.

Oncologist Dr. Stephen Davidson says it's not good enough.

"A number of studies have shown that the air filtration systems do not work, they do not get rid of the carcinogens in second hand smoke," Davidson said. "The goal would be for us to get as close as we can to 100 percent smoke free workplaces, restaurants and bars."

"We're encouraging people to exercise, we're encouraging people to eat better, why would we be so blind to the obvious health aspects to second hand smoke," Davidson said.

Calhoun is not ready to make any sudden moves. He wants to put the ordinance on the table and discuss it.

Here are some numbers to consider:

  • 82 percent of Alabamians don't smoke; 18 percent do
  • 800 people die each year due to cancer caused by second hand smoke
  • Alabama is one of only 15 states in the country that the legislature hasn't already passed 100 percent smoke free workplace, restaurant and bar legislation statewide.

Calhoun expects to table the issue at Tuesday's city council meeting and schedule some public hearings before presenting a final draft of the ordinance for a vote.

Twenty-six other cities in Alabama have passed smoke free ordinances, including Mobile and Birmingham. Mobile's included an exemption for its entertainment district - something Calhoun is considering.

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