default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Casper repeals smoke ban for bars, some public spaces - Gillette News Record: News

Casper repeals smoke ban for bars, some public spaces

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Tue Nov 5, 2013.

CHEYENNE - Not all of America is moving toward banning smoking indoors and out. Months after prohibiting it, Casper is now telling smokers that it's OK to light up in some public spaces.

The City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday to repeal part of an indoor smoking ban in effect since September. The vote lifted the ban for bars, but kept it in place for restaurants.

Bar owners had complained they were losing business to competitors in two nearby towns that allowed smoking. Repeal supporters also said it was an example of government getting too involved in civic life, citing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to ban super-sized soft drinks.

"Just like what Mayor Bloomberg has done, or tried to do, with sugared drinks. It's just not going to stop unless somebody stands up and says, 'Wait a minute,' and 'Let's use some common sense here,"' said Pat Sweeney, owner of a hotel with a bar now smoke-free because of the ban.

There have been efforts in recent years to overturn smoking bans.

In North Carolina, a legislative panel last month approved a bill that would have prevented local communities and community colleges from enacting smoking bans stricter than in state law. Health advocates said the measure would have overturned local bans on smoking in certain outdoor areas. The measure didn't meet a key deadline and failed to advance.

Last year, voters in Springfield, Mo., had a chance to repeal a year-old smoking ban enacted there. They voted against repeal by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

Casper is a rare example of a ban - albeit a partial one - being repealed. A new crop of City Council members elected last fall made the difference. Three of the four new members voted for the changes.

"The more liberal side of our populace is trying to get too much into touchy-feely and government control of everything," said one of the new councilmen, Steve Cathey.

Proponents of amending the ordinance said the changes apply to relatively few businesses - only about half a dozen bars. Most of Casper's dozens of other bars are within restaurants or already prohibited smoking before the ban took effect.

Smoking now also will be allowed in nursing homes (one nursing home in town had a designated smoking area that was closed) and areas of industrial shops and auto service centers not open to the public.

The changes take effect June 28 but could be short-lived if opponents gather 2,465 valid signatures to put the matter before voters.

"It's unfortunate because a new council came in and they listened to a small group of people and didn't listen to the majority of the people," said Pam Evert, a local anti-smoking organizer.

People on both sides of the issue said they expect a successful petition drive and a hard-fought campaign to win over their fellow citizens.

"They're trying to socially engineer us," said Sweeney. "And a lot of us have had enough."

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.