Group pushes smoking ban in Hoover public establishments

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The American Cancer Society of Birmingham wants to push an effort to eliminate smoking in many public places in the city of Hoover.

Veronica Hall, government relations specialist for the American Cancer Society-Birmingham, said she is recruiting volunteers to help convince the Hoover city council to consider a comprehensive ban on smoking.

&8220;The health benefits would be wonderful for workers in a smoking environment such as a restaurant,&8221; Hall said. &8220;Our nation&8217;s surgeon general in 2006 said there is no safe level of exposure and a lot of people spend most of their time in such work environments.&8221;

A comprehensive smoking ban is an ordinance that would ban smoking in all restaurants, worksites and bars in the city of Hoover. According to the American Cancer Society, 53,000 Americans die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Hall said a smoking ban would also benefit the young.

&8220;Kids often don&8217;t have a voice,&8221; Hall said. &8220;If their parents smoke they are likely to ask for a table in the smoking section, but if there is no smoking allowed in a restaurant, the kids won&8217;t be exposed to secondhand smoke as often.&8221;

Hall said many people get concerned that their business will lose money if they cannot allow smoking in their establishment. She said the Society has seen this to be untrue.

Other cities in Shelby County have attempted to bring up bans on smoking in public places.

Columbiana officials began discussing a ban in 2005 but it was defeated despite encouragement from a local community group.

Smoking is banned in parks in the city of Montevallo and is limited to certain areas on the campus of the University of Montevallo. Chelsea looked at its own smoking ban this time last year.