Hicks plans to present smoke-free ordinance

Alabaster City Councilman Bob Hicks plans to present a resolution Monday night that will ban smoking in all public establishments in his city &045;&045; including bars, restaurants and offices.

Hicks has been working on the smoke-free ordinance for two months and says now is the time to act.

&8220;It&8217;s time for us to move on this. We need to bring this up,&8221; said Hicks, during Alabaster&8217;s pre-council meeting May 7.

If approved, the all-out smoking ban would be the first of its kind in Shelby County.

Hicks&8217; resolution has the support of the Shelby County Coalition, Alabama Department of Public Health and the American Cancer Society.

However, several Alabaster officials, including Mayor David Frings and councilmen Tommy Ryals and Rick Walters, have repeatedly expressed concern that the resolution may hurt businesses and invade personal rights.

Supporters of the ordinance hope to be able to convince the council that Alabaster would be a safer place to live, work and visit if smoking was banned.

&8220;It is uncertain at this point exactly how much support we have from the council, but several appear to be easily persuaded,&8221; said Karamie Barksdale, community prevention specialist for the Shelby County Coalition. &8220;The council must view this as something Alabaster citizens consider necessary.&8221;

Hicks said if the resolution doesn&8217;t pass, he will look at other viable options to curb smoking