Alabaster council stops short of smoking ban, explores other options

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Things seem a little hazy as to whether or not a smoking ordinance will come up before Alabaster city council in the near future.

A proposed ordinance to ban smoking did not make it through a planning session last week.

Alabaster city councilman Bob Hicks, who originally was looking into a resolution to ban smoking in public places, said he got mixed reviews from the public.

&8220;I&8217;ve had a lot, I mean a lot of citizens saying that they felt it was probably not appropriate for government to mandate the way people think, live, act and work,&8221; Hicks said. &8220;The other thing I&8217;ve got from our businesses was, &8216;hey, we just got here and we just opened up, would it really be fair if we have to spend thousands of dollars for new ventilation systems.&8221;

Several council members said they believe there are other means of curbing smoking without city government banning it all together.

&8220;I don&8217;t think there is any question whether it&8217;s good for you or not,&8221; President Pro-temp Rick Walters said. &8220;I think it&8217;s hypocritical to take tax money and then turnaround and tell somebody you can&8217;t do it. I&8217;d like to see, Mayor, in your budget, if you could take some of that cigarette tax money we have and work it back through the police… If people want to stop people from smoking they have to stop them when they are young.&8221;

Hicks said he would like to see a resolution encouraging businesses to consider a smoke free environment.

The Shelby County Coalition, Alabama Department of Public Health and the American Cancer Society endorsed a resolution banning smoking in all restaurants, bars and offices