Alabaster takes big step forward for health

Alabaster leaders took a huge step toward making the city a more healthy, family-friendly place this week when they passed a modified smoking ordinance.

The ordinance is a fair compromise between the opposing sides of the no-smoking debate, as pointed out by several speakers at the council’s most recent public hearing on the matter.

Through the ordinance, which will go into effect March 1, 2011, restaurants and hotels will be able to declare themselves either smoking or non-smoking.

The establishments must post signs at every entrance, declaring their smoking status.

This will give Alabaster’s residents and those who frequent the city’s businesses a quick, easy way to tell if the restaurant they are entering allows smoking or not.

By not forcing all businesses in the city to ban smoking outright, the ordinance does not serve as an unnecessary government infringement in the private sector.

Even if a business owner decides to declare their establishment non-smoking, they will still be allowed to declare parts of their businesses non-smoking.

Other than signs posted on the doors, nothing else will really change as a result of the ordinance.

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy recently announced he would like the city to consider passing a smoking ban.

I think Pelham officials would do well to study ordinances passed by similar cities, like Alabaster.

Banning all smoking in public places likely would harm some businesses, and force some customers who would otherwise patronize Shelby County’s businesses to travel to another area to spend their money.

By posting a sign declaring the business either smoking or non-smoking, it allows customers to easily decide whether or not they want to patronize the establishment.

With the recent population growth in the two cities, such ordinances will help residents know exactly what they are getting before they enter the building.

I think an ordinance like the one passed this week by the Alabaster City Council will do the most good for the most people in the city.