Important gains on the smoke-free air front were made in Missouri yesterday with approval of local initiative petitions in both Jefferson City and Fulton after the respective city councils failed to act.
Jefferson City has special significance as home of the State Capitol, where smoking continues in some legislators’ offices and lounges, despite it being the “People’s House.”
These victories undoubtedly didn’t come easily but were the result of hard and dedicated efforts by many individuals and groups working to improve public health and welfare over entrenched opposition.
Congratulations to all those involved!
Smoking ban approved
By Ben Yarnell email@example.com
November 3, 2010
(http://epaper.wehco.com/daily/skins/JeffersonCity/ for subscribers only)
When the dust settled after Tuesday night’s election, Jefferson City voters made it known that they want clearer air in their bars and restaurants by passing the city’s smoking ban with 58 percent of the vote.
The ban, which will officially go into effect in February, passed by a 7,208-5,248 margin, according to complete, but unofficial, results.
Felicia Poettgen, project coordinator for Smokefree Jefferson City, said the mood at the watch party at O’Donoghue’s Steaks & Seafood was one of excitement.
“The feeling is really good, we are really excited,” Poettgen said. “My phone has been ringing constantly with people calling after seeing the results.”
Adding to the excitement of the group’s success was the passage of a similar ban in Fulton, making it a win-win night.
“Everyone is just ecstatic over the news that Fulton passed along with Jefferson City,” Poettgen said.
Poettgen said she thought there was one aspect, in particular, that made the difference in passing the ordinance.
“I think the hard work of many volunteers pushed us over the top,” Poettgen said. “There were so many volunteers involved in this, people passing about this issue.
“I think it was just people talking to people and getting the word out.”
From here, Poettgen said she and her colleagues will spend the 90 days before the ban goes into effect on Feb. 2, 2011, working with restaurants and bars that currently allow smoking to transition into compliance.
For Jason Jordan, spokesman for the opponents of the ban, it will not be as simple as just removing ash trays and telling people that they cannot smoke in his establishment.
“The biggest thing we have to do is change our business plan and figure out how to make money whenever a percentage of our customers quit coming in,” Jordan said.
As far as what that plan might look like, Jordan said he doesn’t have any idea yet.
“I wasn’t going to plan for it until I knew I had to do it.”
Jordan said even though the decision comes as a vote of the people rather than a determination by the City Council only, it does not make it any easier to him and his fellow business owners to accept.
“It’s still the same thing, in my mind,” Jordan said. “Any time you have people telling you how to run your business who don’t have anything to do with your business, it is the same. It doesn’t matter if it is 20,000 people telling you that or if it is 10 people telling us that.”
Fulton approves smoking ban
By Katherine Cummins
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Patrons of Fulton businesses soon will be breathing smoke-free air after Fresh Air Fulton’s question to prohibit smoking in enclosed places of employment — including restaurants and bars — won a close race Tuesday with 53.85 percent of the vote.
“I knew it was going to be close, so I’m thrilled,” said Fresh Air Fulton organizer Linda Stevens, who also is the wellness program director at Westminster College. “We’ve been working so hard to make strides (toward a healthier community).
“I’m proud Fulton citizens have shown they are ready to change health in the city.”
The question of whether or not to ban indoor smoking in Fulton businesses has been a hot topic over the past year, and that conflict of interests was reflected in responses from voters exiting the polls Tuesday.
“I voted yes because I have allergies and it would be nice to go out and not stay up all night coughing,” said Josh Pierce.
“I’m a non-smoker and when I go to Columbia and there’s not smoking in the restaurants, I enjoy it,” agreed Carey Case.
Mark Burton also referenced the indoor smoking ban in Columbia, observing “it doesn’t make a difference in the financial situation over there and it shouldn’t make a difference here.”
Mike Diekamp said he voted yes for the ban because “I think it’s a good idea; I really do.” “I don’t smoke, and I don’t want my kids around it if I don’t have to,” he said.
Jeff Mayne said he thinks it makes sense to ban smoking indoors.
Christy Slizewski agreed, noting “definitely second-hand smoke has very bad medical side effects.” “It’s just a healthier environment,” she said.
Her husband, Michael Slizewski took an opposing view.
“I voted no, first, because I’m a smoker. The places that allow smoking, if you know they have smoking you don’t need to go in there,” he said. “It’s by their choice. Most places have smoking sections anyway and some places already don’t allow smoking.”
For most who opposed the indoor smoking ban, it was a question of infringing on the rights of the business owners.
“I don’t think the rights should be taken away from the businesses,” said Jay Bass, who noted he is not a smoker. “I think it’s the right of the businesses.”
“The establishment owners should be able to determine whether to allow it or not,” agreed Becky Bachmann, also a non-smoker. “It’s observed in areas where there is no smoking, revenues go down.”
Acknowledged smoker Melissa Nigh said she opposed the ban for the same reason.
“I voted no, not because I’m a smoker, because there are way too many laws driving into people’s rights,” Nigh said. “I think the businesses should have a right to choose.”
Tom Maupin, a leader with the Fulton Hospitality Association and manager of the Fulton VFW Post No. 2657, said he was not surprised at Fresh Air Fulton’s victory Tuesday.
“If we’d have had $247,000 to spend I think it would have been closer,” he said, referencing the grant that was secured by the group. “We had a good run at them. My concern is, what’s coming next?”
According to Stevens, what is next is to continue promoting Fresh Air Fulton’s various smoking cessation programs.
“Our next step is funding resources for people that are ready to quit smoking,” she said. “We’re working on a cessation program with the county health department.”
Fulton smoking ban passes
by Newsdesk KRCG
Posted: 11.02.2010 at 11:08 PM
Yes- 1,439 vote; No- 1,233 votes
FULTON, MO. — Voters passed the Fulton smoking ban with 54 percent voting yes and 46 voting no.
The vote will ban smoking in public places, including restaurants, bars and retail stores, within the Fulton city limits.
Jefferson City, Fulton approve smoking bans
Nov 3, 7:57 AM EDT
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Smokers will have to step outside if they want to light up in public in Jefferson City and Fulton.
Voters in both central Missouri cities approved smoking bans on Tuesday.
In Jefferson City, a ban on smoking in public places, including restaurants, bars and retail stores, passed with 58 percent of the vote. The ban will take effect in February.
Fulton residents approved a similar ban with 53.8 percent of the vote.