Ordinance could target smoky bars, restaurants
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
UP IN SMOKE Representatives with the American Cancer Society are considering pushing for a Clean Indoor Air ordinance in Meridian, which could prohibit smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars. Several U.S. cities have already passed similar ordinances. Photo illustration by Kyle Carter / The Meridian Star.
By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
June 20, 2004
Even though Paul O'Leary is a self-described "social smoker," he hates going home smelling of smoke after a night out.
The clouds of smoke that are common in some restaurants and bars could soon disappear as a result of a proposed ordinance that would ban smoking in all workplaces, restaurants and bars.
Representatives with the American Cancer Society are considering pushing for a Clean Indoor Air ordinance in Meridian. They plan to propose the ordinance to the Meridian City Council in January.
Allison Terrell, communications and marketing director with the American Cancer Society, said the society will keep fighting for such an ordinance until it passes.
In Jackson, the city council recently passed the Clean Indoor Air ordinance. That ordinance, however, did not ban smoking in restaurants or bars, just workplaces.
Steve Stewart, owner of Midtown Grille and Pub at 1600 24th Ave. in Meridian, said his restaurant and bar has two floors. The bottom floor is non-smoking, the top floor is for smokers in addition to an outdoor seating area.
Stewart is not a smoker, and said the smoke he breathes in at work does not bother him mentally, although he admitted it could be doing some physical damage.
If smoking is banned in his business, Stewart said he'd live with it.
O'Leary also said restaurants would find ways around a no-smoking ordinance. If they want to spend the money, he said, outdoor patios are an option.
Several restaurants in Meridian are already smoke-free. Vonnie Wilbanks, manager at Ole Farm Beef House Restaurant at 2115 Highway 39 North, said she has seen no shortage of customers, even though the restaurant prohibits smoking.
Bobby Smith, new city council president who represents Ward 5 in Meridian, said he would support a no-smoking ordinance if it came up up for a vote at the city council.
Both Smith and Stewart said they'd expect to see opposition to no-smoking legislation.