The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 18, 2010

Joplin council puts off smoking ban for now

JOPLIN, Mo. — A divided Joplin City Council rejected a smoking ban proposal, but members were unanimous in a decision to reconsider the issue at a work session next week after having time to study the ordinance and comments made at a public hearing Monday night.

Inside a nearly full council chamber, the panel heard two hours of testimony from both sides of a proposal by Smoke-Free Joplin. The measure would prohibit smoking in any public place or workplace, including outdoor restaurant patios. The measure would bar smokers from puffing within 20 feet of a door if they go outside to smoke.

Krista Stark, co-chairwoman of Smoke-Free Joplin and a health promotion specialist with the Clean Air Project based at Missouri Southern State University, said that in a poll taken last week, two-thirds of 402 voting-eligible residents supported a ban.

Representatives of St. John’s Regional Medical Center and Freeman Health System said smoke can damage the respiratory systems of those who breathe it, and is a major contributor to asthma attacks, particularly in children.

Several restaurant and bar owners spoke in opposition to the ban or to its range.

Councilwoman Trisha Raney, who had promoted a smoke-free ordinance when she campaigned for the council last spring, offered an amendment to exclude outdoor patios and narrow the distance that smokers could stand from doors from 20 feet to five feet. She also proposed an exemption for businesses that mostly sell tobacco products.

The council passed the amendments by a vote of 6-3, with Michael Seibert, Morris Glaze and Gary Shaw voting against them.

A later motion to pass the measure as amended failed 4-5, with Mike Woolston, Bill Scearce, Shaw, Seibert and Glaze voting against it.

A motion to reconsider it at a work session next week passed 9-0.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday’s Joplin Globe or register for our E-Edition at joplinglobe.com.

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