A Washington citizen is asking city council members to open a dialogue about adopting an ordinance that would regulate smoking in certain locations.
Kevin Cundiff, who also sits on the city’s planning and zoning board, raised the issue during Monday’s council meeting.
Council members listened to Cundiff’s appeal but did not comment and took no action.
“I’m no expert on this but I’d like to be able to take my grandkids and sit down in a restaurant in a safe environment and enjoy a meal,” Cundiff said.
He stressed that he is not asking for the council to consider a smoking ban, but rather a “smoking ordinance.”
Such an ordinance could be written in many different ways, he noted.
“Some communities have implemented outright bans on smoking” in all public places, he said. Others allow smoking in bars, but not in restaurants. Some regulate smoking based on the percentage of alcohol sales at an establishment, he said.
“I’m asking you to engage in a dialogue,” Cundiff told the council. “I understand this will take time.
“I know currently there is resentment to government intruding in our lives,” he noted. “But this is really about nonsmokers’ rights and smokers’ rights.”
Nationally, 79 percent of voters are nonsmokers, Cundiff said.
Along with a packet of statistical information, Cundiff submitted a letter from Dr. Robert Halsted, Patients First Health Care medical director. “Patients First is concerned about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking and our patients’ exposure to secondhand smoke,” the letter states.
Cundiff said he hopes more such letters will follow.
“I’ve invited input from restaurant owners, medical professionals and public safety officials,” Cundiff remarked.
One of the first objections to a smoking ordinance is that it will hurt business, Cundiff said. However, the statistics show that is not the case, he added, noting that sales actually went up at some businesses in Clayton and other places after a smoking ordinance was implemented.
“Other communities have implemented them (smoking regulations) and they have been very successful,” Cundiff said.
“This is about health and wellness,” he remarked.
“I call on you to consider implementing a smoking ordinance,” Cundiff told council members.