Council adopts tougher smoking ban

Jackson now has a partial smoking ban with lighting up in restaurants out and in bars OK following an intense lobbying effort by the Smoke-Free Coalition.

A 2003 ordinance bans smoking in public places but exempts bars and restaurants. The ordinance adopted after noon today banned smoking in restaurants but exempts standalone bars.

The ordinance passed on a 6-1 vote with Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes casting the lone no vote. The earlier vote on that plan had been 4-3.

Positions for or against a total smoking ban were set coming into the vote, except for Stokes, who had not expressed a preference.

Without comment, Stokes voted against all proposals, which ranged from a total ban to one that exempts standalone bars.

Since the planning committee’s recommendation in March, a full council vote on that proposal had been delayed while anti-smoking lobbyists worked with council members to toughen the proposed ordinance.

That version of the ordinance had given way to the two competing plans, both of which were on the table for discussion at today’s meeting.

More than two dozen cities around the state have smoking bans in place.

In favor of a complete ban are Ward 4 Councilman Frank Blunston, Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman and McLemore, who represents Ward 2. Those who have favored partial bans are Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill and Ward 6 Councilman Marshand Crisler.

Clarion Ledger