City council discusses ordinance to make Conway smoke-free
By Christel Bell| December 2, 2014 at 7:22 AM EST - Updated July 21 at 4:28 AM
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Sometime next year, the air you breathe in Conway restaurants and bars could be smoke-free.
On Monday at the Conway City Council, members were in a smoke-free ordinance workshop, making adjustment to the draft of the ordinance.
The smoking ban for the city was first introduced two years ago. The Wellness Council of South Carolina gathered signatures for a petition to make the city 100 percent smoke-free in the indoor workplace and public places.The executive director for the organization said they worked with city council earlier this year with the first workshop. The group was available to answer questions, and provide models of other ordinances from other cities in South Carolina, that already have similar ordinances in place.
The proposed smoking ban ordinance would enforce a fine of $100 for violators smoking in non-designated areas.
The smoking of tobacco products and e-cigarettes would be prohibited in restaurants, bars, retail businesses, and indoor workplaces, in which an employee can smell smoke in the workplace.
The ordinance is still in a rough draft, which is why council members were discussing revisions in the workshop Monday night.
Under the ordinance, business owners would be required to display signs either outside or inside their business to indicate smoking is prohibited. The council would like to have a uniform sign for all businesses to display, that would also serve as a promotional/marketing tool.
Smoking in public parks would only be allowed in designated areas, if available.
Establishments like tobacco stores would be exempt from the smoking ban. Based on the ordinance those businesses that make at least 50 percent profit sales from tobacco would not be included.
“The city of Conway is on a mission, they say they want to protect the health of their citizens and I think this really helps with that. I think community wise, the people want this,” said Kristi Falk, Executive Director for the Wellness Council for South Carolina.
Falk said the she believes in the benefits of a having a smoke-free community.
“When a restaurant and a bar goes smoke-free, I think they open up their clientele to a lot more people,” explained Falk.
The council researched other models of the ordinances and how other South Carolina cities who already have smoke-free ordinances in place are doing with smoking bans to come up with an ideal model for Conway.
Falk, who assisted in the research, said, “I know that the majority of Conway of retail establishments are smoke-free, but I think having a unified ordinance and having a unified Conway in the effort really helps. “
City council members said the smoke-free ordinance is still in the works, but they plan to have it on the next city council agenda scheduled for January 2015.