Smoke-free ordinance put on hold in Conway - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Smoke-free ordinance put on hold in Conway

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - City leaders agreed to table a smoke-free ordinance that would eliminate smoking in restaurant and bars in Conway.

At the ordinance's first reading on January 5, it passed 4 to 2 with Jean Timbes voting in favor of it.

Tuesday night's second reading changed course from the expected outcome when Timbes asked if the wording can be changed to place less emphasis on the need to eliminate smoking in work places for public health reasons.

"Originally I didn't realize that a large majority of our business people already do this," she said. "We would be writing a law for three or four businesses that don't."

She said she would also like to see council legislate smoking in public city spaces like sidewalks, parking lots and parks.

"I do want a smoking ordinance," Timbes said. "I want it in those areas primarily that would protect our children and our young people from things they can't control."

However, the Wellness Council of South Carolina's Kristi Falk said the whole purpose of the ordinance is to protect employees indoors.

"Let's protect the workers inside who have to choose between a paycheck and their health," Falk said.

She also said it's easier to start with smoking bans indoors then work outward.

"Banning smoking in open air is a little bit harder," she said. "When Coastal Carolina went tobacco free, they started with their indoor spaces, with the buildings."

As is, the proposal would require those who smoke to light up outside a business in a designated area and more than five feet from the entrance of a store or office. If the ordinance passes, it would take 60 days to go into effect.

Timbes said the ordinance will go to back workshop for revision.

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