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NMB anti-smoking ordinance passes first reading

Published: Nov. 29, 2011 at 11:34 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM EST
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North Myrtle Beach City Hall is holding a public Workshop to discuss an anti-smoking ordinance...
North Myrtle Beach City Hall is holding a public Workshop to discuss an anti-smoking ordinance on December 12th
Flynn's Irish Tavern owner Marty Flynn says he supports a ban on smoking
Flynn's Irish Tavern owner Marty Flynn says he supports a ban on smoking
A costumed resident shows his support for the smoking ban. Courtesy: WMBF News Reporter Sean...
A costumed resident shows his support for the smoking ban. Courtesy: WMBF News Reporter Sean Maginnis

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) A "smoke free" ordinance passed its first reading in a vote Monday night at a North Myrtle Beach City Council meeting, putting the ordinance into effect for residents and businesses in North Myrtle Beach.

A group calling themselves "Smoke Free North Myrtle Beach" said their numbers have grown to more than five hundred.

More than two dozen Smoke Free North Myrtle Beach supporters showed up at North Myrtle Beach's City Council Meeting last month, and about a half dozen spoke in support of a smoking ban during the public comment period.

At-Large City Councilman Hank Thomas said the idea came up a few months ago, and that he supports the move in principal.

"There's a lot of restaurants I would like to go to that are not smoke free and we just don't go there because of the smoking.  I don't think any business would suffer by going smoke free," Thomas said.

Thomas and Cherry Grove Ward Councilman Fred Coyne confirmed to WMBF News Reporter Sean Maginnis they would support a smoke free ordinance.

Marty Flynn owns Flynn's Irish Tavern on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, and he said he also supports a smoking ban.

"My mother died from smoking related illnesses, and two of my cousins, both younger than I passed on in their 50's or 60's.  All [were] smokers," Flynn said.

North Myrtle Beach resident Connie Bridges spoke out against an anti-smoking ordinance at a City Hall Meeting last month, and said he does not want the city taking away the right to choose from local businesses.

"I want the business owners to choose.  If they don't like smoking, that's fine but that's what we want them to do is choose," Bridges said.

Bridges does not smoke, nor does his friend North Myrtle Beach resident Hugh Gassaway, who said he questions the methods anti-smoking campaigns use to advance their cause.

"[Anti-smoking campaigns] tend to cherry pick [data] to support an agenda and the numbers they're putting out just don't make sense," Gassaway said.

Both Bridges and Gassaway say they worry an anti-smoking ordinance would hurt local business, but Flynn says he thinks a ban would have the opposite effect.

"I would venture to guess we would gain business and most people I've talked to in the industry in other states that have stopped smoking say business increased," Flynn said.

The vote was close in the council meeting Monday evening, with 4 votes to 3. Mayor Hatley had to make the deciding vote, as the council was split on the decision.

WMBF News will bring you more details about what the ban means for residents and businesses in North Myrtle Beach as they become available.

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