Monday, November 27, 2006

Smoking ban in Hutchinson

Reader letters in the November 23rd Hutchinson Leader indicated a movement towards a smoke free community emerging in Hutchinson.

Mayor Steve Cook talks of how an ordinance could be in place effective June 1, 2007. A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday November 30th at 7pm at the City Center.

Another letter from Courtney Jones, talks of her dealings with the issue from the perspective as a waitress.

I worked in a smoke free bar in Tacoma Washington, the Engine House #9. It was packed 7 nights a week. They did have a front patio in which you could smoke, but it was outside.

I too enjoy sitting in a restaurant and having a meal without being choked by smoke.

I do have concerns with local governments passing bans on smoking in bars and resaurants. First and foremost is the fact that it CAN provide decreased revenues, especially if another town is located near but outside the banned area.

Hutchinson would not necessarily be impacted in a negative way. Although I think the bar in Biscay could see increased revenue if it chose to remain smoke filled.

The same holds true for our small towns in rural MN. If Annandale were to ban smoking, townships adjacent may not. So, bars outside of the city limits could get the influx of smokers who drink.

While already an illegal activity, I would envision an increase in the numbers of those that drive drunk.

It's because of this, I believe our elected officials need to step up to the plate and be leaders. Ban smoking in all bars and resaurants in Minnesota. Work with officials in WI, ND, SD, and IA to help border town bars to remain vibrant.

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