In 11-1 vote, Somerset passes comprehensive smoking ban

Lighting up in Somerset, once a big tobacco town, will no longer be allowed in all enclosed public places. The city council voted 11-1 Monday evening to pass a smoking-ban ordinance, reports Heather Tomlinson of the Commonwealth Journal. (C-J photo)

The ordinance includes restaurants, bingo halls, gaming facilities, nursing homes and any place of employment. “It’s a public health safety issue,” said councilor Jerry Girdler, who lost his well-known brother Eddie two weeks ago to throat and lung cancer. “The facts back up that smoking is harmful to the people around them.”

The meeting attracted a crowd of more than 50, many of whom voiced their opinions. Business owner Teresa Singleton said, “I am really shocked at the fact that the City of Somerset is considering taking away the rights of businesses to make those decisions on whether we want our place of business to be smoking or non-smoking. For you to take that on your own, I think that’s a major step in the wrong direction.”

Local podiatrist Pamela Jensen-Stanley disagreed. “I believe the ban is necessary,” she said. “I think it’s time that Somerset moves up and gets with the program.” (Read more)

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