Heated Discussion Over Proposed Smoking Ban at WF Council Meeting

- Discussion got heated at Tuesday's city council meeting in Wichita Falls as people for and against a proposed smoking ban voiced their opinion.

The ordinance prohibits smoking in city buildings restaurants bars patios and parks including the use of e-cigarettes.

Those for the smoking ban say it's aimed at protecting the employees and customers but those against say it could lead to job losses.

“We have this opportunity to create a better place and a better environment, a cleaner, a healthier, a purer environment for our children to leave them with so when they grow up, they're working in safe environments, their children have safe environments,” says Mindy Giles.

“Right now there are more bars that are closed because of the economic situation then has ever been in this town. The bar owners here are barely making it because of the economic situation and if this goes in and they lose business, quite a few of them will go out of business,” says Charles Oldham.

One business owner says he's not against the smoke free ordinance but he thinks it should include an amendment that allows for smoking rooms like he has at his bowling alley Village Bowl.

“We built an enclosed room inside the building as you see from those pictures that keeps the smoke in the room away from non-smokers. It ventilates it out through the roof to not only make it better for them but it also protects everyone at the building, customers and employees,” says Manager Stephen Causey.

Smokers would also not be allowed to smoke within 20 feet of a door or window of an area where smoking is prohibited.

There are exemptions including tobacco and e-cig stores.

The health department will present the tobacco ban to the city council during their June 3rd meeting.

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