Excelsior Springs smokers—and local businesses that cater to smokers—have just over three weeks until the new smoking ban will force them to severely curtail their cigarette-related activities.
The new ordinance has been the topic of much discussion, especially after voters approved the concept of a ban on smoking in April, and then the Excelsior Springs City Council began drafting the wording which outlines the cigarette ban.
The ordinance is modeled after those in place in several other cities in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and effectively prohibits tobacco smoke in all enclosed businesses and public spaces inside the city limits.
An early draft of the ordinance also included in the ban a 25-foot buffer around all entrances and exits to buildings where smoking is banned, but early on the council changed that wording to just provide a buffer around the main entrance and exit, allowing businesses to provide smoking areas outside back or side doors.
Over the course of several city council meetings, local residents and business owners aired their opinions about the proposed ban. Most of those who spoke at the meetings were against any kind of ban at all, saying that the businesses they own and/or frequent should have the freedom to choose whether they allow smoking or not. A few of those who spoke were in favor of the ban.
The ordinance was approved June 3, with one further amendment that decreased the buffer zone from 25 feet down to just 10 feet. A 30-day period was set up to inform residents and businesses of the new law, meaning that the ban goes into effect on Wednesday, June 3.
The full text of the new ordinance is available online at http://www.cityofesmo.com/pdflibrary/SmokingOrdinance_060313.pdf.
By Eric Copeland • email@example.com