San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 27th, 2011
Respondents split on proposed smoking ban



Attendees of two recent, city-sponsored open house meetings were split on the issue of whether to further restrict smoking in public areas such as bars and restaurants.

When asked whether the City of San Marcos should further restrict smoking, 51 percent of 89 attendees said yes, 48 percent said no, and one percent expressed no opinion. A combined 97 attendees logged their names at the open house meetings, which occurred on July 18 and July 21.

When asked whether smoking and second-hand smoke is a problem in San Marcos, 56 percent of 89 attendees answered in the affirmative. When asked whether the city is the appropriate entity to address the issue, 60 percent of 85 attendees said yes.

The city sponsored the open houses to inform the public, obtain input from citizens, and receive guidance from them regarding how a non-binding proposition on public smoking should appear on the November ballot. The proposition would not become law upon voter approval, though the council would likely craft an ordinance reflective of the election’s outcome.

Those who did not attend the open house meetings may offer comments on the city’s Smoke-Free Message Board at

The non-binding proposition will appear on the November election ballot unless at least two councilmembers change their minds by early September. The council has not yet voted to put such a proposition on the November ballot, though councilmembers have directed city staff to prepare the proposition for a council vote in August.

According to the city, the public feedback collected on the issue will be assembled into a comprehensive presentation for the councilmembers at their Aug. 2 meeting, where they may decide on the language to be included in the non-binding ballot proposition.

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9 thoughts on “Respondents split on proposed smoking ban

  1. CAn I ask WHY the city is investing so much time (and I’m sure money) for something that is more than likely going to be a state law within a year anyway?

  2. the state law did not pass–it was stripped out of a spending bill, and was reintroduced but not passed in the special session. This year was the closest it has come, though I doubt we’ll see such a state law passed in Texas any time soon. Personally, I prefer this be a locally-addressed issue rather than a state law. I’m agnostic on whether the city bans smoking or not, but will say that I avoid restaurants & bars where smoking is pervasive. While a ban would obviously benefit me, I’m not especially passionate about the issue and feel there are more important issues for the city to focus its energy on.

  3. Here in Chicago, local politicians were happy to see the state take it over. They don’t have to be bothered with it. Chicago has real crime to deal with. Some of the patrons in bars ignoring the ban are off duty police officers who don’t want to be standing out on the public sidewalk.

  4. I don’t smoke and like other comments made earlier I do not frequent bars or restaurants that permit smoking. That said and looking at the situation as an issue for voting – two open meetings and a total of only 97 people show up!!! That sort of describes the attitude of citizens in San Marcos about the issue – there are more important things to worry about and most will adjust to whatever is decided one way or the other. If it does not pass I will keep going to the same non-smoking venues as before and if it does maybe I will try some of those places that I did not go to. But, with only 97 people out of the entire city making an effort to attend these meetings sort of sends a message that it really isn’t of much concern to most of the population.

  5. Moe I disagree. Getting 100 people to show in 105 degree temps is expected. It’s not that people don’t care, just that they won’t really have any say until November. Maybe that was part of the problem. They probably won’t focus on that until October. Most I have talked to say they want to vote on the issue.

  6. I would think it is a bigger issue than the 97 people indicate. While certainly other issues are more important, this still affects quality of life in San Marcos. I spoke to lots of people who didn’t even know about the meetings.
    When it is put on ballot, believe me, more than 97 people will vote.

    I’m not sure how valuable going to the meeting is when it is highly likely it is going to ballot anyway. Not worth getting a babysitter, or taking off work early in order to get there just for a “community input” meeting.

    Just a thought.

  7. I got an e-survey from the Chamber about this issue and made my thoughts known that way. Wonder if the 97respondents counts those? I doubt it.

  8. I have to agree that more people are concerned than the 97 that went to the meetings. If it is put on the ballot I also agree that many more people will vote on the issue. As to online opinions I am sure these are not counted in the totals as it seems only those posted on opinion boards were mentioned. An interesting article in todays Daily Record (sorry about that newstreamz but i also get 3 newspapers) about CTMC saying they will no longer hire tobacco users and those that continue to use tobacco will pay higher health insurance premiums. It also listed local companies and national companies that have no smoking policies in effect. If San Marcos does go non-smoking the;y sure will not be alone in having such a policy.
    If it does go to a vote i am sure my vote will be one of those for no smoking.

  9. I don’t wanna show up to a meeting full of smokers who are going to hate me afterwards. I don’t go to bars because i don’t like coming home smelling like a used ashtray. I will go more often if no smoking is passed. And I will vote against smoking.

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