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

The city attorney’s office has released a draft of a proposed ordinance that would ban cigarette smoking in nearly all public places, including bars and restaurants, as well as city-owned parks and other facilities.

The San Marcos City Council will hold a 7 p.m. public hearing on the proposed legislation at its regular meeting tonight at San Marcos City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins St.

Drafted by City Attorney Michael Cosentino at the direction of the city council members, the ordinance defines “public places” to include ”banks, bars, bingo facilities, comedy clubs, indoor music venues, convention facilities, educational facilities, health care facilities, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, theaters, and waiting rooms” whether or not they are privately owned.

The smoking prohibition also includes outdoor areas within 15 feet from the entrance or openable window of a place where smoking is banned.

It does not apply to outdoor seating and other open areas of public places as long as signs are posted “warning patrons of the negative health effects associated with secondhand smoke.” Retail tobacco shops and designated smoking rooms in hotels and nursing homes are also exempt from the ban.

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» Proposed San Marcos Smoke-Free Ordinance

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9 thoughts on “City council to hold public hearing on smoking ban tonight

  1. This is complete crap! I understand that smoking is nasty. I also understand that going from a smoking establishment to a non-smoking one is better for business. What I don’t understand is that the city feels they get to decide how private-run business actually run their business. Why do non-smokers get to dictate that? Shouldn’t they be forced to “vote” with their wallet and go somewhere else?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for smoking bans in certain instances. Banks, supermarkets, city hall, etc. But a bar? Really? No one NEEDS to go to a bar, no one NEEDS to go to bingo, or comedy clubs, or indoor music venues.

    If I run one of these establishments, shouldn’t I be allowed to make the choice for MY business?

  2. Wow. That’s a creepy document. What can’t our government do to us in the name of our health? If, as a society, we’re really concerned about health surely the drinkers in the bar are putting themselves at greater risk than those subjecting themselves to some occasional second-hand smoke. I’ve stayed far more silent on this than my feelings have guided me to, mainly because as a non-smoker my interests are being served. But to see the government over-reach in black and white raises the hackles on the back of my neck.

  3. My favorite hangout on The Square is Vodka Street Bistro precisely because it is smoke-free. But a citywide ban of this breadth and scope is the epitome of over-reach.

    It also bothers me that it’s being pushed by the handful of bar owners who do have outdoor seating as a way to weaken their competition and strengthen their own hand. It is, in other words, one more way that City Hall is used to bolster certain downtown merchants at the expense of everyone else.

    Let business owners decide whether to allow smoking in their establishments. Then allow consumers to vote with their wallets.

  4. This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

    146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY.

    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  5. If you’re afraid of second-hand smoke, you should also avoid cars, restaurants…and don’t even think of barbecuing.

    here are just some of the chemicals present in tobacco smoke and what else contains them:

    Arsenic, Benzine, Formaldehyde.

    Arsenic- 8 glasses of water = 200 cigarettes worth of arsenic

    Benzine- Grilling of one burger = 250 cigarettes

    Formaldehyde – cooking a vegetarian meal = 100 cigarettes

    When you drink your 8 glasses of tap water (64 ounces) a day, you’re safely drinking up to 18,000 ng of arsenic by government safety standards of 10 nanograms/gram (10 ng/gm = 18,000ng/64oz) for daily consumption.

    Am I “poisoning” you with the arsenic from my cigarette smoke? Actually, with the average cigarette putting out 32 ng of arsenic into the air which is then diluted by normal room ventilation for an individual exposure of .032 ng/hour, you would have to hang out in a smoky bar for literally 660,000 hours every day (yeah, a bit hard, right?) to get the same dose of arsenic that the government tells you is safe to drink.

    So you can see why claims that smokers are “poisoning” people are simply silly.

    You can stay at home all day long if you don’t want all those “deadly” chemicals around you, but in fact, those alleged 4000-7000 theorized chemicals in cigarettes are present in many foods, paints etc. in much larger quantities. And as they are present in cigarettes in very small doses, they are harmless. Sorry, no matter how much you like the notion of harmful ETS, it’s a myth.

  6. Nice try, but in your effort to draw an acceptable parallel, you’re actually just comparing apples and oranges. It’s junk science put into a contemporary argument in an effort to get our headline-oriented society to buy into it.

    Chemicals are very often “safe” or “not safe” in drastically different doses depending on their method of ingestion.

    Inhaling a substance contained within second hand smoke can have markedly different health effects than drinking that same substance in a glass of water. This is particularly true where the substance in question has a disproportionate effect on one part of the body than another.

    If something is bad for the lungs, it only stands to reason that you might be able to drink it but you wouldn’t want to breathe it.

  7. “If something is bad for the lungs, it only stands to reason that you might be able to drink it but you wouldn’t want to breathe it.” — Dano (or should we call you Dr. Dano?)

    It sounds as though you are fine with injesting arsenic, formaldehyde or benzine — talk to your healthcare provider regarding this. Better yet, research the internet until your next appointment, it just might save your life!

  8. Hey, I’m not the one suggesting that eating a hamburger or making a vegetarian meal is worse for your health than smoking a pack a day…..

  9. Here’s a link to the study mentioned above.

    http://web.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?ReleaseNumber=mr20000203-00

    Considering that (per the CDC) only 18.5% of Texans smoke it’s no surprise this ordinance is not getting much resistance (at least on this web site). The passing of this ordinance will be bad for my health as I currently avoid bars because of the smoke. I may go more if I can drink in the fresh air. And if someone were to open a bar where you must be at least 30 years old to get in they would have removed another disagreeable element.

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